RARA-AVIS: Susan/ F appeal

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 27 Nov 2001

>It's almost the end of Boston month so I hope this won't be seen as beating
>a dead horse Do you Spenser advocates think there a posibility that Robert
>Parker originated and keeps Susan, who is a strong and smart female
>character, so his work will have enhanced appeal to women readers?

Well, I'm sure that was part of the thinking, perhaps urged on by his editors. I've also heard that the Susan/Spenser relationship is based on his own marriage, in which case it may be that he felt the need to appease a female audience of one. Query how well it worked if that was the intention
- I know at least as many female readers as males who find Susan annoying, and in fact female readers are notoriously tough on "love interests" and female characters in general [classic example is "Law & Order" - I know women who complained, at least somewhat justly, that the first few seasons were a "boys club" yet hate just about every female who's ever added to the cast]. On the other hand, a lack of any female presence, even an annoying one, may be a turnoff. Most writers don't want to look like they are hanging a "no girls allowed" sign on the clubhouse. Of course, it's a case by case basis as I know plenty of women who are crazy about "Oz" (and it ain't 'cause of Rita Moreno).

Personally, I don't give it a lot of thought, though I like to see some reflection of reality (ie, a modern day courtroom drama without a single female judge or attorney is potentially suspect, as is a cop drama where the force is 90% female.) Any writers come to mind who have created series that are actually or essentially all-male? (Or all female?) Any of them recent?


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