This week is a Freebie Topic, so I decided to highlight books that I think should be gender-bent. Of course, since most of the books I read have female protagonists, that means it’s mostly guys in this post, but there are some girls as well, don’t worry (if, indeed, you were actually worried)!
We’re flooded with stories of princesses, so why don’t we have more stories about princes, and not just with princely love interests? Mia is a very neurotic person, and it would be great to see that from a male perspective, rather than the sometimes-stereotyped “hysterical woman” character. Imagine a guy trying to handle Grandmere, or juggle princely duties with friendship and romantic drama. Not to mention, more guys need to journal without worrying about it being girly or whatever.
We need more romantically-driven male protagonists! We need a male version of Lara Jean, who seems a little young for his age and is very immature when it comes to love, but is totally in love with the idea of love and gets into trouble as a result. We need to see sensitive brotherly dynamics, like the Song girls, and we need to see Asian guys who are quiet and sensitive without being the Feminine Asian Man stereotype or whatever nonsense – guys can be sensitive without it being drawn back to the nonthreatening minority stereotype!
Another chance for a story about a guy who has anxiety and mental issues. Ruby has anxiety, goes to therapy, and struggles with her racing, stressful thoughts all that time, and it would be great to see a guy doing that without him being a Sherlock-esque genius or something, which sometimes seems like the only way we can get a male hero who has some “issues.” It’d also be great to see a guy who obsesses over girls (or guys) in the same way that Ruby does without it being seen as girly.
I mean, come one, you had to see this coming. I would just love to see the books from the point of view of a female character, like Hermione or Ginny (or Luna! forget to put her), or getting new stories about Lily Evans or Lily Luna Potter. We need more books that are universally loved like Harry Potter and have female protagonists, plus it would just be awesome to see even more of these awesome characters!
A Wicked Thing is about Aurora, or Sleeping Beauty, so it deals with a lot of internal things, like expectations and being a figurehead who has no power and barely any personality, at least on the outside. It would nice to see a boy in this position, acting as a doll for everyone to fawn over but never allowed to really express any opinions. This could work for other fairy tales, but Sleeping Beauty is the one that came to mind first.
I mainly included this one, Vicious by V.E. Schwab, because I was more interested in the female characters in the book than the male characters. I would have loved to learn more about them, get into their heads a bit more, but it was the story of Victor and Eli, which was a little bit of a disappointment for me.
After writing a paper a couple of years ago about gender and language, I can tell you plenty about it, including the sad fact that men gathering around and talking is typically seen as stimulating conversation, while women doing the same are just gossips (there might be a couple quotes along these lines in the books, actually). It would be nice to see a book about a man with a big mouth, like Lizzie supposedly has (although I really don’t think it was as much of an issue as the summaries always made them out to be – Lizzie was simply a bit naive).
A snarky protagonist dealing with scary, mythological monsters would be awesome in any form, but I would definitely be happy with a female version. Annabeth is awesome, and it would be great to see her perspective a bit, or we could simply get into the head of another unique and powerful demigod.
The Raven Cycle is about Blue and her raven boys, but how cool would it be if it was about Blue (male or female) and her wonderful, wicked, troubled raven girls? I’m getting a Gemma Doyle vibe for some reason, with her quartet of girls, but it could be anything.
This goes with A Wicked Thing – taking beloved fairy tales and twisting the genders and expectations. Cruel Beauty is a Beauty and the Beast story, and it would be really interesting to have a male twist on it, either with a gay relationship or a girl who’s considered the big, scary beast. The girls don’t always have to be the “beauty” in the relationship, you know.