I don't read a lot of male authors. I'd love to say this is solely because my preferred genres have more women authors than men, but that's not entirely accurate. In fact, I've recently realized something.
I don't trust men to write good women characters.
I don't. And that's sad and it worries me.
I've noticed that I'll be checking through books at Goodreads and I'll find one that sounds/looks interesting. Then I'll see it's about a woman (yay!) and…the author's a man? Usually I'd click away almost immediately.
Too many times I've experienced men writing women and it feels like voyeurism, almost like exploitation. (Sometimes she's the main character, other times not.) It seems like some men forget that writing women is just like writing men - they're characters first and their gender is second to that. (Or maybe third or fourth.)
I've read books - sadly, usually in the fantasy genre - where it seems like the woman character's whole character is simply being a woman. An object of desire and fantasy, more often than not.
That's not to say I've not read some wonderful male authored stories with women as the focus. I will always and forever recommend Jim C. Hines Princess series for a story about strong, human, women that is handled in a good, decent manner.
I have been trying to get better at giving these men that write about women a go - and I actually have been, gradually - but I wish I'd never fallen into a place that it feels like the exception rather than the rule that men can write great women character.
It's interesting to note, I've never had a problem reading books by women about men.
I'd love to hear about your experiences with this - and even what you think about one gender writing about the opposite.