Anger and Female Characters

And this week I read another book – well-respected, well-written, award nominated book – where the major female’s character sole role was to get raped and then die.

I’m sick of it. The male protagonists get rich inner lives, they have dreams, they do things, they live. The women – get raped and die.

This wasn’t a crime novel. Crime novels have a good proportion of female protagonists, villains and heroes. This was a non-genre novel.

If a woman in these books falls in love, it’s an abusive relationship. If she has a child, or doesn’t have a child, somehow it destroys their lives because they cannot focus on anything else. And they will get raped, and die – and the story is never told from their point of view. The feelings and pain and joy and anger always come from the male narrator. The woman is never allowed to tell her story, or express her feelings except through the prism of a man watching her – rarely talking to her, just watching.

I would like the writers of these novels to stop, and gender swap these characters. Would you do that to a male character? Would you do the worst to him and yet leave him voiceless? Can you write a woman who’s actions drive that story forward? Can you write a woman who does things, instead of to whom things are done? Can she speak? Can she live? Can she choose?

You can? Good. Do it.

There are centuries of stories told by women, about women, that consist of more than a violation and a silent death. It’s time we started telling those stories again.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad


One response to “Anger and Female Characters

  1. My stories are complete opposites of what you’ve read. My female MC are the controlling factor in the story as everything does revolve around them. In fact, most of the men in the stories are pretty much like those women you’ve read about, minimal backstory (if any) and cannon fodder for the women to use and abuse.

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