RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: Women Rewriting

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 27 May 2000


Is Leigh Brackett writing from a female or male perspective? She is often assumed to be male, but is her perspective the same as her male contemporaries? I'm really not sure.

Is the anti-heroine of Miami Purity simply "a man in a dress?" The book is very Jim Thompson-y, but I think there are some interesting differences due to the changed gender of the protagonist.

And is there a difference between Miami Purity (female writer and protagonist) and Shooting Elvis (male writer, female protagonist)? Both have female lead protagonists who get in trouble by doing stupid things because of their boyfriends.

And the Jack Early books, was it obvious to readers that they were written by a woman before the name was reveal to be a pseudonym?

I'm willing to believe that the most "macho" books, for lack of a better term, like Spillane, for instance, are primarily from (and for?) a male perspective; and I'm willing to say that some books are primarily from
(and for?) a female perspective. However, I think we're talking about a Venn diagram with a very large area of overlap in the middle.

I've also wondered if, in general, women might not be better at writing from a male point of view than men from a female, simply because the male point of view has been so hegemonic and women have been forced to work within it for so long that they can ape it, while men have been more able to ignore the alternative. Of course, the best writers of both sexes are able to create convincing characters of either sex -- isn't that part of being a good writer, creating good characters, period?


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