Writers on Twitter are using the hashtag #Ownvoices to talk about the need for marginalised main characters to be written by authors who share the same marginalised identity.
Author Gwen K Katz was reading the #Ownvoices thread on Twitter when she stumbled across a male writer who argued he was able to convincingly write from a female perspective.
I think writers should be able to write from any perspective as long as they can pull it off. It takes research, skill, and creativity, but if a good writer can’t do those things, he/she isn’t a good writer, right?
My book is a first person POV and the MC is a woman. I’m definitely not a woman. But it works because I was able to pull it off. I reject someone saying I couldn’t write a female MC because I’m a male because, well, I just did. It’s called writing.
Except, well, it got kind of awkward.
Katz pointed out that the male author in question didn’t actually write female protagonists well.
Like, at all.
Excerpts from his novel included the sentence 'I don’t buy drinks for myself. Ever’ from a female protagonist
And she was ‘blushing on command’
And found a male predator ‘adorable’
Oh, and propped her boobs on things, too
Do you see the problem with this?
Now, that isn't to say male authors can't write female protagonists and vice-versa, but it does mean realistic renderings of minority characters need to be created with input from the minority community you wish to represent.
Another author, called Laura E Weymouth gave male authors wishing to writing about women a few pieces of advice.
Here they are:
Boobs aren't a thing. In fact, they're quite annoying.
Acquiring attention from men is not their raison d'être