Before I begin: I am not saying that there is no need for more strong, competent female lead characters in any genre, so please do not comment as if I am.

Am I the only female who has never, from childhood on, had any trouble identifying with male lead characters? (Surely not!) I read books, watched TV and movies, with both girls and boys, women and men, as main characters, and whether or not I identified with the character never had anything to do with their gender, but rather with whether the character resonated with me. I was never Tom Sawyer, but neither was I Becky Thatcher; I was, however, Huck Finn. I was Jo in Little Women and the sequels where she is grown up and married to the Professor, but I was never Rose in Eight Cousins; rather, I was kind of a combination of Phebe (the maid) and Cousin Mac. I was Dale in the Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Show, but I was never Annie in the Annie Oakley program. I identified with Zorro but never with Wonder Woman. I’m more Mickey than Minnie, and back in the old Mickey Mouse Club, I felt much more part of the boys on “Spin & Marty” than like Annette in her series.

When The Golden Girls came along, I didn’t identify with any of them, but I picked Sophia as my role model for aging–and I think I’m getting there! I felt more like Magnum, too, than like Jessica Fletcher. On NCIS I identify most with Ducky, and also McGee’s grandmother Penelope when she’s around; but on NCIS: LA I’m definitely Hetty. On Bones I identify most with a couple of the male interns, and not at all with any of the female characters.

I don’t experience my gender as nearly as essential to who I am as I do many other characteristics. So it’s the character of the character, so to speak, and not the gender, that I identify with.  Unless it’s a component of the plot, I don’t really think of the characters as “male” or “female” but as themselves. I’m not oblivious to the societal/cultural gender aspects as they show up, but those have nothing to do with my identification.

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