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Eric Douglas: Why are men afraid of strong women in fiction?

Why are men afraid of strong women -- in fiction?

I’m not trying to start an argument. I’m really not. I just don’t get it.

Just before the film “Wonder Woman” premiered, a couple different movie theaters announced they were going to have women-only showings of the movie. Not exclusively and not on every screen. Just one or two showings so women could get together and cheer and laugh and have fun. Men lost their minds. They threatened to sue because they felt they were being discriminated against.

A couple weeks ago, the BBC announced that the upcoming season of the long-running show “Dr. Who” would have a woman in the title role. The reaction from men across the Internet was moral indignance and outrage. Admittedly, I’ve never watched “Dr. Who,” but it’s a television show about a time-traveling alien. Jodie Whittaker is now the 13th actor to play the part.

I posted something about this online and got comments from one person saying that it was all “political correctness” seeping into the show. I replied that as the father of three daughters, I am all for strong female role models. I want shows about women that aren’t just angst-filled dramas, but with tough characters living their lives and being strong. Most of the women I know are like that, so why shouldn’t they be portrayed that way?

And if women want to get together and watch a movie without a bunch of men around so they can yell and scream and cheer, why should I care? I promise you, my manhood is not threatened.

On a related note, many women authors feel compelled to write under a pseudonym, because they think male readers won’t take them seriously. At the very least, they shorten their names to just their initials. I remember hearing that JK Rowling’s publisher told her to do it so her young adult (teenage) male readers would feel comfortable with Harry Potter.

Of course, that lasted about five minutes after the first book was released and we all found out who JK Rowling was. Knowing she was a woman didn’t seem to hurt her sales at all.

I get that a lot of people (men) who spend too much time online and watching loads of television have nothing better to do than fire off angry tweets without thinking about them, but really? I promise you there are a lot more important and meaningful issues in the world to be outraged about than these things.

Come on, men. Aren’t we better than this?

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit www.booksbyeric.com or contact him at Eric@booksbyeric.com


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