Sunday, November 15, 2009

a woman in fiction...literally

Hi everyone :)

I'd like to discuss something we talked about in class this past week about characters in fiction. In class we were talking about female characters in fiction. Something that really stuck me as interesting was when we were trying to figure out female characters whose role didn't revolve around a man and when we came up with Dorothy from the The Wizard of Oz, an idea was presented that her character was one that it wouldn't have mattered what gender she was. i thought it was really interesting how we were trying to find a woman that didn't fit that typical female role and when we finally found one, i felt that we found a way to discredit the fact that it was a female character. it seemed as though the fact that she was an independent character and didn't necessarily follow the female stereotype made her character less of a female character and more of a, i guess "unisex" character or gender neutral character. Personally, i thought that Dorothy was a pretty good example of a woman in fiction who is a main character and who's character does not revolve around a male character.

that discussion made me realize that even we, in the the 21st century, have not completely moved away from classifying woman in terms of specific gender characteristics.


  1. I also found this disscussion interesting because it was difficult to think of a lot of female characters that were not centered around the role o the male character. I thought it was strange that once we thought of Dorothy we realized her charcter could go either way in the sense of gender roles. I agree that even in the 21st century we have not fully reached equality but we are much better off now than a couple decades ago.

  2. You might be interested in this blog post by the Irish children's author Sarah Rees Brennan. Brennan speculates about how people would feel about Harry Potter if he were Harriet Potter:

    "If he was a girl, and she'd had a sad childhood but risen above it, and she'd found fast friends, and been naturally talented at her school's only important sport, and saved the day at least seven times. If she'd had most of the boys in the series fancy her, and mention made of boys following her around admiring her. If the only talent she didn't have was dismissed by her guy friend who did have it. If she was often told by people of her numerous awesome qualities, and was in fact Chosen by Fate to be awesome.

    "Well, then she'd be just like Harry Potter, but a girl. But I don't think people would like her as much."

    It's an interesting and thoughtful post.

  3. I think it could be from my misunderstanding of culture, but I raised my eyebrow when I read "she'd had a sad childhood but risen above it" from the post above. Somehow, I think that is interesting because if it was a girl who rose above what her sad enviornment had to offer, it would be much more suprising than if a boy had likewise (as in, if it was a boy, I would have reacted "oh, really so? Isn't he supposed to create a better role for himself?"

    Do any of you have the same feeling?

  4. I think maybe part of the problem is that we focus too much on female characters being female in fiction and forget that the very presence of a unisex character being female is perfectly good as well. It just shows that there need be no awkwardness (as using the pronoun "she" might sometimes entail) in having a main character be female but do nothing chiefly feminine.


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