Making a character in a book seem realistic and interesting is no easy task. It’s not down to just your skills as a writer, though. You actually have to know a bit about who you’re writing about. In other words—do your research. Unfortunately, there are some male writers out there who seem to have major problems writing female characters and seem shy about asking their female friends for advice.
That’s where the ‘Men Write Women’ Twitter page comes in. It documents the scariest and most cringe-worthy examples of men writing about women without having any idea about them or their anatomy. Scroll down and read for yourselves, dear Pandas, because some of these examples have to be seen to be believed—that’s how unreal they are. Remember to upvote the best of the worst.
The project was started back in 2019 when Meghan Vondriska launched her version of the ‘Men Writing Women’ Reddit community. Now, the ‘Men Write Women’ Twitter page has 63k followers and there are 666 fans who follow their Instagram page. Very spooky and perfect for Halloween. “Women just want to be written as human. That’s it. There isn’t some wild scientific equation to writing women, and it isn’t difficult. Write them as human, with complex feelings, not as body parts that happen to be put together into a feminine form,” Vondriska told Bored Panda.
“I’m an avid reader, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was a novel my boyfriend lent me, where the female character was described by her breasts and the male character was described by his personality. Working in advertising, I tend to be Very Online, and so taking my anger to Twitter seemed like a natural parallel. I was familiar with the Men Writing Women subreddit, but created a Twitter account in order to craft a consistent narrative and to build a community that wasn’t hidden behind anonymity,” Vondriska revealed what inspired her to create ‘Men Write Women.’
Vondriska, from Wisconsin, devours 3 to 5 books each week. (Meanwhile, our piles of started-but-unfinished books keep on growing.)
According to the founder of the ‘Men Write Women’ Twitter page, a lot of male writers who tend to be thought of as the “founders of the literary canon” are continuous offenders. “John Updike, for instance. But the greatest repeat offender is definitely Stephen King. His portrayal of his female characters is honestly offensive,” Vondriska said.
However, it isn’t all doom and gloom in the literary world. There are male writers who can write women well, too. “Terry Pratchett is wonderful, and I’ve yet to see a submission from Michael Crichton,” Vondriska shared that she, like many of us, is a Pratchett fan.
Vondriska also pointed out that, in her opinion, the best writers are well-read. So she encouraged all of us to read more and (most importantly) read more widely.
“Pay attention to what you’re reading, and who you’re reading. You have to make sure your bookshelf isn’t made up of just men. Add in some spice—some female authors, some nonbinary authors, authors of color. And lastly, just because you were assigned a book in high school, doesn’t mean its good!”