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How much sympathy is left for people who still like traditional gender roles?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Mythopoet, Nov 23, 2015.

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  1. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I believe the answer is "yes".

    The people who post on the internet, in blogs, etc are people who are both politicized and engaged. They represent a small subset of the book buying public.

    I would believe that while the majority of the book buying public are support of or sympathetic to non-traditional gender roles I don't see any indication that plays a significant role in their book buying choices. So I think there is a large non-politicized group out there who will happily buy good fiction that is not politically progressive and does not engage with modern gender issues.

    The data also however seems to tell us that this group is shrinking as a proportion of the modern population, thus you should not delay your publication as time does not seem to be your friend on this issue.

    I also heartily echo Nimue's comments on this issue. If you simply indy publish on your own, until you reach a pretty significant threshold of success you will not be on the radar of the politically engaged crowd who are likely to comment on such issues in your work. So the question of taking flak for not handling such issues in an appropriate way, or even acknowledging their existence is not likely to manifest itself until you are fairly successful. Since it appears that our answers are unlikely to change your path or behavior on these issues my advice would be "write your stuff, market and sell your stuff, worry about the critique when it comes and be pleased you have become a large enough player to attract the criticism."

    Edit- I see in a later post you asked for reader reaction to that type of fiction. Personally, despite being a modern feminist in my worldview, I would have no problem buying and enjoying a book where all of the characters have traditional gender roles. I don't expect all fiction to represent or even touch on all the important issues of the day. I still very much enjoy Conan, Tolkien or Lamour for that matter. I just don't build my worldview on that kind of entertainment.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
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  2. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    See, I don't think Cersei is anti-feminist at all. Feminism isn't asking for all women to be portrayed positively, but that they should be portrayed with the same variety and value that men are, without being diminished. Humanity includes darkness, and I completely support that kind of characterization.

    A lot of the hate for Cersei, from what I've seen, is coming from the opposite direction. People who would have no issue cheering for her as a villain if she was a man.
     
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  3. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Isn't it also true that fantasy, as a genre, is extremely open to traditional tropes, mores, gender roles, and so forth? Fantasy allows so many oddities, also; but tradition seems meet, much of the time–doesn't seem out of place. But perhaps I'm showing my age.
     
  4. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Yeah, I meant in the 'traditional feminist' sense. The 80's feminist sense. The fact that she uses her body to get her way, and she is portrayed as beautiful and enchanting and a mother… all the big no-no's in the traditional feminist sense. But in the NEW feminist mind set she is real. She works.
     
  5. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Yes, fifth view, I agree with you. This goes back to my earlier post in another thread about "The same, only different". It does seem that there are certain tropes in fantasy that people are still looking for, both in characterization and in setting, and in the story itself.
     
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Marketers look at two groups of people: High interest, and low interest. Or, more bluntly, "hard core fans" and "casual fans."

    You need the hard core fans to get your foot in the door.

    Your book is a risk, and nobody is going to buy it unless they're such avid readers that taking a chance on a (your-genre-here) book is nothing to them. You have to reach some kind of popularity threshold, which you get through the hard-core fans, before anyone picks your book up casually. But once they do, you need that casual appeal to keep the book going.

    They key is to find a community of people who like what you like, and write a good "casual reading" book that they absolutely love. That's how you get a lot of sales.

    But sometimes that hard-core fan group isn't large enough, and sometimes their interests are completely at odds with the mass market casual readers (at least so far as you are able to figure it out as the writer). That's where this conversation comes in.

    When it comes to hard-core fans on gender, there's a big group on the left. That's what you hear about on the internet. But the casual market doesn't want to be "preached to" about gender. There's just a smaller percentage of them who bother going online to say so. So at least insomuch as gender and sales are concerned, you're best off with well-developed female characters who can appeal to that hard-core fan group without coming across as "preachy" to the casual reader.

    I hope it goes without saying, but gender should only be one tiny part of your book and only one aspect of many by which you appeal to different readers.
     
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  7. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    This is simply untrue. There is tons of well collected and collated data available, both for free and for cost, publically and limited access, to allow people and companies to understand what readers want to buy and how they make their buying decisions.

    It can take work/investment to get access to this information, but if one is interested and motivated it is out there.

    I am not sure this is a correct analysis of the current state of things. I get the impression that the people who like to loudly complain about social injustice, don't spend the same energy in praising literary work they like. Nor do I think they are the same people even. I don't think there is a correlation between social justice advocates and people who run say fantasy book review blogs.
     
  8. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Devor,

    What you're describing doesn't seem to be the way that it works in practice. I don't know much about marketing theory, but this is how people are making money selling books:

    Step 1 - Write something that is similar to other books selling in a genre. Make sure that the cover is awesome and that the pitch is good.

    Step 2 - Throw it into KDP (really helps with your exposure when you debut; once you build a following, you have to decide if it's better to go wide). Amazon puts it in a new release category for its first month. Just being in that category drives sales hugely. If your cover and pitch are good, you'll get enough sales to put your book in the also bought algos. If readers really like what you're doing, they'll either follow you on Amazon or even sign up for your email newsletter.

    Step 3 - Promote the heck out of your book. I decided to wait to do much promotion until I get my third book out, but a lot of people advise hitting promo hard from the start. The goal is to get your book high enough in the rankings for Amazon's algos to sell for you.

    Step 4 - Put out the next book in the series.

    A lot of people are making money doing this. They're seeing their audience grow with each book they put out. I'm not sure how any of this strategy jives with what you said.
     
  9. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    BWFoster, what you're describing is a method that works for some authors and not for others. You can find dozens of formulas for publishing success on the internet and they will all only work for some individuals and the truth behind it all is that you simply can't predict publishing success. I realize you don't want to believe that. You've convinced yourself there is a formula. Whatever. But you're derailing the thread right now, so can we not talk about how to successfully publish a book here?

    I was more curious as to what the general opinion among writers and readers about authors like me is. Honestly, I would consider myself neutral. I'm definitely not much of a "right" leaning person and I avoid "political" labels like the plague anyway.
     
  10. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    To answer the OP's question; unless your book will be a major success, I don't think you'll attract enough critics to point out any criticism over the traditional gender roles. I also don't think there will be many who'll notice, because there are plenty of traditional gender roled stuff in today's media.

    The only thing I would say not to do is to have it be an underlying theme of the story. If the message of your story is that 'women should stay at home and you shouldn't support transgenders' then I wouldn't want you to write the story at all nor would I ever read such a thing. If your villain is a feminist character or a transwoman or transman, that's also an issue.
     
  11. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    The only reason I commented on this thread in the first place is because it sounded like you were asking about what it takes to sell books (which I admit that I found confusing because I can't remember you ever really being interested in that topic before). As far as I can tell, the issues you raised in the initial question do not appear to have any impact on successfully selling.

    It seems that almost everyone on this thread is saying that, so I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for now.
     
  12. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Well, you're mistaken. I was not concerned with what it takes to sell books. I was more interested in the cultural climate and how modern readers are likely view authors like me in general. I'm not really sure how to make that more clear. I don't believe I mentioned selling books.
     
  13. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

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    Are you implying that a transgender person never committed a crime or done something awful.
    On the other hand if all bad people in a book are transgender or all transgender people are evil , that's really offensive.
     
  14. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Funny enough, my four year old is playing lego and he just built a man/lady bad guy. He was looking for a hat, but put a woman's hair on the bad guy and said "oh, well, he can just be a man/lady bad guy." … but he also has man/lady cops as well. No clue that this is being hashed out on an internet forum by adults.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
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  15. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    @BWFoster, I'll send you a PM.
     
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  16. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    If the only trans character is a villain, it's not a good representation of transgenders. Same goes for anyone, if the only black person is a villain, it's not a good representation. Asian, gay, white, christian? It shouldn't be done. I did not imply that you can't have a transgender villain. Of course you can, just not in a story where all the good guys have traditional gender roles or a story that promotes a traditional gender role point of view. Because, to me, that's offensive.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  17. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I have no idea how you can make that statement after you said this:

    If you are talking about promotion the reasonable reader can certainly believe you are talking about sales.
     
  18. Devouring Wolf

    Devouring Wolf Sage

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    Sure some people might criticize your book for its lack of diversity, but what's worse a book that lacks diversity or a book that panders?

    There is nothing I find more offensive than books that say "see you should like this book look how diverse it is". Diversity is nice in a story, but it shouldn't be the selling point. The plot and personalities of a character should be a selling point.

    I'm a human being. I don't relate to characters because their female and I'm female. I relate to characters regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or race because they posses qualities I admire.
     
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  19. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Sigh. Because I was responding to BW's comment. I didn't bring up the subject, he did. That's what I meant.
     
  20. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

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    You saved me some time!

    I agree.

    The people that annoy me are the ones that attack works of fiction based on what they think it lacks and what they think it should have. They don't want to write their own books, they just want to throw a tantrum and demand other authors change things to make them, as a reader, more comfortable.

    It's easier to make a big stink about "x" group being underrepresented in a TV show, movie, book, etc., and guilt the creators into changing it, than taking it upon oneself to create something that gives these other groups a chance to shine. That would take hard work and dedication, something far more demanding than parroting catch phrases and citing questionable statistics while trying to give everyone a guilt complex.

    I'd say there are far more people out there that just want a good story that will entertain them, than there are social justice crusaders that have appointed themselves fiction police of the universe.
     
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