Dogs and Smurfs; Why women writers and stories about women are taken less seriously, by Max Barry

Dogs and Smurfs; Why women writers and stories about women are taken less seriously

Max Barry:

We’ll start with dogs. I have written about this before, but to save you the click: people assume dogs are male. Listen out for it: you will find it’s true. To short-cut the process, visit the zoo, because when I say “dogs,” I really mean, “all animals except maybe cats.” The air of a zoo teems with “he.” I have stood in front of baboons with teats like missile launchers and heard adults exclaim to their children, “Look at him!” Once I saw an unsuspecting monkey taken from behind and there was a surprised silence from the crowd and then someone made a joke about sodomy. People assume animals are male.

This is really interesting, and I hadn’t thought about it. I wonder if I’m falling into this trap with Amazing Science, even unintentionally, because the narrator is male? The protagonist and main character (I think there’s a distinction) is female, but her companion, admirer, and chronicler is male, and he’s the one who narrates. I did this for several reasons, none of which relate to gender, but I wonder if that’s a problem. I wonder if it was something I did unconsciously. But I don’t worry too much, because Beatrice is the really interesting one in this story.

Anyway, this is really worth a read. I’ve had the same concern about a lot of things – the “diversity” characters often just seem to be diversity characters. Not real characters. Tokens.

Hopefully, Beatrice won’t be that kind of character.

What do you think?

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