Can male authors write perfect male characters?

After the recent addition of Marry Date or Dump, a good friend asked me a question that really got me thinking. Are perfect men in literature always written by women? The examples she gave were Peeta, from The Hunger Games, and Mr. Darcy, both of whom appear in books written by female authors.

I brainstormed some other perfect male characters, and the trend continued. Gilbert Blythe, from Anne of Green Gables, was written by a woman. Calvin, from A Wrinkle in Time, was written by a woman (and a Smithie!). Other names on my list including, Char from Ella Enchanted, Almanzo Wilder from the Little House Series, were also both written by females.

What I think pulls these characters together more than being perfect men, is that they are perfect mates. In that way, it makes more sense to me that they are written by ladies.

I did think of including some perfect men from classical literature, but they didn’t fit in with the list because they are more pinnacles of masculinity. I’m thinking Beowulf, Achilles, Hector, some of King Arthur’s knights. I think you can make the argument that these characters are portrayed as perfect, but they are certainly not perfect companions.

I don’t know, what do you think? Is there anyone you would add to my list? Do you have examples of perfect male character written by women? Can you think of any examples of perfect female characters written by either sex?



10 thoughts on “Can male authors write perfect male characters?

  1. Hmm, this is tough. Touchstone from the Abhorsen trilogy comes to mind, written by Garth Nix. Tristan from Stardust, by Neil Gaiman, is another example.

    Of course, it also depends on what your definition of “perfect” is. Are we talking Prince Charming, or like an actual, fully-fleshed out, multi-faceted person?

  2. Ok, did a little research and it turns out most lists agree with you here are my two perfect males written by women ( not previously mentioned) – Atticus Finch and Rhett Butler and my one perfect male written by a male – Aragorn.- all made even more perfect by their movie portrayals.

    1. Atticus fits into my perfect male, but perhaps not perfect mate, category. But I think Rhett is too much of a scoundrel! Great point about the movie portrayals though.

  3. I’m thinking of Arthur Clennam in Dickens’s Little Dorrit as an example of a perfect man written by a man. There’s always Mr. Darcy as an example of the perfect man written by a woman, especially as we realize his pride wasn’t such a serious defect.

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