Do I have to have a Male Protagonist?

by Tanu
(India)

Question: I am writing a fiction novel about two girls. The story revolves around these two girls and its definitely not a love-theme plot. Its more of a rape-revange story. So do I have to include a male protagonist? If there is no male protagonist will it be accepted for publishing?


Answer: I don't know what's conventional in India, but in the rest of the English speaking world, the answer is definitely that protagonists can be any gender, with female protagonists actually being the most common.

For example, over half of all novels published are romances, and almost all romances are written for female readers and have female protagonists. That puts women protagonists in the majority, especially if you consider that female protagonists are also found in most other genres.

It is true that in non-romance genres male protagonists are in the majority, on the grounds that males tend to prefer books with male protagonists whereas females will accept protagonists of either gender, so long as they can relate to the character's predicament. (This is also true in popular film.)

However, I suspect some of this is changing. Consider, for example that women read more novels than men do (men on average preferring nonfiction), which means that most readers would be quite receptive to female protagonists.

If you scout around, you'll find plenty of female protagonists in both adult and children's novels, both classic and contemporary. Here's just a few off the top of my head...

Anne of Green Gables
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Harriet the Spy
Jane Eyre
A Wrinkle in Time
Anna Karenina
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Little Women
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Hunger Games
The Fault in Our Stars
Bridget Jones Diary
The Edible Woman


(And thousands more.)

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