Worrying About Men

Since I’ve started reporting on my work-in-progress as I head toward deadline, I realize I’m blogging later and later at night and rambling more and more. Hope you don’t mind. Tonight’s subject, which I know i’ll be revisiting from time to time is Men.
When friends read the early drafts of my first novel, PRIVATE RELATIONS, there was one common theme to their comments: my women characters sounded like women social workers (duh. . . i wonder why) and my male characters sounded like women social workers, too.  Hmm. I was probably letting my “fantasy man” come out in my writing. You know that guy–he’s incredibly handsome, sexy, sensual, strong and masculine, and he’s also deeply in touch with his feelings and can express them openly and insightfully. Yeah, right. It’s an unrealistic and unfair expectation and sets both men and women up for disappointment.
This is on my mind tonight because I was writing from Marcus’s point of view. I try to be careful to be more realistic about my male characters now (though I admit my guys are still pretty darn nice.) Marcus is kind of macho and not so comfortable talking about feelings. And that’s fine. He’d also give you the shirt off his back, risk his own life for that of a stranger and knows the meaning of the word integrity. I like him quite a lot.
So, continuing in my rambling vein, here’s why I’m worried about men: I believe that we’ve gone so far to raise women up that we’ve knocked men down. Before you throw tomatoes at me, I am a feminist, in that I care deeply about women’s rights and in some arenas (pay, for one example. I could cite many more) women still have a long way to go. But I care about men, too. I’m not talking about power; men still have it and women are still fighting for it. But from a sociological perspective, men are on the way down. Go to your local Hallmark store and look at the light-hearted cards. Count up how many make men look like buffoons versus how many make women look like buffoons. Check out commercials on TV; it seems to be fashionable to make the women look knowledgable and strong at the expense of their doddering hubbies or love interests. What message does this send to little boys (and girls)? Why does one gender have to lose for the other to win?
So bringing this back to writing. . . . I like that I can create worlds where men and women struggle with life’s challenges together, where I can express both realism and idealism in creating those worlds, and where happy endings are not dependent on someone losing so someone else can win. If only real life could be so simple.


  1. Kathy Holmes on May 24, 2007 at 8:37 am

    I agree – I prefer to see men and women as partners and I think we should all be viewed as humans first – men and women second. Great topic!

  2. Margo on May 24, 2007 at 9:26 am

    Your absolutely right Diane. And that is why I love your writing so much. You are so good at depicting both men and women as equals on a journey and I love the fact that your not afraid to show them connecting through their individual passions and strengths.

  3. Diane Chamberlain on May 24, 2007 at 10:09 am

    I was glad to see your responses this morning, margo and kathy, because i woke up thinking “ack! what did i write last night??” i try to stay away from controversial topics in the blog, and i know this one can incite passion on both sides. but it makes sense that most of my readers would feel as you do or else they wouldn’t like my books.

  4. Margo on May 24, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    No worries Diane…your fans love you and what you write. You mentioned earlier you write best at Starbucks, but I wonder if maybe you do your best writing late at nite, into the wee hours of the morning. Alot of what you blog about is posted late at nite and I bet some of that great novel writing is done at the late hour as well.

  5. Glen on May 24, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Ha – no controversy here Diane! Just a big THANK YOU! As far as your “ack! what did i write last night??”, well, I try not to eat Twinkies and blog. I have been known to say the stupidest things. 🙂 Häagen-Dazs has the same effect!
    Have a great holiday weekend!

  6. Diane Chamberlain on May 24, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Mmmm. . . Haagen-Dazs. Did you have to mention it, Glen? And how did you get that little umlaut over the “a?”
    Margo, i am writing from about 9am till about midnight right now. That’s how it goes as deadline panic sets in. I take breaks for doggies, watering the container gardens, EATING, and chats with John. And I read for an hour after I go to bed. I actually like the focused time because I’m so immersed with my little fictional folks and I think it helps the writing.

  7. Glen on May 24, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    I cheated! Good old copy and paste from their site. I wanted to get it right for you so as not to diminish my manly/cultured/sensitive veneer. Alas, my secret is out!

  8. brenda on May 24, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    I agree with you about controversial subjects-I avoid them in my column. Once, I wrote something about Vietnam War—whew…you don’t know the replies I received…however…as to your men/women…I agree…I have a son and a daughter and respect them equally…however…it seems (As a teacher) I see the males thinking less of themselves and the females thinking more of themselves…the drama is unbelievable…

  9. Diane Chamberlain on May 24, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    >>I wanted to get it right for you so as not to diminish my manly/cultured/sensitive veneer.

  10. Krysia on May 25, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    men/women equally will be there once the late generation x’s take over in full force, haha. who knows, there.
    i tend to write best in a manic state, haha, and i also say stupid things that jepordise my relationships with people. i also never remember any of it which is good for me not for them. i also write listening to linkin park. hmmm
    i like taking jobs that are male dominated, makes those think twice that women are inferior and i think men should do the same.

  11. Diane Chamberlain on May 25, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    krysia, as usual, you’re somethin’ else!

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