Something I’ve heard a lot, especially after coming to LA, is the notion that Men can’t write women characters because they don't understand how women think.
This is like the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Let me tell you why.
Fragments of my eye. A double exposure I took many years ago that today gets to represent the many pieces that make me into who I am. I know, super cliché but also quite awesome, right?
It’s mostly men who say this in an attempt to explain why there aren’t as many complex female characters in movies as there are male (why they don’t go out of their way to hire more female writers then is a another question).
The men who say this, men working in various departments in the film business, but also men who are nowhere near the film business, seem to think that women are so completely different from men that they can't possible understand ”how women think”.
Do you know what their problem is?
They believe that every single thought that comes from a woman must be driven by the fact that she is a woman. Not that she is a person.

When a man in a film responds to something happening to him he does so as a human being first, but when a woman responds to the very same thing she has to react as a woman only.

Every female character written by a man who believes women are fundamentally different from men, will be portrayed like that.
She will be driven by motherhood, her menstrual cycle, her longing for a family, her clinginess, her need to ”talk things through”.
All things stereotypically female traits that (if even true?) aren’t everything that makes up a woman. Or a person.
This is why there are so few women in the movies because ever time you have a woman in it she must be all about those feminine things, like getting all mushy when a baby pops into view (Like Scarlet Johansen in the last X-men movie), or being home waiting for their men without doing anything else except waiting (and taking care of family) while their men are doing important things (like in every single action/thriller/adventure movie ever made).
Of course that is boring! But that’s not really how Every Woman is, right?

My (very revolutionary idea) is that if men would write women characters the Exact Same Way as they write men we wouldn't have this problem.
Women wouldn't feel like they were misrepresented in the movies, and men would KNOW how to write female characters.
Because we’re really not that different.
There are more differences between individual people than there are between men/women.

I can honestly say that I rarely think about the fact that I am a woman in my every day life and thoughts. If it’s not pointed out to me like when I’m being exposed to sexism (which happens a lot when I come in contact with the world). Society wants me to remember that I am primarily a woman and not a person, but in my head, in my life I am a Human Being first.
The facts that I am a Swede, that I’m white, are huge parts in making me who I am. Just like it’s important that I have lived a very secure life in a wealthy country with free healthcare. It affects me that I was bullied when I was a kid, that I love theatre and acting, that I’m crap at maths, that I enjoy singing and talking to myself, that I have a half sister that I didn’t live with growing up but still see as my ”real” sister, I’m terrified of bees, that I am a bit scared of doing things wrong even if it’s the first time I try something.
That I am a woman in a world who treats women like we’re not worth the same amount of respect as men.

These are some of the million components that make me who I am and what makes me act in certain ways. Things that make me into a person.

Male writers who believe that they ”must know how women think” to be able to write women into their movies should not be allowed to write scripts.
At all.
Because if you see your female characters as caricatures instead of complex persons, then you are worthless in your job as a writer. And you have crappy imagination.

(Also: Women writers have successfully written male characters throughout the history. Is this more proof that there should be more female writers because men are worthless at imagination?)

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