Women and men have different points of view.
August 22, 2015
MEN AND WOMEN experience the world differently. In the same situation, they’re programmed to notice different things first. This is important for authors who write from the point of view of the opposite gender.
Things men tend to notice most
* Body postures
* Female body shapes, especially breasts (regardless of whether or not he fancies the woman)
* Anything to do with hierarchy (especially their own, and other men’s, place in the pecking order)
* The size of things, especially their height
* The speed of things, especially cars
* Anything to do with motors
Things women tend to notice most
* Facial expressions
* Subtle changes in the sound of a voice
* Clothes (colour, cut, fabric, design, fashion, quality, style)
* Interpersonal relationships (who is on what terms with whom)
* Other people’s emotions
* Furniture and interior decorating
Of course, individual characters may be different. Gender is not the only factor; personal interests and training also play a big role. A male fashion designer will pay attention to clothes and fabrics, and a female mechanic to motors and tools.
Also consider whether the character grew up in a society that encouraged gender-typical interests. Male and female brains are naturally programmed to perceive things differently, but these differences can diminish or increase depending on what society expects. If your characters lives in a world that values feminine women and masculine men, and where the genders have strictly divided roles, the differences will be great.
Here are some examples of typical female and male PoV
She scanned the contents of the trunk: an embroidered shawl, a wide-skirted gown of crimson brocade, several pieces of old lace, a velvet cloche hat, a toy car and some tools.
He scanned the contents of the trunk: three slotted screwdrivers, a clawhammer, combination pliers, a matchbox-sized model of a Chrysler Imperial, and some old clothes.
Mrs Browne wore a princess-cut dress of cerise silk with a tight-fitting bodice.
Mrs Browne’s breasts strained the fabric of her pink dress.
Joan chose the comfortable armchair with the velvet cushions.
John chose the tall seat on the chief’s right.
These examples are characters I’ve made up. No doubt your characters – and you – would perceive trunk, dress and seat in yet other ways.
If you want to discuss this concept or share some examples, please leave a comment. It would be fun to see some ideas for male/female variations.
Rayne Hall is the author of Storm Dancer.