January 18, 2011

Talk to Me Tuesday: Male vs. Female Protagonists

Talk to Me Tuesday is a great new weekly meme for bookish discussion, hosted by Melissa of I Swim For Oceans

This week's question: Do you have a preference between male and female MCs, and why?
I have always preferred female protagonists, simply because I find I can relate to them better. Also, Melissa brings up a good point in her answer — it may depend on what perspective the book is written in. I find it easier to read a novel featuring a central male character written in third-person than one in first-person.

Just scanning my shelves right now, I do see a few books with guys as main characters — for instance, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, and of course, Harry Potter. It seems like of the books with male protagonists I do read, they mostly seem to fall under fantasy!

Still, I think I should challenge myself to read a few more (and get outside my comfort zone for the challenge I'm holding!) I've been considering books like The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, The Limit by Kristen Landon, Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman, Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick, and Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher...trying to mix it up with a variety of YA & MG reads in various genres.

What about the rest of you — do you find it equally easy to relate to male and female protagonists? Does it matter if it's in first or third person, or which genre it is? And any male protag books you absolutely love?


  1. I prefer female protagonists, also. I relate to them better, too. I like first person POV the best though, especially for a male MC so I can get in their head and understand them a bit better. Though I love when books switch the POV between the female and male MC like in Perfect Chemistry & Shiver.

  2. I'd really recommend The Lightning Thief! I LOVED the whole series and Percy is a really good male MC. I loved the Greek mythology mixed into it.

  3. I don't mind either way, although I can only seem to write a femail main character.

    I think girls are more likely to read either, while boys don't want to read about girl stuff.


  4. I don't think it really matters for me. If the book is well written, I don't care who's telling the story.

    Some books with male protagonists and/or narrators that I really enjoyed were Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis, Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick, and The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them at the moment.

  5. I also love female protagonists, but that's because it's easier to relate to the girls. But, that doesn't mean I don't like male POV's.

  6. If the book is well written, then I'm okay with a male or a female protagonist. However, I usually gravitate to female protagonists because I relate to them more, especially if the story is in first person.

  7. I usually read books with female MCs, but it's not so important to me whether they're male or female. What matters is that I need to relate to them, and I'll be honest, the POV (3rd person, 1st person) has a lot to do with it for me. If I can get into a character's mind, however, male or female, the book succeeds.

    Great answer, Danya! Thanks for participating! :)

  8. I prefer felmale protags more. I feel like I can relate more to a female MC. And most of the books I buy and read are from the female pov or about the female more.

  9. I hadn't thought about it before, but it doesn't make any difference to me. First or 3rd person doesn't make much difference either.
    Male protags I love: Dave Robicheaux-a flawed but basically good guy. Aragorn - what's not to love in this heroic figure? Alex Cross - another good guy. There are a lot more male protags I could name that I enjoy reading. I'm thinking there are an equal number of femals.

  10. I guess so much of the time, it really does come down to Harry Potter being fantastic. I really do love it. And looking back, I don't think I read that many books from male point of views. I think it's that SO many of them are written from female point of views. Although, I did love Gail Carriger's portions of her books that were from the male perspective, but her books are written in 3rd person omniscient, so it was inevitable. Oh, and Cassandra Clare's books. I really did love the parts with Jace & Simon.

    I hear really good things about the Rick Riordian books.

    And, it seems that for The Maze Runner, people either didn't like it or loved it. I've seen opposing reviews everywhere. LOL! It's funny because the first review I read against it I was surprised, but reading why they didn't like it, I could understand their point of view.

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  11. I honestly have no preference when it comes to the gender of the MC. As the book is well written and I like the character, I will most likely enjoy it.

    I can't believe that you haven't picked up "The Lightening Thief" yet! You must do so. It's a fabulous and fun series. Two big thumbs up from me.

  12. @Theresa: Good point about dual narration - that can sometimes work really well, because you get to see both sides!

    @La Coccinelle: Thanks for the suggestions! I've heard of Draw the Dark - I'll have to take another look at it.

    @Sharon: Love Aragorn! :D

    @Rumannah Aasi: I know, I know...I keep hearing good things about it but somehow I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Must remedy that!

  13. I agree female MCs are easier to relate too but at the same time I love getting inside a guy's mind. I think I prefer dual narrations the most :)

  14. I like both. Some of my favorite male protagonists are Cat (from Joan D. Vinge's Psion and Catspaw) and Bobby (from D. J. MacHale's Pendragon Adventure series. You might like it if you're considering Percy Jackson).

  15. Great answer Danya! I usually find I relate to female characters much more (for obvious reasons), but I agree with you and Melissa that having a male protagonist in 3rd person is easier for me to read and relate to than in first person. I would like to read more YA books with male perspectives, but I also love a dual narration where we get both male and female points of view:)

  16. Sometimes I find that a female protagonist doesn't always resonate with me because she is a little too whiny or self-centered, but I think there have been more and more books with really incredible female protagonists! It's very exciting. I generally like books featuring male protagonists equally as well, but I like that women are the predominant, driving force/voice behind YA fiction (both writing/reading it and being represented in it). Also, The Replacement is quite good--I'd recommend it!

  17. Brilliant answer, Danya! It's interesting that you mentioned most of the books you've read with male protagonists fall into the fantasy genre. You already know my other. opinions from reading my post LOL. I'm definitely going to be reading some male mc books in your challenge now.

    Thanks for telling me about Lark Rise to Candleford in you tube. I think I'm going to watch a few episodes on there and if I like them I'll consider buying the first season box set. I love having all of the DVD box sets of my favourite TV shows/dramas like Avonlea so I can watch them anytime I want.
    I've actually realised I was wrong about the writer of Donwton being the same as Lark Rise, I thought I read it somewhere but it's actually Gosford Park he also wrote! However Brendan Coyle is in both. There are a few videos with clips of Donwton Abbey on you tube too so you might esnt to have a look there :)


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