First let me confess I am a romantic at heart. Hence the reference to what I think of as Georgette Heyer’s romances. (Yes, I know these were from Jane Austen movies. I prefer Heyer to Austen because of Heyer’s sense of humour).
I’m not a feminist as such more a people-ist.
There is no denying, men and women are different. When my eldest daughter was born I dressed her in blue overalls and gave her cars and trucks to play with. When she turned two, she would wearing nothing but hot pink. Her brother was born with boy-behaviour firmly encoded in his brain. After that I gave up fighting gender preferences.
All this is leading up to how different male and female brains are and how we, as writers, dare to write from the Point of View of the other gender.
Louanne Brizdendine has done a post on Love, sex and the male brain over here. She talks about the male tendency to become territorial:-
‘The “defend your turf” area — dorsal premammillary nucleus — is larger in the male brain and contains special circuits to detect territorial challenges by other males. And his amygdala, the alarm system for threats, fear and danger is also larger in men. These brain differences make men more alert than women to potential turf threats.’
That comes as no surprise. She also talks about testosterone and what it does to the male brain. She says:-
‘if testosterone were beer, a 9-year-old boy would be getting the equivalent of a cup a day. But a 15-year-old would be getting the equivalent of nearly two gallons a day. This fuels their sexual engines and makes it impossible for them to stop thinking about female body parts and sex.’
And then there’s this bit that made me smile.
‘When his mate becomes pregnant, she’ll emit pheromones that will waft into his nostrils, stimulating his brain to make more of a hormone called prolactin. Her pheromones will also cause his testosterone production to drop by 30 percent. These hormonal changes make him more likely to help with the baby. They also change his perceptual circuitry, increasing his ability to hear a baby cry, something many men can’t do very well before their wives are pregnant.’
So, if men and women think so differently, how do we dare to write from the other gender’s perspective? Well, if there was a Ven diagram men and women would overlap far more than they were diverge.
Can you think of male writers who write females really well and, conversely, can you think of female writers who do really good males?