[DWJ] Bad Mothers (was HP)
hallieod at indigo.ie
Thu May 17 10:33:03 EDT 2007
Jadwiga to Minnow:
> > It occurs to me suddenly that we wouldn't be having this discussion if the
>> parent in question were male rather than female. The adult male of the
>> household equally doesn't do any housework, after all. Shame upon us, eh?
>> Gender stereotypists that we are!
Well, no - to fit this pattern, wouldn't the father-character have to
be the sole parent and be neglecting his children to go out and
organize fathers' rights events? While simultaneously telling his
sons they had to be super achievers and stars at whatever appropriate
manly sport, and his daughters that they shouldn't bother too much
with school so they can take on the housework and child-minding. No,
perhaps a politician going around the country spouting forth about a
'return to family values'. I'm stretching to make it fit, but that's
because it's harder to do when there isn't a stereotype. And
preferably, you'd have previously written a lot of abusive/neglectful
fathers - certainly more than your abusive/neglectful mothers.
>What's interesting is that we're obsessing over a single example,
>because it fits a cultural stereotype. Logically, of course, some
>people in a given group are going to fit the stereotype, and some of
>them will be nasty. In this case, the failed feminist writer. Is it
>possible for someone to include a negative character who fits a
>stereotype safely? How?
Brushing past the implication of obsessiveness ;) - this is in part
what I was wondering too. So far, I'm thinking it may be possible
with a central character done with some depth (and if you're
scrupulously clear about your own set of biases) but it's not so
likely to be done well if you don't allow readers get beyond that
easy 'fit' of character and stereotypical characteristics. But I
guess - why bother anyway unless you are going to go into that depth?
For example, there are surely more than enough fat kid characters who
are lazy & greedy or a bully that you'd need to be doing something
very different with the character to add another.
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