Jo Eberhardt took a look at her bookshelves and realized to her surprise that only 24% had a female protagonist. At Writer Unboxed, she wrote a thoughtful essay about it entitled
The Problem with Female Protagonists
I’d need to sit down and go through the books in my own library, but I am sure that I’d find similar percentages.
Rather depressing, that.
On the other hand, I’ve done my share of supplying female protagonists to the literary world.
Artist Hoshiaka at Deviant Art
In my Jin-shei alternative world stories (The Secrets of Jin-shei, Embers of Heaven) there are at least ten strong female characters. (Illustration)
My newest historical fantasy, Empress, has a strong female protagonist (and at least two strong supporting characters of that gender). And my Changer of Days books feature a strong female lead.
My YA Worldweavers series centers on a young girl who grows up to become the greatest mage in the world. And in The Were Chronicles, one of the three books has a front-and-center female protagonist. The others have male protagonists but plenty of strong female support characters. I’m doing my best to balance the books.
In discussing the role of female protagonists, Eberhardt notes that it’s safe to say that the truism about women talking three times as much as men is exactly the opposite of truth. And men dominate the protagonists world.
Read her complete essay at Writer Unboxed HERE
Of late – or maybe I have just become sensitized to it – you just have to look at any article about the accomplishment of ANY woman and the headline or the photo associated with it is all about the man whose “other half” she is.
Apparently single women don’t achieve anything worth noting, and even married or partnered women don’t do it without their menfolk standing right there taking the credit. One wonders if the achiever would be mentioned, and in which terms, if she happens to be gay and her partner is another woman. This is where things get rather meta.
Either way. Women have been erased from science and history for a very long time. My personal bugbear is always the DNA story and Rosalind Franklin. But there are many.
In an article at Hazlit entitled
The Disappearing Act
Lauren McKeon writes that since she herself has been continually erased by men, she has grown obsessed with remembering the women history forgot.
Lise Meitner, the mother of nuclear power
McKeon cites, for example, the “most notorious theft of Nobel credit,” by Otto Hahn in 1944. He worked for decades with Lise Meitner studying nuclear fission, but he alone received credit. He didn’t see it as a big deal.
You can read her whole essay at Hazlit HERE
I received an unexpected honor when I was named to the fourth annual “40 Women To Watch Over 40” list.
The award was founded to challenge age stereotypes and raise awareness that “over 40” is in fact when many women come into their most productive era.
Among other things, the award said that I was a “luminous writer who has been flying under the radar for far too long.” Kind words indeed.
You can see my listing HERE (and check out my fellow honorees)
At The Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance offers us
The 200 Happiest Words in Literature
Using the website Mechanical Turk, where anyone can sign up for odd jobs, researchers asked people to rate the happiness quotient of the words they encountered. In the end, they had a huge list of words as ranked by happiness.
The happiest word: Laughter.
Read more at The Atlantic HERE
Quote of the Day
“We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.” ~ George R.R. Martin
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