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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm writing a female lead, which I haven't done before. I think I've got the voice down reasonably well, especially after a few corrections about minor phrasings from my girlfriend. So far so good.

After getting feedback from some beta readers, I've decided to change one scene. Two of them said it didn't feel right. Not from a gender perspective, just from an immaturity perspective. I have my heroine out drinking with some friends, and eventually sneaking in to a location she shouldn't. Fair enough. I can see the issue.

My initial solution was to make them a little drunker than they are currently, and have one of her friends dare her to sneak back there. I thought this was a pretty tidy way to solve the problem. Who hasn't been convinced to do something a little stupid by their friends on a big night out? But my girlfriend seems to think it doesn't sit right. She said dares like that are usually a male thing, because men like to see their friends embarrassed, it's almost a bonding experience, whereas women bond in different ways.

So I thought I'd put it to the masses here. Does that feel too unladylike?
 

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depends on WHY they are daring her to sneak back there.  Is the ladies' room full and/or broken and is the place she's being dared to sneak into an empty men's room to pee?  Totally done that.  Or is it someplace her friends are going to follow her into and they just want her to go first? also done that.  Or are they just daring her to dare her?
 

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Have her be looking for the bathroom and stumble upon this forbidden place. While drinking, finding a place to take a leak is always important to females. :)
 

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Hate to say it, but this is really a personality thing. Personally I'm the kind who will take any dare for the sake of it. But I know other women who are the complete opposite. So it just depends on what YOUR character would do.
 

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I'm putting my skirt on to tell you that I feel us girls are very competitive, and that it would perhaps be less of a dare and more of a way to show up someone else. Maybe one of the other girls is afraid and your MC wants to show that she's not? Peer pressure may be less direct culturally (though that depends on the specific social circle) but it's no less present in female relationships.

Getting out of my skirt and changing into a lab coat, I am also going to put on my scientist hat (it has a propellor) and point out that genders are far less different than many people would like you to believe. Socially we may be conditioned to behave differently, but the base emotions which run through us are barely different at all.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can't really use the bathroom angle unfortunately. It's basically a function being hosted in the back room of the bar they're in, complete with security guard. I won't go into too much detail, but there's something strange about it, and they're all really curious about what's going on back there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yea I figured it would come more down to personality than anything. I feel like it's fine in the context of these specific characters, but I just wanted to make sure it wasn't obviously really jarring from a female perspective.
 

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make it about her wanting to see someone in the back room rather than the back room itself.  that would possibly read more realistic. 
 

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Katja said:
What is your character's personality? Is she one who would act like a lady or is she more of an adventurous type? Maybe your girlfriend wouldn't go sneaking anywhere, but there are women who would. This is not a gender thing. It's a personality thing.
I agree. I've gone into places I'm not supposed to out of curiosity. Personality thing, and not liking to be told "no."
 

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Andykay said:
...they're all really curious about what's going on back there.
So your MC is being the brave one and sneaking back there.

They all have motivation, she's the one who takes action. That's not a male or female trait, it's a human trait.
 

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I have this friend, since kindergarten, actually. We are both women of, um, mature years. But when we get together, and toss back a few, we are liable to dare each other to do things we normally wouldn't do. Actually, no dares are involved. We both get these wonderful ideas which seem perfectly brilliant at the time.

Yes, I think your scene is plausible.
 

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Andykay said:
Yea I figured it would come more down to personality than anything. I feel like it's fine in the context of these specific characters, but I just wanted to make sure it wasn't obviously really jarring from a female perspective.
I will chime in to say, "How drunk?" Because I've certainly done things drunk to be funny. But nothing too crazy. So really the question is, why did you betas think it didn't sit well? Is it as simple as your character acting out of character based on her behavior up until that point? Because if that's the problem then you have to deal with that. Maybe have a little inner monologue battle with herself? That's what you gotta look at.
 

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Beta readers never believe anything. "I don't buy this." BLAH BLAH BLAH.

You rarely hear that sort of thing in actual reader reviews. It's fiction. Readers get that. Ask people to pick apart your work and they will.

 

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Dalya said:
Beta readers never believe anything. "I don't buy this." BLAH BLAH BLAH.

You rarely hear that sort of thing in actual reader reviews. It's fiction. Readers get that. Ask people to pick apart your work and they will.
In addition, readers rarely note your gender when they compare it to your work. Some will notice a man writing about a woman, but MOST will just see it as an author writing about stuff.

If you REALLY want to avoid any of that, just write under a gender neutral pen name.
 

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I've been in bars where the whole point of a large drinking game going on was that the loser was dared to make out with the one foreigner in the room. (Guess who that was?)

It really is a personality thing. Personally for me it would depend on the dare.
 

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When women get together and start drinking they do stupid things just like men. I totally take dares from my friends and do embarrassing things that I'd never do while completely sober ;D And if it's a bunch of women writers at a convention it's even worse.
 

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valeriec80 said:
Have her be looking for the bathroom and stumble upon this forbidden place. While drinking, finding a place to take a leak is always important to females. :)
This.

ETA: Oops, just read where you said you can't do this. In that case, I think the dare part would be fine if she's an adventurous or naturally curious type.
 

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Women certainly do dare each other to do things, especially if they have been drinking. From my perspective, we don't usually dare things that are likely to be dangerous or harmful. If the outcome is uncertain, or the level of danger is uncertain, it is plausible for women to participate in dares that result in something dramatic.

Heavy drinking would make the situation more likely to result in risky behavior. At least that's what I've been told.  ;)
 
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