Monday, May 30, 2005

Boys And Girls Are Different: As I was reading Ship Of Magic something occurred to me about the differences between men and women writers that I thought was interesting.

Even though the stereotypes say that it's women who care about helping other people and men who care about themselves, in fiction, it's usually the opposite. Fiction by men is usually concerned with helping others (eg the world is about to be destroyed, and the protagonist has to stop it) and fiction by women is usually more concerned with establishing an identity (eg a person has to work to establish his/her own place in the community).

I remember a scene in Erin Brokovich that confused me tremendously. There's a part, right when the evil corporation's plans are starting to be exposed to the public that Erin storms out of the room, furious. I was baffled. Shouldn't she be excited? Her work was starting to pay off!

My wife had to explain it to me. She was upset because the lawyer she was working for was getting all the credit. It suprised me--thats just not the kind of thing would expect to matter that much to her. Is that really conflict, or just whining?

It fills women's fiction. Think Member of the Wedding, or any number of books you had to read in school. All about one person pretty much worrying about themselves.

Of course, when I thought a little more about it, I realized it wasn't playing as much against stereotypes as I thought. Guys, deep down, do want to be the "knight in shining armor, riding up on the nice horse to swoop the girl up or slay the dragon or take back the kingdom or all of the above. And women, being more nuturing, are more likely to be empathetic towards a single character dealing with their own personal problems.

I think it's the same in the blogosphere. Girls are more likely to write (and read) blogs that talk about day-to-day mundane things, identity issues, etc. Guys are more likely to have save-the-world blogs about politics or information (My own weight loss blog is less personal than informative, probably partly for this reason).

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