Girls and Boys
Submitted by Faith on February 21, 2008 - 20:04
Do computer games prompt violence in the player? I don't know, but I sure do know I looooooove it when the main character in Assassin's Creed goes flying through the air and STABS SOMEONE THROUGH THE THROAT. Makes me want to go do that. It's just so awesome and dramatic. And stabby. *stabs*
Haven't felt much like blogging lately. Haven't felt much like anything, except perhaps a large blob shaped ... blob.
I came across this interesting interview about boys and reading, and I liked what it said about boys specifically reading books (or comics) with a main female character. 'Cause, y'know, there's all this BS about how boys won't read books with female characters as leads, which is probably why most female superheroes wear less than porn stars, as guys won't read about them unless they're turned on by them ... This quote seemed apt to me: As long as the protagonist acts in ways typically associated with male behaviour, boys will be attracted to them whether they are male or female.
I generally agree with that. In my own (brief) experiences with doing comics with female leads, I've found my readership to be fairly evenly balanced, both male and female, and I'm very happy about that, as I want all people to read my comics (yes, going as broad as possible here). I personally can't stand overly girly characters, female characters obsessed with looks, shopping or cattiness ... y'know, all those character defaults reality shows tell me women (but maybe not so much men) possess in spades (although after a few years of working in animation, typically male dominated, I can say confidently men can be just as catty. Only they don't call each other "fat." They call each other "gay.") and I don't really want to write about those kind of characters. I don't mean that as some sort of "I only want to write role models!" crap, I just mean those kinds of characters legitimately don't interest me, and I have no desire to explore their shallow waters. So I do comics like Demonology 101, Ice and Zombies Calling, which arguably have main female characters acting "male," in the sense that male-ness can be associated with decisiveness, assertiveness, and ... well, I dunno, nobody cried like fucking Ricky on Project Runway. Seriously, what a dick. He bawls like an idiot for the entire show, and then during the reunion snots that he "cried like a woman." The hell? I didn't see any women crying like he did on that show. Screw you, Ricky. Screw you and the hat you rode in on.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, female characters. I remember a conversation I had with my mom about how when she was younger she identified more with her dad, mostly because as a man "he had all the power." It's been the same for me, not that I identify more with my dad now (I don't, not anymore), but that I certainly see more of myself in male characters in media than I do in female. There's the odd break in the pattern: characters from Gilmore Girls, certain comics, the odd episode of Star Trek (I had mad idolization of Lt. Ro for a while), but I always wanted to be Indiana Jones more than I wanted to be his occasionally sucky female leads. Maybe Cate Blanchett will change my mind. Here's hoping. By the way, the new preview for The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull looked spiffy, but oh cripes, Harrison Ford is so old and is going to break a hip landing on that truck. Please don't die in the middle of the movie, Indy.
Anyway, it's assumed a hard trick, writing a female character that a male will identify with, but I certainly don't think it's impossible, and I think the interview does a good job of illustrating how it's doable. I remember back a few years ago, my then 15 year old brother emailed me to tell me that he'd finished reading Demonology 101 and that Mackenzie was his favourite character. I thought that was pretty cool.
Finally, famously, the part of Ripley in Alien was allegedly written as a male part, then changed to female, but none of the dialogue was changed. I don't know how much of that is an urban legend, but I think it's a nifty one.