kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Kate ([personal profile] kate_nepveu) wrote2011-02-18 08:27 pm
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last-minute Boskone panel

Boskone needed more participants for this panel on Sunday at 2, and on reflection I decided I had some things to say about the last sentence:

New Fantasy -- For Girls Only?

The writer Shauna Roberts observes that publishers think boys won't read about girls, but girls will read about boys [as well as about girls]. Do publishers really think that? Is it true? Why? If that's the dominant paradigm, do fantasies where the protagonist is a kickass warrior, assassin, or thief represent attempts at overcoming it -- or do girls just want to have fun? Neil Clarke (m), Leah Cypess

And if you all have comments or suggestions, I would be happy—indeed, grateful—to pass them along at the panel.

kgbooklog: (Default)

[personal profile] kgbooklog 2011-02-19 01:40 am (UTC)(link)
That wording makes it sound like boys can't be warriors, thieves, or assassins. Or maybe that fantasies don't have male protagonists.

Anyway, I'm a guy who prefers strong heroines over heroes or weak heroines.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)

[personal profile] rydra_wong 2011-02-19 08:02 am (UTC)(link)
My first reading of it was: do "fantasies where the {female} protagonist is a kickass warrior, assassin, or thief" represent attempts at attracting male readers, or (shock!) might girls actually like reading about that stuff too?

(Which seems like a silly question with an obvious answer.)

(Anonymous) 2011-02-19 09:02 am (UTC)(link)
In my experience, boys aren't as reluctant to read books with girl protagonists as the stereotype says. They are reluctant to read books with protagonists in traditional female roles -- _Dragon Slipper_, where the girl hero is a seamstress, is a much harder sell than Graceling, for example. Are there any examples of boy protagonists in female gendered roles, and if so, who reads them?

Girls seem more willing to believe that heroes come in many flavors.

On the other hand, when the excerpt from _Island of the Blue Dolphins_ in my son's literature book concerned the isolated girl making herself a beautiful shell skirt instead of the passage where she battles the giant octopus, I assumed the number of kids going to the library to get the whole book was much smaller than in my day. I mean, how can anything beat giant octopus fights?
kgbooklog: (Default)

[personal profile] kgbooklog 2011-02-19 08:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Are there any examples of boy protagonists in female gendered roles, and if so, who reads them?

Amanda Downum, The Bone Palace, though it's the secondary protagonist (and the second book of the series). Still, it's a major plot point that she's the official mistress of the crown prince despite being biologically male.

Note that "men in traditionally female roles" are pretty rare in the real world, where the lack of excitement is less of a disincentive. Thinking about this, I wonder if most of the gender equality we have accomplished is due to female roles being filled by appliances rather than by men.
adrian_turtle: stubborn little quilted turtle (Default)

[personal profile] adrian_turtle 2011-02-20 08:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Are there any examples of boy protagonists in female gendered roles, and if so, who reads them?

Although it's not new, nor urban, nor fantasy, The Persian Boy features a boy protagonist in a female gendered role. Most of the women I know read it in their teens, and loved it. I have no idea if boys read it, or how popular it is these days.
kgbooklog: (Default)

[personal profile] kgbooklog 2011-02-19 08:28 pm (UTC)(link)
I think the intention was "do urban fantasies where the female protagonist is a kickass warrior, assassin, or thief represent attempts at overcoming it backlash against male-dominated publishers". Because if you ask people to name the most famous/influential high fantasy works ever, you'll probably have a long wait before someone mentions a female author or a female protagonist lacking a male protagonist. "Backlash" may be too strong a term; is there a shorthand for "If you won't let us join your club, we'll just start our own and it'll be even better"?

Kate, have you seen the thread on Tor.com about men in urban fantasy? Also, James Nicoll has been collecting data points about protagonist gender ratios for different publishers, though mostly ones that publish science fiction (Haikasoru, Angry Robot, Baen, and Tor).

(This comment is brought to you by the bold tag.)
annew: (Default)

[personal profile] annew 2011-02-20 02:55 am (UTC)(link)
Pip (11 years) likes reading books with girl protagonists as long as they are fighting, which is what he is interested in reading about. Data point?