Monday, November 2, 2009

Y chromosomes? Y not?

Hey! I still post on this blog, too! Where have I been, you ask? Well, I could tell you a story of international intrigue and mortal danger, but then I'd have to kill you. Plus I'd totally be lying.

Anyway, if you've spent any time in the Creative Writing forum at the PPMB lately, you've probably noticed a recent explosion in gender-bender fan-fiction. John Lane has been around for awhile, but now we've got Finn, Dean, and Duncan Morgendorffer joining the party. Honestly, you can hardly breathe in there for the testosterone!

What's the reason for this trend, you ask? (You're just full of questions today, aren't you?) One explanation may be the shortage of decent male characters on the show. Creating a male character from a female one gives authors more options not only in terms of plot development and character traits, but also relationships, be they romantic, platonic, or antagonistic. For example, Daria doesn't have to worry about failing Ms. Barch's science class, but Dean and Duncan might. Quinn has to fend off veiled insults and passive-aggressive jabs from Sandi, but Finn may have to fend off her romantic overtures.

Another reason may be that there are simply more male fanfic writers than female at the moment. After awhile, I would imagine guys get tired of writing from a female perspective and want to try writing from a male point of view. In the wise words of Jake Morgendorffer, "This place could do with a little scratching and sweating now and then."

Of course, HolyGrail2007 has already written excellent first-person fanfics about Tom Sloane and Jeffy, but as mentioned previously, options are more limited for canon males than for canon females. Sometimes, to get a good story, you've just gotta play God with people's DNA.

So, who's next? Joe Landon? Alexander Griffin? Or how about that goth dude, Andrew what's-his-name?


The Angst Guy said...

After awhile, I would imagine guys get tired of writing from a female perspective and want to try writing from a male point of view.

That's actually true. I like writing about Mack because he isn't portrayed as an idiot, incompetent, slacker, cat-torturer, two-faced hypocrite, or politician. I'm starting to get into writing from Upchuck's point of view and with BG's help, it's coming together. Hard to find other "good guys" in the show. Maybe I'll have to write about the bad ones.

The Angst Guy said...

Another thought: the characters most often sex-changed are the most important ones in the series, Daria, Quinn, and Jane. Switching the sex of the other characters doesn't have the same impact as switching the core three.

With other characters, it's more interesting to fiddle with their backgrounds. What if Sandi was in Daria's grade? What if Jodie went to Grove Hills and wasn't present? (i.e., who would Mack date?) What if Stacy got a spine earlier in the series?

Writing from the viewpoint of a character of the opposite sex is tough. I know I've blown it a few times, having a girl do something that a guy is more likely to do. It's hard to get past the testosterone thing. (That explains my interest in tomboys: they're easier to write about and are assumed to have certain guy-like attitudes.) I feel like an idiot sometimes for thinking I can write from a lesbian teenager's perspective, though gender identity and changing sex roles have always fascinated me.

Lately I've been more interested in a topic BG brought up years ago, about taking a closer look at the males in the series and seeing if they can be rehabilitated. Daria was written for an audience of teenage girls, so its humor relies on making guys look silly (which we are, but that's not the point). A writer hungers for someone other than Mack to pilot a manuscript.

Pinhead said...

Ethan Yeager.
Leaves from parents and moves to Lawdale. Alternative to Tom.

The Angst Guy said...

Ethan Yeager.
Leaves from parents and moves to Lawdale. Alternative to Tom

Whoa. Damn, that could work! He had something there. It would have to come out better than in "Potential," though.

Pinhead said...

Imagine fight for the guy between Daria and Quinn! It is grandiose!

The Angst Guy said...

That could happen. Ethan loved Daria's room! :)

Pinhead said...

Quinn's charms against Daria's insight! It deserve Shakespeare's pen... Or TAG's, if the worst comes to the worst...

The Angst Guy said...

Sometimes, to get a good story, you've just gotta play God with people's DNA.

I like this comment more the more I see it! Thank you, Kristen! See if something comes of this....

Disco316 said...

Hmm, Willow and Coyote come to town just like they did in canon, but it's to ask the Morgendorffers to take custody of their son (dying, going to jail, being unfit parents, what have you). I could see that working.

Raven said...

I think a full-scale gender-swapped universe may be in order.

You have Darian Morgendorffer and his best friend John(or James) Lane right off the bat. Oddly enough, they're still wearing the same shoes. Darian has a crush on John/James' older sister, Elaine Lane, but later on dates John/James' ex, Tammy Sloane.

Darian's younger brother, Quinton Morgendorffer, is on the football team with his three friends, Alexander(Xander) Griffin, Devon Blumdeckler, and Casey Rowe. Xander got bumped to second-string quarterback when Quinton showed up, so there's some resentment there.

They have three fangirls who follow them around named Joanie/Josie, Jenny, and Jamie(yay for unizex names!). Jamie still gets called the wrong name: Janie, Jodie, Julie, whatever. I think they'll be on the cheerleading squad...or they'll be the Bixarro Fashion Club.

I can go on about Jackie and Hank Morgendorffer(I think for all intents and purposes, the last name would be Barksdale, though.), cheer captain Michelle/Michaela and her overachieving boyfriend Joey Landon, Michelle/Michaela's dimwitted companion Karen Thompson and her boyfriend Brett Taylor, and girl!Upchuck aka Charlotte Ruttheimer.

Now take a moment and imagine Principal Angelo Li, Kim O'Neill, Jonny Barch, and Toni DeMartino.

HolyGrail2007 said...

Of all the ones proposed here, I'm kinda digging Charlotte Ruttheimer, although I'm not sure what nickname she'd have.

Though I'm having a slight fascination with Jonny Barch. Gotta wonder how Daria will get out of that one.

Our three female J's would probably be cheerleaders under Michelle, since the original were football players.

A Kevin/Brittany switch sounds fun. I could see Brett with the idea to join the Marines (with the military tactics) and Karen even more oblivious then before.

I'll think about them when I finish up with Finn.