Imagine you’re watching a TV show or film. A male character runs to his car as he’s being pursued by someone or something. As soon as he reaches the car, he drops his keys, and the time he spends scrabbling around for them gives whatever was chasing him time to catch up.
Do you think:
(1) “what an idiot”.
(2) “what bad writing”.
(3) “yet another writer who thinks all men are stupid”
Now ask yourself the same question with a female character (changing the “men” reference in #3 to “women”, of course). For men, my answer was 2. For women, my answer was 3. It really should be the same answer, shouldn’t it?
I’ve been challenging myself lately to examine my own thinking. I’ve spent my whole life reprogramming and deprogramming so I wouldn’t just inherit the thoughts of the people around me unfiltered. But that’s how we learn, so it’s an ongoing process, flushing out the garbage. And I’m finding more than I expected.
How did you guys respond to the question? I think there are a lot more we could ask like this, too – would be interesting to see how we respond.