Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Worldbuilding Gender Roles

First, a quick special note.

This blog officially turned 2 years old on the 17th. Yay! *throws confetti* The posts have been sparse for parts of the last year, but it still feels good knowing I made it through year 2 of this blog and plan to keep going into the future. Now on to the Worldbuilding topic.

Gender Roles

This is a topic I must admit, I have never thought about when it comes to any of my novels. Yet when it came to gender and sexual orientation topics in debate, my coach would always give them to me. He viewed me as the gender studies person for some reason I never figured out. In the notes I have from a conference, in the worldbuilding notes, one of the topics the speaker recommended to consider was gender roles, so let's consider it.

What are gender roles?
According to an online dictionary, they are the pattern of masculine or feminine behavior of an individual that is defined by a particular culture and that is largely determined by a child's upbringing.

Another source explain that gender roles vary and different cultures have expectations for both men and women. But how does this correlate into the world one builds when writing a novel?

This is something I haven't really thought about before, though the first conference I ever went to had a focus on the topic. At the conference there was a focus on female characters in fantasy that don't follow expected gender roles. They were both roles that readers might expect based on their world and what was built into the fantasy worlds of the stories. There are many stories out there that have strong main characters that either follow or don't follow the gender roles of their world. And part of that decision is in the worldbuilding and the other part is in the creation of the character.

Gender Roles in My World

For the novel I'm worldbuilding, I haven't really thought to much on the gender roles. Both of the main characters are males and gay, so female roles only come in the one of secondary and other minor characters.

The human main character pretty much fits within what is expected of males (except maybe for the whole liking men part). He is more masculine than the fae one, which probably isn't that surprising. He is in the military, very methodical, thinks he knows everything, is strong and for the most part observant basing his decisions on facts and not emotions. He does what is expected of his type of being and enjoys being that way too.

The fae main character isn't really femme either. He is a wood fae and works on a sky ship keeping it in good shape. He is thin but strong. And in the fae he basically does what is expected, though some of the others don't understand his desires to travel instead of staying at one place.

This is one of those topics I will have to really consider as I start to worldbuild stories, and maybe even look at in all of my other series/worlds.

What about you?
Do you consider gender roles when writing?
What roles do your characters fit or don't fit?


I write like
Arthur Conan Doyle

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I write like
Mark Twain

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!