April 10, 2020, 12:15:24 AM

Author Topic: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®  (Read 4363 times)

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2016, 03:32:00 PM »
all i did was add an 'i' to the end of his name and change "he" and "his" to "she" and "hers".  prest-o-change-o.  woman.

I don't know your world at all, but wouldn't there be different consequences or reactions etc. to what your now female character does than if a man had done it? Imagine a set of twins being born in our world and society, one boy, one girl. Despite having the exact same starting position, their lives will be very different simply because they are different genders and society will treat them as such.

In my own writing, I'm very conscious about how my society perceives women and how this affect female characters. It determines what kind of upbringing they have (thus what skills they will often possess), how others see them and how they see themselves (if they accept their often subordinate position in society or what ways they can subvert this) etc. E.g. one third of my book is set in a realm ruled by a young queen, and there are constantly nobles and priests scheming to replace her with a male cousin, simply because they are against female rulership.

good question.

i suspect it would if the world wasn't already kinda-sorta gender-balanced anyway.  there's already another female (who is probably going to be my very favorite character in that world) viscount (currently the top-line scope for my warring factions) and there will be another by the end of this book.  so counting this swap and doing some quick math, by the time the book cover is closed, of the viscounts involved in the story, there will be 1 man and 3 women.  but, the duke is male.

i only say kinda-sorta because i haven't spent a lot of time moving among the warrior class, so, i'm sure they're all assumed male in the reader's mind.  easily fixed once i start exploring their stories.

Offline MammaMamae

Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2016, 04:20:10 PM »
all i did was add an 'i' to the end of his name and change "he" and "his" to "she" and "hers".  prest-o-change-o.  woman.

I don't know your world at all, but wouldn't there be different consequences or reactions etc. to what your now female character does than if a man had done it? Imagine a set of twins being born in our world and society, one boy, one girl. Despite having the exact same starting position, their lives will be very different simply because they are different genders and society will treat them as such.

In my own writing, I'm very conscious about how my society perceives women and how this affect female characters. It determines what kind of upbringing they have (thus what skills they will often possess), how others see them and how they see themselves (if they accept their often subordinate position in society or what ways they can subvert this) etc. E.g. one third of my book is set in a realm ruled by a young queen, and there are constantly nobles and priests scheming to replace her with a male cousin, simply because they are against female rulership.

I also think, in addition to focusing on how disadvantaged female characters are in certain settings, think about some ways in which women have advantages, or are able to use the system to their advantage.  Are there resources a woman might have access to that a man might not, even and especially in a patriarchal world?  Ways she plays stereotypes to her advantage?  Networks she can use?

Also I think it can be good to question how patriarchal a world really is; are there ways women run things that aren't immediately visible?  Ways they subvert?

Depends on the world - it's fantasy, so it is certainly possible, and sometimes really interesting, to have a world where you can literally change pronouns and nothing else changes.

FWIW, I LOVE female villains.  LOVE.  I don't know how I am going to watch GOT when Cersei eventually kicks it.  As a little kid I used to dress up as Disney villainesses rather than princesses. 

I have a female antagonist in my WIP who is a deconstruction of the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" trope.  I didn't start out writing her this way, I just realized I was doing it and decided to make it more conscious.  She's one of my favorite characters to write.

There is nothing I love more than a female villain taken up to 11.

Offline Nora

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Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2016, 06:02:57 PM »
I also think, in addition to focusing on how disadvantaged female characters are in certain settings, think about some ways in which women have advantages, or are able to use the system to their advantage.  Are there resources a woman might have access to that a man might not, even and especially in a patriarchal world?  Ways she plays stereotypes to her advantage?  Networks she can use?

Beware of that still, because that's how you end up with stories like Gone Girl.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2016, 04:24:49 AM »
@Nora What is the issue with Gone Girl? I read the wiki articles on it, and there seems to be nothing but praise.
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline Nora

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Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2016, 11:31:20 AM »
It's about a cold, manipulative woman who

Spoiler for Hiden:
fakes her death, spent months writing fake journals full of fake abuse to get her husband in trouble, mutilates herself to fake a rape, murders a guy in cold blood while having sex to finish framing him for rape and capture, goes back to the world, has most people believing her story, makes herself pregnant and coldly manipulates her husband over the kid, saying he can never leave if he wants her little kid to not be raised in hatred of him.
Most of this arising from her distaste for his sloppiness and lack of greater charisma and ambition.

I mostly share the misgivings of RB Jackson so I guess I can simply link him :

http://www.robertjacksonbennett.com/blog/gone-girl-and-the-fallacy-of-the-weaponized-female-sexuality
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline MammaMamae

Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2016, 11:58:12 AM »
It's about a cold, manipulative woman who

Spoiler for Hiden:
fakes her death, spent months writing fake journals full of fake abuse to get her husband in trouble, mutilates herself to fake a rape, murders a guy in cold blood while having sex to finish framing him for rape and capture, goes back to the world, has most people believing her story, makes herself pregnant and coldly manipulates her husband over the kid, saying he can never leave if he wants her little kid to not be raised in hatred of him.
Most of this arising from her distaste for his sloppiness and lack of greater charisma and ambition.

I mostly share the misgivings of RB Jackson so I guess I can simply link him :

http://www.robertjacksonbennett.com/blog/gone-girl-and-the-fallacy-of-the-weaponized-female-sexuality

Yikes - I've never read Gone Girl, but I can see where what I said could go there.

I think what I had in mind wasn't quite that bad - more just trying to think outside of the "woman as oppressed" box that sometimes fantasy veers a little too much towards for my taste.

In a patriarchal setting, a woman's relationship with her culture - villainess or not - could possibly be more complex than just standing up to men who want to keep her down.  There's other social networks she could draw upon that are unique to women, aspects of their culture they may even be attached to, imagery they can use (like Elizabeth I drew upon and subverted Marian imagery). That's all I was saying.

Yeah, not Gone Girl levels of psychopathy, no.

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2016, 02:39:38 PM »
I read some critiques of the book and investigated its tropes. I didn't explore the film's departures, or know how significant they are. I love the author's stances and distinctive presentation of women's issues, whatever the interpretations. There are a lot of layers of irony both in the work and around it.

Bennett's criticism illustrates just how hemmed in authors really are: there is no magical direction away from the herd - an author can't follow the herd without inheriting responsibility for the way things are when they arrived, can't depart the herd without criticism for the particular direction chosen. Social norms, values and mores form a web that hold us in, and you can't craft a work that doesn't touch or violate ANY of them - so no matter what you try, you're a turd to someone. Noted!
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline Nora

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Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2016, 03:17:21 PM »
Hummm... I wouldn't have taken that out of that specific movie critic... Though of course it's well known that you can't please everyone, I think the article is mostly making a point at something more general in society and the way of depicting women as evil.
I don't feel like he was criticizing the author for trying something different from the herd. Bennett himself is very good in the way he includes and depict women, so I guess his opinions on Gone Girl stem from that as well.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2016, 07:39:20 PM »
Wow! I read his critique and I don't understand - it's like we read different things?

I don't feel like he was criticizing the author for trying something different from the herd.

There is only one thing that sets Gone Girl apart, right? A Machiavellian woman who wasn't a victim of rape, but rather used it as a weapon. Otherwise, it's that fun but farcical film "The Other Women" right?

So if sexual assault and manipulations are involved, women can only be depicted as victims and must not be depicted carrying out assaults and manipulations of their own? He resents her use of fabricated assaults as if A) that never happens and B) women are above/incapable of such cold-blooded actions - both of which are misogyny. Especially when thrust upon a single book representing a single reversal of norms and expectations.

We have a feminist female author who highlighted the prevalence of women-as-victims by reversing it - and in the process showed us how readily even other women accept and even expect women to be victims ... that's amazing. Innovative, clever, unique, and subtle - and he eviscerated her for it.  I don't get it. His rage against the depiction of a fully empowered woman using the very thing that is so often used against women seemed just another form of misogyny to me: "Leave rape to men, and keep it real."
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2016, 08:17:26 PM »
this quote seemed to sum up both his thoughts and mine, all wrapped in a neat bow:

Quote
Gone Girl, really, is a misogynist’s horror movie, one that can and likely will confirm their idea of the world, this idea of women, suddenly free to use their bodies and sexuality as they wish, will instantly use them to assault and attack and degrade innocent men.

i literally almost wrote earlier "gone girl is like a typical man's worst nightmare" -- but decided i'd read the link before posting.  turns out, yup.  we've got the basically the same opinion.

up for debate, tho?  is the typical man a misogynist?  but, that's probably a WHOLE 'nuther thread.

Offline Nora

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Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2016, 08:44:15 PM »
No indeed, I don't think we understood that article in the same way at all, or take the meaning of a freed woman in the same light either.
He hasn't read the book, by the way, and is criticizing the movie.

M3m, good quoting skill. I think it's the best one to summarize it, though I don't think the average man is a misogynist to such levels. However I can totally see his point, since many "average men" have that fear of the false accusation of rape, and many people believe, or claim to believe, that a woman should get jail if caught charging false accusations of rape.
Now that's even trickier to consider.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2016, 08:46:58 PM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2016, 09:05:06 PM »
this quote seemed to sum up both his thoughts and mine, all wrapped in a neat bow:
Gone Girl, really, is a misogynist’s horror movie, one that can and likely will confirm their idea of the world, this idea of women, suddenly free to use their bodies and sexuality as they wish, will instantly use them to assault and attack and degrade innocent men.

Agreed - the misogynists will see things as they wish - and the highly unusual (dare I say unique?) nature of this story will be overlooked, which of course is where the key issue lies - that rarity and the surprise experienced confirm that statistically, by massive orders of magnitude, this does not happen. Like voter fraud measured in the thousands in a country of hundreds of millions...
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline TBM

Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2016, 10:45:17 PM »
Quote
His rage against the depiction of a fully empowered woman using the very thing that is so often used against women seemed just another form of misogyny to me

He's angry at this particular woman for using her voice and taking it upon himself to protest on women's behalf putting himself in a protector role unasked. He's just another online white knight trying to get female attention.

Nothing special.


Offline m3mnoch

Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2016, 11:11:42 PM »
He's just another online white knight trying to get female attention.

*blink*  *blink*

i think you've been spending too much time on themodernman.com.

Offline Nora

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Re: Gender-Swapping the Bad Guy®
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2016, 12:17:39 AM »
Quote
His rage against the depiction of a fully empowered woman using the very thing that is so often used against women seemed just another form of misogyny to me

He's angry at this particular woman for using her voice and taking it upon himself to protest on women's behalf putting himself in a protector role unasked. He's just another online white knight trying to get female attention.

Nothing special.

He's a successful writer whose last three best sellers feature strong middle aged female characters, one being a quick ass retired general with a missing arm, another being a nerdy spy.
He writes female characters extremely well, to be honest, and you can take that from a female reader. Also, I don't think you have to be a woman, or a black/asian/whatever-non-white male (???) to express an opinion on the message of a movie.
Besides, this is from his private blog. He's married with a kid of his own. Where does all that angst come from? Do you actually disagree with his argument, do you think the depiction of Mrs Dunne is a positive depiction of the empowerment of women? We're talking about a movie here as well, not real life.

Quote
He's angry at this particular woman for using her voice and taking it upon himself to protest on women's behalf

What woman are you talking about?? The author of the original book, on which he does not directly comment since he has not read it, or the movie character who uses false allegations, self mutilation and cold blooded murder and framing in order to achieve her sociopathic goals and punish every man in her life? Because if you're referring to the later, as a woman, I strongly want out of Mrs Dunne protesting "on my behalf", thx.
Same for the author, tbh.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 12:23:10 AM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty