As often happens, I get my ideas for blogs when I read an interesting thread on Facebook. This week, I read something about the absence of men in Lesfic/WLW or alternately, when men do show up they aren’t portrayed positively in the story.
To be honest, I haven’t put this under a microscope to any great degree and I happen to be reading a story where there are male characters in the story that are not the embodiment of evil. However, as I try to think back, I believe that to some degree, this might be a little true. I started to look back on every single novel I’ve penned to determine if I’ve fallen into this trap. I have.
I don’t dislike men. Not at all. Because if I did, I wouldn’t have great respect for my brother in law, my nephews, colleagues, or even my very flawed father. As a result, there are male characters in some of my books that fall squarely into the family category. I’ve also included a sprinkling of positive co-workers who are men.
I’ll admit that none of my male characters are front and center, except as villains. And they certainly aren’t current, future, or past lovers. In fact, as I look back, I’ve written only one main character who was previously married to a man who died. All of my other main characters have been lesbians. Some of those characters have been more comfortable with that self-identification than others, but still definitely lesbians. I suppose I do this because I write WLW. I don’t want to see the woman end up with a man in the end, so I don’t ever create a story where that would even be possible. I’ve never written the supposedly “straight” woman falls for the lesbian/bi-sexual trope. The closest I’ve come to that is the character, Danna, in Pleasure Workers who is a widower. The dead husband is not really a character, because, well, he’s dead. But, I didn’t vilify him, either.
I’ve written wonderful fathers, cool brothers, flamboyant friends, badass colleagues, nice old men who pick up hitchhikers and make sure the main character gets a safe ride, quirky townsfolk, and men who willingly fight alongside the women. Those male characters have had varying degrees of prominence in my books. Some, like Unconventional Lovers are wonderful side characters that are crucial to the story. Others are fun additions, like in The Review and add a little humor and levity. Finally, some may present originally as villains, only for the reader to discover they aren’t really that bad after all like in Asset Management and The Organization.
The real question is whether to consider having men play a more prominent role in the books or not? Some may argue that by not having men in the books, other than as evil-doers, we aren’t being fair. Or, and I love this argument, aren’t representing the real world. I laugh long and hard about that argument. Because come on, it’s fiction. No one can argue that every single lesbian has chiseled abs and makes their partner scream their name. All night long. It’s fiction.
Don’t we get to make up shit and draw our characters any damn way we want? It does not have to mirror the real world. That’s the point. Some of us read lesfic/WLW to escape. And honestly, I prefer reading about women who love women more than a central male character. You can sprinkle in a nice guy, here and there, but don’t make that nice guy ride off into the sunset with the drool-worthy lesbian.
So, put men in your books or leave them out. Make them all heroes and stand-up guys or not. It makes no difference to me, as long as two women fall in love or stay in love somewhere in the story. That’s what I look for.
If you want to see how I included men in my books, you know the drill, click on the links below.
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