by Shelt Garner
A certain segment of the “woke cancel culture mob” believes that, by definition, a male author writing from a female POV is illegitimate. These are the same people who believe that The Bechdel Test is an immutable law of storytelling and if your story doesn’t pass it, you might as well just give up.
When I started working on my first novel, I was completely oblivious to the controversy over this subject. I just read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series and really liked it. I liked that he wrote in third person intimate and when the time came, I just adopted the way he did things because it seemed to fit my personal writing style.
As this novel project has progressed, however, there have been a few times when I have been very clearly admonished against writing from a female POV using third person intimate. Being the ornery person that I am this has only served to make me angry.
Not only is the point to tell a great story, but I find it unfair to presume that just because I’m a man that I can’t write from a female POV. Of course, to some members of the “woke cancel culture mob” that’s not even the point — it’s not so much that I can’t write from female POV as a man, it’s that I shouldn’t.
Fuck that. And fuck you if you believe that.
It’s because of thinking like that we got Trump. Ugh.
As I’ve written before, I hate orthodoxy of any sort because it restrains one’s ability to think freely, to admit when you’re wrong and to see the world for what it really is.
Anyway, now I feel very self-conscious, insecure and paranoid about what I’m doing — but that won’t stop me from continuing to do exactly what I’m doing. Some of this comes from I’m simply unwilling to bow to the “woke cancel culture mob” this late in the process and some of it comes from I know I can overcome the obvious obstacles of writing a female character in a compelling, honest way as a male author.
At this point, my biggest fear is that writing from a female POV as a male author will just add to the already nearly impossible odds I face when it comes to getting traditionally published. But no one ever got anywhere in this world without taking a risk. So, here I am.
Only time will tell if the risk I’m taking pans out or not.