Do male authors write authentic female characters? In her recent blog picked up by the Huffington Post, writer Anna Szymanski argues that not only are female authors overlooked in the canon of literature, but female characters created by male authors are “male anxiety wrapped in a vagina.” Today in #litchat MediaMonday we’re going to discuss Szymanski’s piece, “The Year I Stopped Reading Men.”

I was clearly out of practice inhabiting the minds of male narrators, and my ability to view women as a set of attractive limbs was fairly rusty. So, it was odd to read so many acclaimed men writing female characters who bore no relation to the hundreds of women I’d encountered during my months in lady land. They didn’t even seem to be the same species. Or any recognizable species. It then suddenly occurred to me that I’d spent most of my reading life inside the heads of these men — a bunch of dead white guys who had been mansplaining to me since I was 6. I hadn’t even noticed. ~Anna Szymanski, “The Year I Stopped Reading Men”

In the context of good discussion we’ll also reverse the question by asking, Can female authors write authentic male characters?

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Later This Week in #litchat

  • WritingWednesday: Filling in the Middle
  • Friday Guest Host: Barbara Rogan, author of A Dangerous Fiction and other novels.