I read a post on Facebook the other day about how to talk to girls. Having two girls, the title of the post intrigued me. Well, that and I am all about strong females.
So, I followed the link to a blog. The blog’s author is a journalist and lawyer who has written a book about “girl power.” This particular 2011 post was specifically about talking to little girls about their minds. Not mentioning how cute they are. Or how pretty their dress is. But what are they reading? What subjects do they enjoy in school?
It made sense to me as a woman, as a mother, and as an author. I can’t imagine someone calling my main character, Cerri Baker, cute. Perhaps her husband would tell her she was beautiful. And her mother might comment that Cerri’s curly red hair was a bit mussed. But the average person wouldn’t walk up to Cerri and call her cute. Cerri is a smart, educated woman who enjoys time with her family. She may not always be confident in her abilities, but she is more than looks.
Of course, gender roles and stereotypes go the other way, too. Cerri’s husband, Matt, is an associate professor and the major breadwinner for the family. However, he would happily spend the day playing with their kids. I can’t imagine someone asking Matt about fixing a car or discussing sports scores. That’s just not the kind of guy he is.
As an author, I think it’s important that we make our fictional characters as multi-faceted as the real people we know and love. Not every woman is crafty and not every man is at home behind the grill.
Every person, however, should be a reader. Romance. Mystery. Science fiction. Non-fiction. There’s a genre out there for everyone.
So next time you meet someone new, instead of commenting on their appearance or even their occupation, try asking them what book they read. Maybe we can make the world a better place by expanding minds.
Nichole Bennett has been an avid mystery reader from a young age. Her first novel, Ghost Mountain, is available from Second Wind Publishing. When she’s not writing, Nichole can be found knitting socks, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, or spending too much time online. And reading.