Perspectives.

One of my sisters (I have a few) recently expressed her frustrations about when a male author “tries” to write from the point of view of a female character.  She claims that they never get it right and they don’t understand women and therefore she doesn’t buy their female characters.

Now, I believe that this is true… sometimes.  I have read books and laughed at how absurd the women are.  Sex scenes written by men are, in particular, ridiculous.  But I disagree with her blatant generalization that there isn’t a single male author out there who can write believably from a female perspective.  That’s got to be crap.

Also, the logic would mean that women cannot write believably from a male perspective or about men.  And that can’t be true either (especially since I am currently writing about a male protagonist).  I mean, J.K. Rowling wrote a coming of age saga about a boy to wild applause; Coraline is thoroughly believable; Silas Marner has the wisdom of a man who has lost everything to gain the world (metaphorically speaking, of course); and Sally Lockhart is really only unbelievable in the context of her times, not because of Philip Pullman’s manly bits.

Conversely, there are plenty of examples I can point to that don’t make any sense.  The girl in Richard Greener’s The Knowland Retribution, for example; her, I don’t buy; or, Jeffrey Eugenides’s Madeleine in The Marriage Plot.  But that doesn’t mean that no woman can write about men or no man can write about women, does it?

Can a writer write convincingly about the opposite sex?

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