Opining Without Reading

I was contemplating how a female protagonist in a mystery/thriller of necessity has to work differently than a male protagonist. Too often if a man is writing a female protagonist, she’s either written drop dead Hollywood gorgeous as an idealized sex toy, not as a real person, most of whom aren’t drop dead gorgeous and most of whom aren’t tall and thin. Or if he believes himself to be a particularly enlightened writer, she’s depicted basically as a man with boobs.

That’s exactly how female authors fashion these characters, too. And I mostly read female authors in this genre because they are more hardcore and their work tends to be a lot darker. The reason why I’m tired of Gerritsen, Gardner, Lippmann, and Co is precisely because their female protagonist are “men with boobs.” And pretty obnoxious imitations of men, too.

Yet most depictions of female protagonists by men have their female protagonist either be basically virginal and asexual with no discernable sex drive, or have her slinking up to villains to use sex as a weapon.

And female writers do it exactly the same. For instance, Elizabeth George’s Barbara Havers is type 1, Lisa Gardner’s new character is type 2. The list is endless.

I understand not liking the genre and knowing nothing about it. But what’s the reasoning behind writing at length about a genre that you never bothered to read?

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