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Old 12-03-2017, 03:04 PM   #1
jbcohen
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Female lead characters

Anyone prefer a female lead in there books? Personally I prefer a male lead. I understand what drives us males better and therefore can relate to the male leads better.
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Old 12-03-2017, 03:40 PM   #2
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I'm female, but for some reason I've always preferred male leads. Can't even explain why, it's not a question of relating. I'm mostly unable to relate to characters of either gender.
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Old 12-03-2017, 03:41 PM   #3
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Anyone prefer a female lead in there books? Personally I prefer a male lead. I understand what drives us males better and therefore can relate to the male leads better.
I think more important than sex is attitude and the role played.

For example, I have always enjoyed Robin Wright (used to be Penn). She was great in a typical female role in "Message in a Bottle" but she is galvanizing in the new Blade Runner movie where she is the top cop and says "there is an order ... that's what we do here: keep order"

She had me at "there is an order."
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Old 12-03-2017, 03:51 PM   #4
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I think more important than sex is attitude and the role played.

For example, I have always enjoyed Robin Wright (used to be Penn). She was great in a typical female role in "Message in a Bottle" but she is galvanizing in the new Blade Runner movie where she is the top cop and says "there is an order ... that's what we do here: keep order"

She had me at "there is an order."
That's the one thing I absolutely dislike, the kick-ass female leads. I've got nothing against them in principle, but I don't want to read about them myself.
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Old 12-03-2017, 05:33 PM   #5
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I love a good female lead nowadays. Apart from Miss Marple (!!) there didn't seem to be any when I first started reading.
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:04 PM   #6
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As long as the book is good and the character works I do not care. For example Honor Harrington by David Weber, Friday by Robert Heinlein, Kris Longknife by Mike Shepherd, Heris Serrano and Esmay Suiza by Elizabeth Moon, Cordelia Naismith by Lois McMaster Bujold and Torin Kerr by Tanya Huff to name a few.
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:15 PM   #7
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I am an equal opportunity reader. As long as the book is good I don't care if the main character is male or female.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:58 PM   #8
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I also don't have any preference for a male or female main character in the books I read. I want a good story, interesting characters and situations and I'm happy.

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Old 12-03-2017, 11:01 PM   #9
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I don't care, and I strongly disagree that there is such a massive difference between men and women in what drives them that this should make it impossible for anyone to enjoy a book with an opposite-gender lead. Women aren't an opaque, mysterious separate species; we're just people. We're driven by things like connection and community, curiosity, protecting those we care about, meeting basic needs (food, security, etc), sex, family, principles and honour, respect and prestige, revenge, power, love, creativity.

I do however believe that boys have been traditionally strongly socialised to not want to enjoy books with a girl lead, while girls have been brought up to read both. That might be changing; my personal evidence is mixed on the subject.

Last edited by meeera; 12-03-2017 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:14 PM   #10
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If the story is good then who cares what the gender of the MC is? Give me a good story and I'll read it.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:22 PM   #11
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Don't care.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:59 PM   #12
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I don't have a preference, but I think there is a trend to "kick ass" female leading characters in 'space Opera' SF right now. But I really dislike where the character is just a guy in drag and with a feminine name.

I want to see the character trying to reconcile her 'kick ass' heroics with the day to day realities of being a woman and responding in a womanly way. The character doesn't have to be a traditional female, but the universe the author creates has to allow room for her to logically exist as a woman. I give points if the author tries, plus extra points for being believable.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:02 AM   #13
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If the story is well written with interesting characters and situations, I don't care if the lead character is male, female, Betan hermaphrodite, Gethenian ambisexual or other variant (Puppeteer bride, anyone?) unless that gender is in some way relevant to the storyline. In the vast majority of the books I read, I find worrying about the lead character's gender is as meaningless as worrying about the author's gender.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:31 AM   #14
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If the story is well written with interesting characters and situations, I don't care if the lead character is male, female, Betan hermaphrodite, Gethenian ambisexual or other variant (Puppeteer bride, anyone?) unless that gender is in some way relevant to the storyline. In the vast majority of the books I read, I find worrying about the lead character's gender is as meaningless as worrying about the author's gender.
The worrying is meaningless, but one can't help one's preferences, not much, anyway. While for most people there seems to be no difference, I find myself bored with the majority of female leads in genre fiction. I'll take a hermaphrodite or an ambisexual over female any time. Of course male leads can be just as boring, but I've encountered a lot more interesting male leads than females.

As to the author's gender, I couldn't care less.
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Old 12-04-2017, 07:08 AM   #15
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Of course I'd like to say that it doesn't matter to me, and in theory that's true. In practice I just checked the books I've read this year on Goodreads:

18 male protagonists
5 female protagonists
4 where the perspective switches between male and female, Or short story collection with mix of m/f protagonists.

I think that's partly genre. I re-read a bunch of 70s SF early this year.

One thing I will say is that occasionally I read what I suppose you'd call "chick-lit". i.e. contemporary set romances with a light, comedic tone. Actually there are a few men who write these, with male protags, but it's interesting to compare the experience with when I read the female-led ones. With these there's often a feeling that I can't quite identify. Sometimes I'll notice a male character that's a bit superficial, sometimes it's the guy the lead is supposed to end up with which is a bit odd. But when that happens I'll smile and think, "this is how women must feel!".

I mention that specifically because it's only really when I read those kinds of books where I notice any difference. Only one of the five this year was like that. Of the others the stories could have been male protagonists if the author had so chosen.
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