Women in fantasy and science fiction is a topic close to my heart, so I wanted to talk about it. While some genres/sub genres are rife with female characters, others are pretty lacking. Often, I find the scarcity of women in some books surprising, or I want to hear more about female characters and they don't get mentioned again, let alone get a view point. And I've heard writers make excuses for why they don't write more women, or don't give women point of view roles in their books.
Each of the following excuses are things that I have heard (often more than a few times) and so I thought I would go through them, give my thoughts, and ask you for yours. However, this post did get pretty long, so I'm going to cut it into parts (1 excuse per post) so that y'all don't have to read an essay, but I'll include links to later posts, for those who want to read the whole list. I'll be posting these every Sunday, until I run out of excuses. ;)
1) Too many authors put in women just to have them and because of this they're not well-rounded characters.
Isn't that the fault of the author for failing to round out the character? Just because the author needs to learn to write well-rounded, realistic female characters doesn't mean the female characters aren't needed. Sometimes, there are logical reasons for women not to appear in the story (the story takes place entirely in a monastery or men's prison, for example), but most of the time the lack of women is unrealistic and limiting to the story, cutting out a whole viewpoint that could be used to deepen the setting and a reader's view of the other characters. This is only more relevant if the roles of women and men are different in the society.
The solution here is easy: if you write a female character, write her as a character. Don't keep thinking “Girls, girls, what are girls like?” Instead, think “Where did she come from? Where is she going? And what will she risk in order to get there?” If you don't like female characters that are uncomplicated and shallowly characterized, great! Don't write them that way.
What do you think? Are women under-represented in the genres you read? What do you think the reasons for that are?