The ageless feud of boys vs. girls, something I’ve been involved with my entire life. I grew up playing with my older brother. I was the brother that he didn’t have until years later. So, I was somewhat of a tomboy. I sincerely appreciate the way my brother always included me, even if he didn’t have better options. I was treated as his equal in all of our games.
When I was older I started feeling the butt end of the boys vs. girls rivalry. I will be honest in saying that I’ve got a little bit of feminism in me as a result. Having it suggested that you can’t or shouldn’t do something simply for being a girl can do that to you.
Why this Matters
The impact on society results in a number of problems, including sexism and extreme feminism. Women decide they need to prove themselves to the world and choose to raise a child without a husband and father. Or they immerse themselves in a career to make a point and neglect the skills and desires they might have otherwise.
I believe that both men and women have made choices to press a point in the competition that inadvertently decreases the individuality and impact they can have. The result is a dissonance in families and their roles. There are differences and they are important.
Differences between Men and Women
Males and females are distinctly different in a number of ways. Obviously men are more likely to be stronger and women are more likely to be scrapbooking. Biologically, men and women have different hormones and brain patterns that cause the differences in skills and abilities.
The structure of the human eye, even, includes parts that allow us to see colors and other parts that allow us to see movement. Women have more of the color parts in their eye structure, while men’s eyes notice edges and movement. This enables women to have the upper hand in artistic areas involving colors. Men have the advantage in things like engineering and building structures.
How Different is Good
Exceptions always exist, that’s what makes people unique. None of us fit perfectly into the generic male or female mold. I know men that are more patient than me as well as more artistic and better with colors. Some woman are strictly logical thinkers or incredibly athletic.
Skill sets are what indicate distinct abilities. The skill sets of a nurse may include compassion and empathy which will indicate a different value and abilities than a nurse with strength and boldness. An assortment of skills and abilities are needed in every occupation. Which is why it is good for men and women to have differences.
Writing Boys Vs. Girls
A continuous word of advice for writers is to write what you know. An experienced writer eluded to this applying to the gender of main characters. However, I don’t feel like this has to be a rule of any sort. In fact, Brandon Mull said in a writing conference that he wrote a teenage girl as a main character, and he has never been a teenage girl. But this teenage girl happened to think and act the way she was written.
Just like people, all characters are, and should be, unique. While possessing tendencies that are common to others of their gender, any character may have qualities that break the norm. What I would love to see, is characters that break barriers because of their differences. Just as Cinderella gains her happy ending because of her femininity, there are different ways to win the battle.
Differences between men and women exist and should be recognized as the strengths to each that they are. However, there is no need to define characteristics by gender. Both sides of the rivalry should be allowed a chance to excel in whatever ability available. Write characters that win for the skills and abilities they possess, whether in the norm or not.