Can Men Write Female Characters?
Women Writing Women
How about Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games? She wrote and portrayed Katniss. You’d think this would be easy then: a woman writing a young woman. Even if the author didn’t live through trials like those portrayed in The Hunger Games, she’s in a good position to adequately capture the struggles of a young woman. We might even hypothesize that she’d be invested in portraying a “strong” female lead.
Nonetheless, Katniss Everdeen has been criticized as being a “false” feminist sort of character—one who seems to exude strength, but upon closer examination, embodies a lot of very traditional ideas about women, womanhood, and femininity. Katniss, then, doesn’t feel as authentic. She might be more misogynistic than, say, Lawrence Hill’s Ameena.
Stephanie Meyers’ Bella Swan has similarly been criticized as a poor female role model, a character defined solely by the men around her and in her life, despite the fact she’s supposedly the driver of the story. Case in point: Bella attempts to kill herself in order to win Edward back, because she can’t stand the thought of living without him.