Do you write as you, what I mean is, your own sex, or is your narrator of the opposite persuasion?
Sometimes seems right to take the opposite viewpoint, but I’m not sure why.
Have just taken a new look at some of my short stories and realised that the viewpoint is from a man in most of my shorts, yet when I write a novel, the viewpoint is usually from a woman.
So my question, as a woman, is why? And I have no idea of the answer.
Do I find the man’s point of view more interesting in the short term, but impossible to sustain over a full length novel? Possibly. Or is this just a quirk and if I write long enough, then the stats will even themselves out?
It isn’t as if I have written a series of novels based on one person, a detective say, the Sherlock Holmes type, so they all have to be from one point of view. Or that I write in one genre only, though I am biased towards crime. So what is that about?
But apparently most books have been written from the point of view of a man, so perhaps if I want to be published, that’s what I should be doing. And the internet seems to bear this out, because I Googled this and guess what? It has a name. Androcentism.
Which according to Wikipedia (Greek, andro-, “man, male”) is the practice, conscious or otherwise, of placing male human beings or the masculine point of view at the center of one’s view of the world and its culture and history. The related adjective is androcentric, while the practice of placing the feminine point of view at the center is gynocentrism.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman suggested in her book of 1911 that this was the status quo and she began a lively debate on the subject. I shall not proceed to quote vast tracts of Wiki – if you are interested you can look them up (and if you are like me, then one thing will lead to another and you will happily waste half a day trawling from one site to next), but it is interesting and slightly weird that in these days of social and gender equality, the perspective most writers choose to write from is still that of the white male.
Though a few Man Booker prize winners appear to dispel this theory, the statistics seem to show that we have not moved on very far in a hundred years.
So – in order to be published must I try to sustain the male point of view for an entire novel, or are things changing? And should writers be pushing that change?
Or should I – as I suspect – dismiss this as yet another pile of drivel dug up in an attempt to research my way out of actually doing the writing I sat down to do, and just get on with it.