The way the group works is that one person gets her (yes, we are all girls at the moment…) work discussed each week. This was not my week, so I spent Monday talking about some essays on the power of naming and the challenges of culture, but I’m thinking still about what was said the week before about my story.
As all stories must, the story has a villain. No conflict, no story. The villain, in this instance, happens to be female. The hero, or one of the heroes, is a ten-year-old boy. He meets up with some companions of various species and genders and collectively they overcome the villain’s nefarious plans. Classic adventure (there are wacky elements to the story, but they’re not relevant to what I’m thinking about right now.). In the course of the story, one of the companions betrays the others. A character they meet helps in the defeat and eventual redemption of the villain. The betrayer is a female character and the redeemer is a male. My group questioned this because I end up with two positive male figures, the main character and the redeemer, and two negative female characters, the main villain and the betrayer.
I think it’s okay. And yet I wonder if I have some deep hidden misogyny in me that allows me to think so.
Perhaps this seems like an excess of political correctness on my part. I have already made sure to balance the genders of the characters. I have tried to ensure that the characters do not behave along rigid gender lines. I tried to create an adventure story that was not dependent on violence for the resolution, even though I know my son would have adored a story full of swords clashing and heads flying.
I think, ultimately, that I hope my characters’ bad decisions spring from their characters as a whole rather than some aspect of their femininity. Or, in other words, because people make bad decisions, whether or not they are people who are girls.