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On not revealing gender in fiction

"Post-Binary Gender in SF: Writing Without Revealing Gender" by Alex Dally Macfarlane

Alex says, "I like and dislike this" and gives good reasons why.

But the main reason I'm posting it is that it brought back a high school memory for me. We were assigned to write a short story. I wrote a science fiction story in the first person. The story ended with flirting between my protagonist, who was female, and another character, who was male. I wasn't trying to hide anyone's gender in the story, but the teacher assumed that my protagonist was male and so was "concerned" that I had written a story with Teh Gay in it. When I said that the character was female the teacher said I should make that more clear. I identified as het cis female at the time and I did not understand why the teacher thought my protagonist was male. But apparently characters who don't do explicitly girly things are male by default. Especially if they are in space exploration stories.

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/840321.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. I prefer that you comment on Dreamwidth, but it's also OK to comment here.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2014 06:21 am (UTC)
the sad thing is that were you in high school today you would likely have gotten much the same reaction
Apr. 23rd, 2014 05:05 pm (UTC)
Heh, good point. Probably no one can identify the time period I went to high school from that story.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 06:26 pm (UTC)
I took a creative writing class years ago (in college). I don't remember what the specifics were but the prof suggested I do X cause That's How It Is Done. I thought, "hmmm. You and I don't read the same books, do we?!" I said something more polite, giving specific examples of what I'd read and she went, "Oh" and left me alone about it. I think I lucked out.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 08:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I have had mixed feelings about most of the creative writing classes I've had any interactions with.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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