I’ve seen numerous comments across the internet claiming there are too many books about women. Of course, that rankled me a bit. Women’s fiction novels that fall outside of Romance and Chick Lit’ genres do tend to have a female protagonist. However, my sassy side says that even if there were more books with female protagonists, those commenters do not have to read them.
SuperSummary did a study around female vs male protagonists in novels. In their control group 64.3% of fiction books had male protagonists compared to 25.6% with female protagonists. Nine percent had both female and male protagonists, leaving 1% with no gender assigned. They found on average that fiction books with male protagonists sold 10 million more copies than those with female protagonists. Okay, ladies, we need to start supporting the female protagonists (and their authors).
Of course, this wasn’t an extensive study. Still, stories which deal with challenging life struggles for women are important. Studies indicate that women are more likely to seek mental health help than men, but they are just as likely to pass their challenges off as shortcomings instead.
Books telling stories that reveal emotional struggles many women experience are important. It lets women know they are not alone in their struggles. I know this is true for an author if you are injecting your own struggle into the story. This is what happened for me when I wrote When the Walls Come Tumbling Down. Having lost my husband only a few months prior to writing this, the opportunity to merge some of my feelings into the main character proved cathartic. Even though the story involves solving a murder, the emotional struggles of Ashley as she works to move forward with her life are very real.
Books which take us on a journey of personal growth by a woman protagonist, no matter the circumstances, are especially wonderful. It gives women hope that they, too, can rise above and become even stronger than they already are.
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