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The Battle of the Sexes in Novels ~ Is there a double standard?

If a man is a tough manager, he’s considered a go-getter, ambitious, strong, productive, persuasive, powerful, authoritative, and the list goes on. If a woman exhibits those same qualities as a manager, rising to the top of the corporate ladder, she’s considered a ball-buster, a slut, and of course a witch with a capital 'B'.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not scorned, but no matter what anyone wants to believe, it’s true. I spent fifteen years in a male-dominated industry, so I know.
So, how does this pertain to writing, you ask?

Well, first of all...look at that image I chose. It's funny, right?


If a man did that to a woman, it wouldn't be funny, would it? Sadly, I notice that same double standard in writing. As much as women hate to be ‘branded’, I think they brand men in their novels.
I read a lot of romantic-suspense novels, and what I find is that authors are so busy trying to make the woman out to be strong that they either make the male protagonist a vicious pig or he is an absolute pushover. Repeatedly, I read where a man tries to talk sensibly to a woman and she bashes him, yells at him, pushes him away.
One of the books I recently read, the female protagonist fought the main male character tooth and nail throughout the entire novel, accusing him of wanting something from her—which was never there—and then in the last few paragraphs of the book, she professed her undying love.

No wonder men get confused.
My male protagonist in my first book, She Belongs to Me, has received a lot of flak for being ‘controlling’, so I reread it, since Book Two was on the way and I needed to climb back into his head. Now, I don’t want to give away any secrets, but one of the things he did that readers have criticized him for was wonderfully romantic in my eyes, since my female protagonist didn't want any part in the activity he’d arranged. But I guess readers missed that. He also never abused her physically, sexually, or mentally; he only wanted what was best for her and their marriage.
Plain and simple, I believe it’s wonderful when a man wants to take care of a woman, protect her, provide for her. However, I did make sure that whenever my female protagonist told him to step back, he did. But I didn’t make him a pushover either. He had needs, so he professed them. I want my novels to be a little realistic. In real life, men and women have their needs, and in order to have a healthy and happy relationship, they need to understand each other’s wants and desires. So, that’s what I write.

Yes, there’s usually a knight in fadable armor, who normally needs a little polishing up to be a prince, but then again, so does the woman. But there’s also tragedy, hope, mystery, suspense, and of course, romance.

Until next time, happy reading, my friends!


Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer.  If you’re curious about what I write, please visit one of my author pages, where you can read all about my novels and short stories. And hey, I’ll even give you a free book just for stopping by.

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  1. Very interesting post. For a minute, the pic had me thinking a reverse 50 Shades of Gray....ROTFL! Just kidding!

    Yes, it is easy for female authors to spend so much time investing in making the heroine a strong and independent woman that the male character becomes nothing more than arm candy...and don't we hate to see female characters portrayed that way in male written novels? I try my best to walk the line and keep the strength and weaknesses apparent and balanced in both my hero and heroine. Like you said, there needs to be balance. Balance is what makes the characters easy to relate to as well as likable. Great post!

  2. Thank you, MJ. And I agree. While your character in 'A Heart Not Easily Broken' was an educated, career-minded woman who tried to push the male away...a tad, she wasn't unreasonable about it. He made his case and she agreed. She didn't cave, she didn't scream at him that he had ulterior motives...she merely questioned him a bit, and when he proved himself worthy... readers will have to read to discover the rest. But yes, there was a perfect balance, I believe, the reason I enjoy reading your novels.

    Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Now, get to work writing that next one! :)

  3. Hi, I am Marge (Ruthie's Marge). There was a time when I didn't trust men at all. I Have considered a strong woman, knowing what I wanted. I didn't think I need men in my life at all until I met the one who understood me.

  4. I understand, Marge via Ruthie. And actually, that's what I write about in almost all my novels. Learning to trust again and move forward from our past. My characters, like you, have questioned whether they could every trust men--or anybody for that matter--but when the right person comes along who can make them believe 'good' still exists, they might just be able to love--and more importantly, trust--again. Thanks for stopping by. Good luck on your story...I hope Ruthie will allow you to have your happily-ever-after. :)

  5. Ruthie did. She allowed me reunite with the man of my dreams. I met Carter before I became cripple and cynical and and we are both Christians now.

  6. Very wonderfully put. You are not going to please all of your readers all of the time and you will just drive yourself nuts trying. I do have your first book and will be delving into it soon, but based on what you wrote here, I am sure you wrote a male character that I am going to love. I tend to gravitate toward male characters that are "bad boys" with a heart of gold. They have their vulnerabilities and weakness - especially when it comes to the woman in their life - but that's what makes them real and believable. I also gravitate toward and write about strong, independent females who are not afraid to be who they are no matter what anyone thinks or says about her.

    Great job!

  7. Thank you, Michelle! And I understand about that mile-long TBR list. :)


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