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To think all female children’s authors should write books with girls in

(175 Posts)
Bigmango Thu 10-Oct-19 13:33:17

I find it so depressing how many children’s books feature only boys or at least boys in the main role. I recently read a book about pirates to my daughter where every one of the four main characters was a boy (for absolutely no reason - it would have made no difference to the storyline if one or more were girls). I was then shocked to realise the author was a woman. As a female children’s author, wouldn’t you see it as your job to try and redress the balance a bit?

formerbabe Thu 10-Oct-19 13:34:15

I have not noticed this at all. Yabu.

Whattodoabout Thu 10-Oct-19 13:35:08

Jacqueline Wilson’s protagonists are usually female if that helps.

Velveteenfruitbowl Thu 10-Oct-19 13:36:12

I think the poor authors should be left to do what they want. If you want to see more books with girls in them then buy more books with girls. If others feel the same they will do the same. Publishers will see the trend and publish more books featuring girls. Instead of blaming authors you need to look at the industry which allows their work to get to you and have your actions as a consumer effect the products on offer.

RhiWrites Thu 10-Oct-19 13:54:09

I’m a female children’s author who primarily writes female protagonists. The same is true of most authors I know. The books you’ve encountered are likely an exception.

We do also write male protagonists on occasion. Nothing against writing make characters but one tends to write from experience.

Creatureofthenight Thu 10-Oct-19 14:02:18

Plenty of female authors write female protagonists. If you say which age group you’re looking at I’ll happily recommend some.

BarbariansMum Thu 10-Oct-19 14:02:47

Do you think male authors should always have to feature boys (because currently, they dont)? How about authors are free to write as they wish and the rest of us are free to read as we choose?

Helmetbymidnight Thu 10-Oct-19 14:03:43

you write a bloody book! grin

Bigmango Thu 10-Oct-19 14:06:03

I’m a primary school teacher. We did an audit of our library and it was absolutely staggering the amount of books that featured male protagonists. It is a huge problem. Particularly in schools who don’t have the budgets to buy lots of new stock. It is definitely an issue. Personally, yes of course I can choose what to buy (this book was just an example and was given to me). But I just don’t get why female authors would do this? And to those who say it doesn’t happen, or only bad authors do it..err...Harry Potter?

Bigmango Thu 10-Oct-19 14:07:07

@BarbariansMum nope, male authors should also write more books with female protagonists.

Bigmango Thu 10-Oct-19 14:07:37

@Helmetbymidnight I’m too busy moaning on mn

seaweedandmarchingbands Thu 10-Oct-19 14:09:04

I don’t agree with this. People should write their protagonists and books however they want.

Helmetbymidnight Thu 10-Oct-19 14:10:44


i look for goodbooks about girls for dd, and honestly havent struggled (age range say 8-12) i do remember with the younger ages they did seem like the boys had all the starring roles and the girls were just supporting the action...,

Creatureofthenight Thu 10-Oct-19 14:10:53

No one said it doesn’t happen - obviously there are female authors writing male protagonists. And no one said it’s only bad authors doing it. There are lots of reasons why someone would choose to write a particular character.

Ellisandra Thu 10-Oct-19 14:12:10

Whi is buying the books for your primary school library?

I have heard the view that girls will read books about any characters, whilst boys will only read books about boys.

So, if you’re building a library for boys and girls and have a limited budget - you pick more books about make characters.

Could that kind of thinking be a factor?

Helmetbymidnight Thu 10-Oct-19 14:12:35

i guess the theory is girl readers dont mind reading about girls orboys, but poor tender boys cant read anything just about girls, so some writers try to make sure they dont miss that chunk of the market.

Bigmango Thu 10-Oct-19 14:13:23

@Helmetbymidnight I agree, there are lots of authors doing this now, but the historical backlog means schools and libraries are chock full of boys. I think if you are writing now, you can afford to make one of your 4 characters female.

Etino Thu 10-Oct-19 14:13:38

Generally boys prefer to read about boys and girls have already been subjugated by the patriarchy don’t mind. So from an audience reach POV it makes sense for an author to focus on boys.
Strong female characters do feature in kids literature though. There is of course Harry Potter but there’s also His dark materials, girl with all the gifts, Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson all feature female protagonists

ElphiasDoge Thu 10-Oct-19 14:14:18

You do wonder if Harriet Potter would have been quite as universally successful don’t you? Hard one to think about.

Bigmango Thu 10-Oct-19 14:14:33

@Helmetbymidnight EXACTLY. And that’s the case because girls have had to enjoy reading and watching male protagonists otherwise we would have been bored shitless!

Helmetbymidnight Thu 10-Oct-19 14:15:16

two books dd loved recently were 'the war that saved my life' - brilliant- with lovely main character, and 'the trials and tribulations of lily tripitaka'.

zzzzzzzz12345 Thu 10-Oct-19 14:17:09

Harry Potter reference... errrr hermione????

Chillisauceboss Thu 10-Oct-19 14:17:37

I can't believe the responses saying yabu. I completely agree with you. Far too many Male protagonists in children's books with a token female sidekick if we're lucky

Chillisauceboss Thu 10-Oct-19 14:18:36

Yes Hermione was fantastic. But would Harriet Potter have landed so well?!

Helmetbymidnight Thu 10-Oct-19 14:18:56

@Helmetbymidnight EXACTLY. And that’s the case because girls have had to enjoy reading

yes! even as i began writing that i started to put 'girls dont mind...blah blah' but then realised, eh! actually, girls have simply had to get used to it because it has been/was their norm...

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