D’you Think I Want to Be a Lady?


Dorothy McQuaid
Showrunner for Pycera/Social Media for BWP
Twitter | Blog | e-mail


Last week, I wrote about different roles and styles chosen by women in YA dystopian fiction, so I thought I’d continue the trend by talking about gender roles and style (well, dress vs. armor style, at least) in fantasy!

A lot of women in fantasy (particularly Medieval Europe-inspired fantasy, which a lot of it is – see our discussions about other inspirations here) wear gowns, and their men wear armor. There’s nothing wrong with this, as it’s pretty accurate to historical European settings; plus, you can have diverse and interesting characters who still conform to gender norms. But what about when they don’t? When a woman character is more comfortable in chainmail than velvet? Or when it’s just safer for a girl to crop her hair and use a boy’s name? When a girl has to disguise herself as a boy to achieve a goal? That’s when the gender-bending fun of cross dressing comes in.

No, I’m not talking about RuPaul’s Drag Race – I’m talking about characters like Alanna of Trebond in Song of the Lioness, and Arya Stark and Brienne of Tarth in A Song of Ice and Fire.  These ladies find some reason to dress in trousers when their peers are in skirts, are sometimes able to convince those around them they are actually boys, and sometimes suffer mockery when they are revealed.

In Brienne’s case, she never claims to be a male, but still steadfastly refuses to wear women’s clothing. Characters like this break gender barriers in their worlds and make readers question things in our own – sure, a woman can wear pants in America in 2016 without being mocked, but what if a woman wants to be a welder or a man wants to be a florist? Characters who blur gender lines are valuable because they show readers that not all people of one gender share the same interests, clothing choices, and career goals.

-This post includes spoilers for the above series.-

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Top 4 Reasons Rebecca Writes Women


Rebecca Kordesh, Director
Twitter | Blog



As a follow-up to our January 13th Nanosode, and to Madeleine’s brilliant post about it, I thought I’d take a minute to think a bit more about why I almost exclusively write female POVs. I thought about writing a nice hefty dissertation on gender issues in society and the difficulties females often face when entering a designated male sphere, but as my co-worker constantly reminds me: it’s best to make information snackable. Ain’t nobody got time for a dissertation. So here we are: a snackable list (YUM!) plus some pretty pictures because we are all children at heart.

let's do this

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Character Gender Fluidity


Madeleine Cassier
Website | Twitter | GoodreadsBookTube


Very recently, I discussed POV characters with Rebecca, specifically trying to examine our opposite predilections as it pertained to the genders of our written POV characters: I predominantly write a male voice, whereas she leans towards the female.

While this was something to which I had truly never given much thought, our initial conversation sparked some thinking about my hitherto unexplored process by which I genesis my characters. Specifically, I began to realize that characters are “born” inside my head with near-100% gender fluidity or neutrality.

tumblr_nwpsnntOTK1uydezjo1_500.gif tumblr_nkjvckU9Eh1rujfo5o1_500.gif

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TBT Special: Writers’ Nook 04

Your NaNoWriMo 2015 winners are back! Madeleine and Rebecca have a discussion over character genders, especially why they think they have opposite predilections from each other when it comes to choosing their characters’ genders. 

In this episode you heard from:
Madeleine  |  @madnbooks  |  youtube.com/madnbooks
Rebecca | @rumy91989

The Book Table is a podcast from Backroom Whispering Productions.  Our theme music is by Mark Wayne.  

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