Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Females in Fantasy and SF
I went to a great workshop at the Romance Writers Conference where we covered characterisation. One of the things that came up was being sure to make the heroine worthy of the hero. We had to exercise our 'inner mother-in-law' to decide if she was good enough for him.
Then later at a panel of Paranormal and Dark Urban Fantasy writers with Denise Rossetti, Keri Arthur, Emily Gee and myself we were talking about how the heroines in these books are allowed to get away with a lot more than the heroines in mainstream books. They can take more than one lover and they don't have to deny their sexuality.
It made me realise that there is still a big divide in what we will let female characters get away with, compared to male characters.
Sarah Rees Brennan wrote a really good post on women in fiction here. Her section on 'Harry Potter and what if HP were really Harrie Potter, how would we feel about her?' confirmed this feeling. Her point was that we let male characters get away with a lot more than females. if you had a female character who was amazing good at everything and men were constantly throwing themselves at her, wouldn't you feel annoyed by this character? She cited James Bond as an example.
If it was a guy in the illustration above he would be wearing sensible furs, maybe with his chest bare. He certainly wouldn't be wearing the equivalent of a chain mail bikini.
In SF and fantasy are we creating female characters who are restrained by the gender limitations of our own society? What do you think?