Writing Male and Female Characters: Why We Need More Women In The Writers Room

Recently, Wil Wheaton posted an article about the fact that Gillian Anderson was bothered by something. The fact that the writing team for the X-Files was all male.   Here is the link to the article. While this is indeed annoying, it is actually quite common. Despite the fact that Hollywood has called for change, little change is happening, and the status quo is still in effect. This could create a problem however. The issue being that the show has a team of men who are writing both male and female characters. There’s nothing wrong with men writing female characters. The issue is that there is a “team” of writers, and yet there is no room for even a single female writer on that team, meaning there is no true female representation or perspective. Writing for the opposite gender can be difficult. I’ll give you a few examples from myself that are interesting to consider.

As a writer who does not have a team, I cannot really and truly understand the male perspective. I have written male characters; many of them, but I am not an expert on maleness. For example, when writing a book that should be out this winter called Dragon Fire, Angel Light. Both of the main characters are male. In fact they’re males who love each other and have chosen to be together despite the fact that both are a bit supernatural and it creates issues. When writing the characters, while I can make the males male, some of their mannerisms and things that they say aren’t exactly the most male. There are quite a few instances in which the characters engage in what would be considered “mushy” behavior.  They will come straight out with the “i love yous” and the “I want to look in your eyes” when having sex (oh golly). They have no qualms about calling each other “my love”, “my lover” using terms like “making love” instead of just “doing it”. It’s all very romantic, but is it male? The fact is, I don’t really know because I’m not male.

Another example is my book Tales of the Driss, Krystal Dragons. It’s a fantasy novel based off characters and actors that have influenced and inspired me (thank you Dean O’Gorman and Aidan Turner). These guys aren’t lovers, they’re brothers, but even with their lovers, they don’t act very male. They have long conversation about how much they love their lovers after sex, they wax romantic when they’re asking their lovers to marry them, once again coming straight out with the “I love yous”.  They talk constantly about the merits of love and how it’s effected them. I don’t know if this is especially male either. Do men often go off on romantic mush fests? Do they just lie in bed and talk about how much they love their lovers after sex? Once again, I couldn’t say.

Screenplay Harold Godwinson has gone through many incarnations. and many drafts, however, the story has always stayed the same. So the relationship between Harold and his consort Edith has always been the same, and they face the same issues. An over romantic man driven more by feeling than by power, gain or perhaps even reason. Instead he’s more invested in justice, happiness, and caring. which is, once again not very manish, of so it would seem. One would think that the second most powerful man in Britain would be mad for the power that he could claim for himself, going forth on his own conquests and calculating his possibility for advancement. That’s not the way he’s written because when I looked at his life, that’s not the way he seemed. A man writing for this character might have seen the more calculating man in search for power. I did not. He loves his consort, he loves his land, he’s not out for himself, he’s looking out for everyone else, which may or may not be very male.

There are many stereotypes that still exist when one writes female characters. This may be because that is how women have always been portrayed to men. Seeing as history and many of the great works from the past were written by men, the male perspective may have overshadowed some of the truths about women. Throughout history, women have always been cast in certain roles. The two most classic being the fool and the seductress, or sometimes even both. If we look at the Bible, there is the story of Adam and Eve. There is Eve who is the first one seduced in the garden to eat the fruit which makes her the fool, and then she convinces Adam to eat the fruit as well, in a way seducing him into doing so. No one considers the fact that the second hand information given to her from Adam about the Fruit may not have impressed the danger of eating it. There is the story of Pandora who just couldn’t resist opening a box because, you know, the curious woman. There’s the story of Samson and Delilah, the seductress who betrays her lover through seduction and lust, and there’s the fallacy that Mary Magdalene was a whore. If we can break the stereotypes, then we can write better women. And who is the best at understanding women and the stereotypes applied to them? Women.

While it’s not a bad thing for men to write female characters; some female characters are wonderful, powerful, beautiful, and non-stereotypical. They’ve been written by great authors like Ibsen, Tolkien Hardy and so many others. However it’s also not a bad idea to have a woman to at least help better understand women and how women think, act, interact. And when you can have a team of writers, I’m sure that there’s room for at least one woman. Women need to be heard, as the female voice is just as important as the male voice, especially when a woman can write a woman for women. She wants the same opportunities that male writers get. She’s just as good, just as creative, just as interesting, and has the added bonus of being a woman. This also applies to people of color, but that’s a discussion for another time. Maybe next blog. Women want a chance to write. If Hollywood gives it to them, Hollywood won’t be sorry.

 

Recent Poldark Rape Controversy

*SPOILERS! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED EPISODE 8*

While most of the fans seemed to have calmed, some in the media still seem to be out for blood when it comes to the Poldark episode 8 “rape scene”. I would highly recommend that they let it go due to their sensationalizing it and due to the fact that they are slightly putting it out of context.  Whether of not it was or was not rape is up to the viewer, and I cannot make that determination for them and they cannot make that determination for me. However, what we can do is go over the scene and some thing that may have bearing on what happens in the scene.

First of all, language has changed since the 1940s and 50s when the books were written. It certainly has since the 18th century when the books are set.  Language had quite a few more subtleties than it does today, and meaning for some things has certainly changed. No still means no, but in a second you will see what I am getting at. So Ross has had a bad couple of days. In all truth I don’t think I have seen that character be good at anything. He was bad at delinquency, soldiering, mining, and now being a husband. Still we were sort of willing to forgive all that because he was sort of the champion for the common man, and there were few enough of those in that era. He represented the man who was willing to fight for the common man. He did some really stupid things in order to do some but did so nonetheless.

So we have Ross and his “bad days”. He then learns that his former love, Elizabeth, is about to marry his mortal enemy (yes, he has mortal enemies. I wonder if he keeps a list like Sheldon Cooper?) George Warleggen. He is incensed by this because he knows that Elizabeth is doing this just to raise his ire. So he goes to her house in the dead of night and starts banging on the doors. It would have been good at that point if she had gone down stairs and met him in the drawing room if she didn’t want him in her bedroom. She knew he was there, heard him clearly, was not worried that he was there. Even Aunt Agatha knew he was there. So things might have played out differently if she had gone down to meet him.

Then he goes up stairs and finds her in her room. He does not come in at first, she tells him to wait while she gets a candle and they go down stairs. However, he comes in. She does not stop him. If she had wanted him out of there she would have said something to the point of, “What, are you deaf from banging your head on rocks too many times in the mine?! Downstairs!” If she had said that he probably would have gotten the message. He still would have been angry, but it would have played out differently.

Then she challenges him. And we’ll get to other challenges in a minute, but this is at least the second one. She asks his if he would do anything to keep her from being a widow for many long years? Note that her mother had just suffered a stroke, her husband had just died, and Ross was her first love. A man she probably would have married if she had known he was coming back from the war (the American Revolution). Basically she is saying, “will you provide for me and my child, despite the fact that you are still married?” That in itself is scandalous since she is suggesting that he either divorce or commit adultery, neither of which people in the era, or god at the time would look kindly upon.

Then their frustrations boil over, he kisses her and she doesn’t respond well. She says, “you would not dare.” Now what is the operative word we need to be looking at there, kids? That’s right, “dare”. A dare is a challenge, and this is in fact the third challenge she has given him. And probably when she says dare, it really means, “I wonder if he will?”  Let’s talk about these challenges for a moment. The first one was where she tells him, “downstairs” and he comes into the bedroom anyway. That’s the first, “I wonder if he will?” The second is when she encourages him to be her mate, “I wonder if he will?” The third is when she says, “you would not dare.” Yes this is a challenge, it is also quite different from, “no, I don’t want to”, or , “please don’t, I don’t want to,” or in fact anything like that.

The he throws her on the bed and starts kissing her and she kisses him passionately and continually back. That doesn’t happen with rape. It would be at this point that she would try and push him off, kick him, bite him, scream for Aunt Agatha who has a gun, or could certainly go out and find help. Aunt Agatha knows what’s happening! She’s basically in the next room! So what I see is a man and a woman engaging in what happens after years of watching and wanting. Suffering ad frustration. Acknowledging that they would have been with each other if things had been different. This isn’t the terrible thing some think it is. It’s people being human, for goodness sake!

The the next day Ross gets his freakin’ pants on, and they have a perfectly rational conversation about the consequences of THEIR actions. A lot of what I see on Elizabeth’s face there is guilt. She has had sex with a man she’s not married to, she’s caused her former love to commit adultery (both taboos and no-nos), and they have both betrayed Ross’s wife, Demelza who lost her first child caring for Elizabeth and her family when they were ill.

So there you have it. There is my analysis.

Recently I was in a Twittersation (yes, that’s what I call them), where I found something really, really offensive and sort of went off. Someone later said to me, “don’t be so reactive, you lose your voice”. This is very much true. While you may be a voice for women and rape victims, as I am, you can have a voice and be involved and helpful. However no one wants to hear a voice that is shouting rabidly in their ear. It doesn’t work out well and then no one listens to you because you’re just annoying.

Another thing that we need to be wary of is that when people find something offensive, that when a really dirty word comes into play. What’s that dirty word, kids? *puts hand to ear and listens intently* That’s right, censorship! The road to censorship is a slippery slope. Once it begins, it’s not pretty. When we go back to the days of abridging and burning books because they’re “offensive”. When we lose shows like Outlander, Game of Thrones, The Waling dead, even Supernatural, because they’re considered “offensive”.  If there is anything we have learned from Russia, China, North Korea and other countries like it, it’s censorship = bad.

I am not saying that your point of view is invalid, I am not saying that you don’t have the right to feel the way you do. All I ask is that people have the same respect for me. Also the scene is ambiguous. There are several ways in which it can be interpreted. There’s not just your way, and you should just take the word of media sensationalism. In all truth I am not a great fan of Poldark. I find it exceedingly boring at times, but I felt I still had to speak. Thank you for listening.

Amusing things that you’ll see in “The Almighty Johnsons”

"The Almighty Johnsons" Creator James Griffin and Rachel Lang with Timothy Balme, Emmett Skilton, Ben Barrington, Dean O'Gorman, Jared Turner.

“The Almighty Johnsons” Creator James Griffin and Rachel Lang with Timothy Balme, Emmett Skilton, Ben Barrington, Dean O’Gorman, Jared Turner.

Hello all!! A few months ago, I finished watching a lovely show from New Zealand called “The Almighty Johnsons” about four brothers who happen to be human incarnations of a few interesting Norse gods. I enjoyed the show quite a bit, as the story was interesting and fun. it is smart, funny, adventurous and at times dramatic show with great writing and wonderful actors. The show was created by James Griffin and Rachel Lang and features Timothy Balme, Emmett Skilton, Dean O’Gorman, Jared Turner, Ben Barrington, Fern Sutherland, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Hayden Frost, and Michelle Langstone.

Anyway, one of my favorite things to do after I have found something that I really like is to take that something and see if I can get a few laughs out of it. Anyway, this is what I came up with when I was trying to come up with a few one liners for this bad boy. Note that everything that comes from here on is meant in jest and is not meant to be taken seriously. So please, sit back and enjoy these amusing one-liners about “The Almighty Johnsons”!!

Bragi, God of poetry…Who can’t really write poetry. And yet all his pick-up lines are somehow better than, “Aren’t you going to search me? I could have anything down my trousers?” (Yes I am making reference to “The Hobbit”. Why? Because I can!)

Anders Johnson/Bragi played by Dean O'Gorman

Anders Johnson/Bragi played by Dean O’Gorman

A god you don’t want to play call of Duty with because he always kills you and doesn’t even wait ten seconds after you’ve re-spawned. (He’s the god of games, he always wins…So annoying)

Timothy Balme as Mike/Ullr.

Timothy Balme as Mike/Ullr.

The Iceman least likely to come out.

Jared Turner as Ty/Hod.

Jared Turner as Ty/Hod.

The bestest of friends!!

Axl/Odin and Zeb played by Emmett Skilton and Hayden Frost

Axl/Odin and Zeb played by Emmett Skilton and Hayden Frost

A Douglas Fir! (Sorry New Zealand, had to put in a bit of Oregon)

Alison Bruce as Agnetha/Freyja

Alison Bruce as Agnetha/Freyja

But sometimes she’s actually a bit more like this.

Agnetha cactus

The Goddess of death…Or just the crazy lady Ty got married to. Either way, Hel hath no fury.

Brooke Williams as Eve/Hel.

Brooke Williams as Eve/Hel.

Odin on Chick day.

Axl as Frigg and Olaf/Baldr played by Siobhan Marshall and Ben Barrington

Axl as Frigg and Olaf/Baldr played by Siobhan Marshall and Ben Barrington

People one probably shouldn’t see on Odin’s chick day, but you have to go see anyway.

Ben Barrington, Siobhan Marshall, Dean O'Gorman, Shane Cortese, and Hayden Frost.

Ben Barrington, Siobhan Marshall, Dean O’Gorman, Shane Cortese, and Hayden Frost.

But that doesn’t stop your bestest friend from trying.

Ben Barrington, Siobhan Marshall, and Hayden Frost.

Ben Barrington, Siobhan Marshall, and Hayden Frost.

A place where everybody knows your name. (Even though sometimes they probably wish they didn’t)

Axl/Odin with Olaf/Baldr and Mike/Ullr played by Emmett Skilton, Ben Barrington and Timothy Balme

Axl/Odin with Olaf/Baldr and Mike/Ullr played by Emmett Skilton, Ben Barrington and Timothy Balme

The sexiest man alive!

Geoff Dolan as Derrick Hansen/Thor.

Geoff Dolan as Derrick Hansen/Thor.

A fun gadget Anders found at the Apple Store.

Sara Wiseman as Helen/Idunn.

Sara Wiseman as Helen/Idunn.

Enjoying your Apple product!

Jared Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Sara Wiseman.

Jared Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Sara Wiseman.

A Bible thumper (sorry if that term is offensive) who’s gonna thump somebody.

Natalie Medlock as Natalie the God hunter.

Natalie Medlock as Natalie the God hunter.

Dropping an especially heavy bible on your Apple product.

Sara Wiseman as Helen/Idunn.

Sara Wiseman as Helen/Idunn.

Getting a new Apple product!

Keisha Castle-Hughes as Gaia/Idunn and Rachel Nash as Ingrid/ Snotra.

Keisha Castle-Hughes as Gaia/Idunn and Rachel Nash as Ingrid/ Snotra.

Sending you Apple product back to the manufacturer because it doesn’t work well for you.

Keisha Castle-Hughes as Gaia/Idunn, Emmett Skilton, and Hayden Frost.

Keisha Castle-Hughes as Gaia/Idunn, Emmett Skilton, and Hayden Frost.

The Donald Trump of New Zealand gods. (Yet even he has enough class not to insult the voters…At least not to their faces)

Shane Cortese as Colin/Loki.

Shane Cortese as Colin/Loki.

God least likely to want to hang out under the Mistletoe.

Ben Barrinton as Olaf/Baldr.

Ben Barrinton as Olaf/Baldr.

Backstory that they can’t use because it would totally mess up the story. (And really old-timey references)

Ben Barrington, Jared Turner, Shane Cortese.

Ben Barrington, Jared Turner, Shane Cortese.

Odin when he feels pretty.

Emmett Skilton as Axl/Odin.

Emmett Skilton as Axl/Odin.

Friggity, Frigg, Frigg, Frigg!

Siobhan Marshall as Frigg and Matthew Saville as Heimdall

Siobhan Marshall as Frigg and Matthew Saville as Heimdall

Clueless Mortals…

Dawn and Zeb played by Fern Sutherland and Hayden Frost.

Dawn and Zeb played by Fern Sutherland and Hayden Frost.

Freki the Chihuahua edition! (Sorry dude, had to go there)

Zeb played by Hayden Frost.

Zeb played by Hayden Frost.

Okay, that’s it for now!! Look for the relevant songs below! Special thanks to James Griffin, Rachel Lang, Simon Bennett and all of the other lovely talent. Happy belated birthday to Emmett Skilton, and thank you for letting me play with this!! I quite enjoyed it!

Things to look forward to:

Amusing things to see in “The Dark Crystal”

Amusing things to see in “Poldark”

Amusing things to see in “The Lord of the Rings”

Amusing things to see in “Star Wars”

Amusing things to see in “The Hobbit”

and many others. Possibly not in that order. Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you!!

Song for Ty and Dawn

Song for Axl

Song for Mike

Song for Colin

Song for Eva

Song for Anders

Song for Olaf

Song for the show

Aidan Turner Shirtless Scything: Sexism or Just Something That Happened That Women Love?

Hello ladies and gents!! Just thought I would give an honest opinion on something concerning the Lovely actor Aidan Turner since it still seems to be everywhere. I was cruising around on Facebook in one of my groups, one dedicated to Aidan Turner, and I came across this article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11561120/Poldarks-Elizabeth-Aidan-Turner-topless-obsession-is-sexist.html#disqus_thread . Usually I don’t read these kinds of things, but I decided to give it a look. I won’t say I was surprised, but I will say that I found it interesting on several levels and this was my original comment via the group:

Okay, here is the first reason why this is ridiculous. The term “reverse sexism” is absolute crap. There is no such thing. Sexism is sexism and it applies to anything/one. Just like the term “reverse racism” is bull. Goes which ever way, racism is racism. Also there is the fact that it’s about time that women started objectifying a man, as it’s usually the other way around. Women objectify men much less than men objectify women. Suggesting this is wrong because it is a man is just silly. I mean let’s go for a little equality in harmless objectification. I mean it’s not like we are demanding that we want him to go around with his shirt off all the time. Nor are we asking that he take it all off in anything more than jest. Women’s sexual wants are no less than mens, we just express them less publicly and not all the time. I mean when you think about it, there are far more magazines in the stores with women hanging out of clothing than men. Anyway, a mere opinion. And one would think that he would be a bit flattered. “People like me, hopefully body and soul. I should be happy of that. And if it’s just body for now, so it goes. It’s still recognition.”

Now that I consider this, it is both true and not true. While he is getting exposure, so to say, it is not necessarily the exposure he wants. Then again there is the old saying that, “any publicity is good publicity”. Again, both true and not true. While Aidan Turner is at a point where he is on the edge of  the “wide exposure/discovery” stage of his career, as before “The Hobbit” and “Poldark”, most people within the United States (and some other countries) might not have known him very well, he runs the risk of being know for a very long time as “half naked scything guy from “Poldark”” (sorry Aidan, had to go there). He may be at the point where he is trying to decide if that is what he wants. He could end up in the same vortex as Mark Hamill who will always be Luke Skywalker, William Shatner who will always be Captain Kirk, or  any other number of actors who will only be therefore identified with one role or type of role. Aidan probably wants to be seen as more versatile, as he is more versatile than that. There is a lot of potential in Aidan, and he wants to express that. Maybe he will go on to be James Bond, or an action star, or take on comedic roles. If he is going to do that, he has to paint himself as something more than a British period series sex symbol.

Aidan Turner in the BBC show "Poldark" Scything and asking the fundamental question.

Aidan Turner in the BBC show “Poldark” Scything and asking the fundamental question.

However, the above statement that I made is not completely wrong either. Women are far more objectified than men are. The fact that women are taking an interest in a sexy guy and letting it be known should not be a shocking thing. And in some ways I think he should be a bit flattered. Most people would enjoy a bit of mild fawning over their sexiness. I know that if I were a bit more sexy, I would want a bit of attention. Then again, too much is too much, and we should all be respectful. Aidan works hard, is proud of his work, and he thinks focus should be on more than just his sexy physique. That’s a good thing. They should all be proud of “Polark”. It was a good series, it was interesting, people seemed to like it, be proud!! But it cannot be denied that if they hadn’t had Aidan, and they hadn’t utilized him…So to say…The show probably would not have been as successful as it was.

One cannot deny that Aidan Turner is a sexy man. I still think he should be named “People Magazines” Sexiest Man Alive!! I mean, if they can make Chris Hemsworth the Sexiest man Alive… He has a bright future ahead of him, and it will be interesting to see how his career plays out. I do not think that his stint at scything will be anything other than good for him, and it certainly cannot be considered a “bad thing”. Do I believe it is sexism? Maybe it is. More than anything, if it is a respectful admiration of something beautiful, then perhaps not. Appreciating something for it’s beauty is not necessarily sexist. When people are disrespectful and degrade it, that is the point where it turns to sexism. Personally I am of the opinion that everyone should keep their clothing on. Taking off one’s clothing, hanging out of it, or just not caring about states of undress merely defeats the purpose of clothing…So either go with or go without.

As for Aidan…He can go with, go without, hang out in his Kili costume. Whatever floats your boat. It won’t change the fact that he’s still a very attractive man, and if we choose to fawn, so we will.

Thank you for reading!! I hope to hear from you!! Now for a relevant song…Or somehow I feel it is…