More griping about vampires and books

So right now I’m reading The Vampire Lestat. Yes, I know that I’ve previously said I dislike that genre, but a friend insisted and loaned me the book... at gunpoint... ok not really on that last bit. And there’s an interesting thing I’ve noticed about it.

People critiquing books from a feminist standpoint will often point out male authors’ tendency to write “like men” even when they’re supposed to presenting something from the perspective of a female. Usually, this manifests in the form of female narrators being strangely conscious of the location and specific shape of all of the breasts in the room.

What I’ve noticed with Anne Rice is that she - along with some other female authors, but the only one I can think of right now is Anne McCaffrey, so maybe it’s just an “Anne” thing - tends to write with what I’m going to call the “female gaze.” Her characters are not believable males. They are acutely aware of details that most men are disinclined to notice. They seem to be pausing to assess the emotional situation in great detail in the same way that male authors seem to pause to assess how attractive the local females are.

That’s not to say it’s necessarily a bad thing; although in Rice’s case, it might be. It could possibly be one of several interesting and equally-valid interpretations of the events in a narrative. However, as with female characters having a male gaze, it’s probably indicative of sub-par writing and/or laziness most of the time. If you are an author, my unsolicited and grossly under-qualified advice to you is to consider carefully what details you consider important when writing for the opposite gender.

Or whatever, write about whatever you want however you want to. It probably won’t hurt anything.

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