Comic Talk and General Discussion *

What are the different expectations for female and male audiences? - Quackcast topic!
ozoneocean at 9:25PM, May 20, 2019
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Love to have this as a topic for the next https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/quackcast/


What are the different expectations for female and male audiences?


This almost entirely a culture based thing, it changes depending on where and WHEN you are from as well as your age and expereince… but some obvious things are determined by our physiology: sex sells, but there are slight differences based on gender.

HOWEVER, I'm absolutely not interested in people's theories of genetic predeterminisim or evolutionary psychology.
We don't need the "why", what we need is the "what".

———————————————-
e.g.

In my experience and from my own perspective male audiences like a little more action and active situations, characters doing things and getting things done, plots that move from point to point rather than settling down for an extended scene of chat and emotional development.

For female audiences I can only infer…
I'm currently reading an audio book series that's intended more towards a young adult/teen female audience. The “mortal Devices” series.
There's a lot of “flat, hard stomachs” and “strong, chiselled biceps” mentioned. There's action, but the main focus is on character relationships and emotional reactions- communication that you'd expect to focus mainly in an exchange of information, and maybe a subtle determining of a power relationship based on the relative abilities of the two people instead turns into an emotional contest of manipulation and guilt over who is most righteous.

-That's an interesting sample and probably NOT very representative because it has a specific audience in mind.

Are there more similarities than differences?
Xena is pretty much 80% a power fantasy… like Hercules. When I listened to the neo-nior detective story about he female detective VI Warshawski staring Kathleen Turner I remember thinking it was weird that every handsome guy she met was automatically falling in love with her, till I realised that's EXACTLY what happens in the male versions of that genre.
 
bravo1102 at 2:59AM, May 21, 2019
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In addition to culture based there's a male author telling a female audience what they are supposed to do.

Like the old Hollywood “woman's movie” wher the independent woman realizes there's something missing in her life and finds that it's home and family and a man. And there is always the good guy(steady type( and the bad guy(roguish type) that another “woman's movie ” genre has the woman changing the rogue with true love.

These plotlines still exist in romance novels and Lifetime movies. All geared for women and increasingly created by women.

This storyline has also spread to Asia in Bollywood and shown up in Chinese and Japanese books and movies.
last edited on May 21, 2019 3:03AM
bravo1102 at 9:41AM, May 21, 2019
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According to common interpretations, women prefer stories with more personal interactions. Emotional action with language as opposed to physical action with fists and explosions.

There should be more emphasis on facial expression and gesture as opposed to objectification of body parts.

So to walk the fine line between the two, have an involved from the heart discussion by women in lingerie that ends with one hitting another.

Of course this buys into so many stereotypes is very simplistic and exceptions abound. Audiences ain't that all simplistic no matter how awful their tastes are.
last edited on May 21, 2019 9:47AM
usedbooks at 10:02AM, May 21, 2019
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Thinking about genres that appeal to women vs. men. (Based on movie trailers, my brother's experiences working in a bookstore, my own friends' and family interests, video games, etc.) Historic drama, science fiction, and fast-paced action seem to be geared toward a male audience. The female audience seems to love horror, romance, mystery, true crime. Crime dramas alone attract a varied audience. The police procedural appeals more to men; psychological thrillers to women. Men tend to be more interested in physical and absurd comedy, men and women both like social comedy and wordplay.

Extrapolating and finding the similarities in the popular trends, it seems that men like the more concrete, a focus on action, facts, physical descriptions (as bravo mentioned), while women are generally more drawn to social dynamics, emotion, and character focus.

Granted, individuals are all unique with overlap and exceptions. My dad is crazy for rom-coms but also sci-fi and action. I like most of what he does except the rom-coms and the actioniest action. (I prefer adventure to action. The difference is primarily in cinematography, imo.)

Writing specifically for an audience is a recipe for failure. Write a good story in the way you enjoy. Afterwards, you can experiment with how to advertise and to whom. I remember many years ago but USA (a “man” channel) and Lifetime (a “woman” channel) were playing “The 40 Year Old Virgin.” The trailers/promos on the channels looked like they were for entirely different movies.
last edited on May 21, 2019 10:03AM
BustyLaroo at 11:16AM, May 21, 2019
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This is a fascinating topic to explore, overall.

Something interesting to ask ourselves is:

When we look at what “men” like and what “women” like,genre-wise… how much of our perception is based on actual study and comparison, and how much is based on what is simply MARKETED at each group?

Think about it: What is marketed to girls as “feminine” from a young age, and what is marketed to boys as “masculine” from a young age? It seems to go deeper than mere preference; societal/cultural influences play a huge role. How does this affect their taste in genre as adults? Current evidence would suggest it has a rather large affect. We also know, individually, people are far more complex than simple “Men like action movies and factual crime drama” vs “Women like romances and family movies”
Societal perception of what a man should be and what a woman should be definitely has a major impact on what genre gets marketed to what gender. Like, I often do wonder if men and women buy certain books or watch certain movies and (probably subconsciously) do it because of the “well I'm a man/woman, this is what i should like”.

As a personal example: I get marketed to, as a woman, with many things that I actually have NO interest in. Many types of romances, romcoms, “New York Times Top Ten” novels… bleh. Even cleaning supplies and cosmetic products. Never my favorite type of RPG video games, comics, cartoons, etc

All this to say that there's definitely a disconnect between what marketing companies push at us as “expected” per gender, and what individual peoples' tastes truly are. lol
last edited on May 21, 2019 11:17AM
BustyLaroo at 11:18AM, May 21, 2019
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bravo1102 wrote:
According to common interpretations, women prefer stories with more personal interactions. Emotional action with language as opposed to physical action with fists and explosions.


So to walk the fine line between the two, have an involved from the heart discussion by women in lingerie that ends with one hitting another.


100% would read this. xD
Genejoke at 1:12PM, May 21, 2019
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It's not something I think about to be honest. I make what I want to make and if there's an audience I don't care if it's male of female. I assume as I'm male what I like then maybe it's somewhat geared more to men by default. That said as for what genders like I think it's part societal training and exposure. I know plenty of men whose tastes are more feminine than typically masculine, and no I don't mean gay men, and similarly women who are more into action films and such. It's a shallow stuff for the most part, deep down a good story appeals to most people regardless of what kind of junk they have.
last edited on May 21, 2019 1:13PM
bravo1102 at 2:37AM, May 22, 2019
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BustyLaroo wrote:
bravo1102 wrote:
According to common interpretations, women prefer stories with more personal interactions. Emotional action with language as opposed to physical action with fists and explosions.


So to walk the fine line between the two, have an involved from the heart discussion by women in lingerie that ends with one hitting another.


100% would read this. xD

It's actually a cliche scene from any Hollywood movie featuring women living or working together. The dressing room scene in any number of showbiz movies, the women sharing an apartment in a “woman's movie” the floozies in a gangster film, and your comment proves it still works 🤩😀

I've used it more than once in my comics. 😉
BearinOz at 4:43AM, May 22, 2019
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I know plenty of men whose tastes are more feminine than typically masculine,
and no I don't mean gay men, and similarly women who are more into action films and such. It's a shallow stuff for the most part, deep down a good story appeals to most people regardless of what kind of junk they have.

1: Oy ! Wot U tryin' t'say ??
2: Oh, O.K. don't mean gay men B-)

I have this fondness for plot - silly I know, when I should be happy with just the violence, gore and ‘impressive’ CGI that SO many modern movies try to disguise its lack with. Just not butch enough I guess.

Having said that, I detest most “rom-coms”, but I'm ‘girly’ enough to shed a tear a lot in ‘good’ films (maybe I need my testosterone levels checked !)

I DO love a bit of good action, within a movie I have to keep my brain switched on for, like a good spy or thriller thing.

I love S.F., but it's the story that drives it, not the FX.

..getting back to comics, I've always assumed my Butterfly Effect comic would appeal more to females, being centred around an intersex character who predominantly identifies as female, her ‘bi’ sister and lesbian girlfriend. The central male character is the “1st person” to carry the story / be the boyfriend (and is a surrogate “me” to re-live my old surfing life B-) ) and there's no real violence to speak of - for me the big X-rater, not sex !

I have no real basis or proof for this though, especially with a dearth of comments over its ‘run’ to gauge any m/f balance.
 
Genejoke at 4:51AM, May 22, 2019
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Haha pretty much nailed it right there. I think that a good story with relatable characters will appeal to most people once they get past the window dressing. Take farscape for example, there's lot of great sci fi, character work and God knows what else but most people can't get past the Muppets in space window dressing.
BearinOz at 5:00AM, May 22, 2019
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Take farscape for example, there's lot of great sci fi, character work and God knows what else but most people can't get past the Muppets in space window dressing.
OMG - I'd totally forgotten about that - I actually loved that, back in the day B-)
 
bravo1102 at 5:18AM, May 22, 2019
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Genejoke wrote:
Haha pretty much nailed it right there. I think that a good story with relatable characters will appeal to most people once they get past the window dressing. Take farscape for example, there's lot of great sci fi, character work and God knows what else but most people can't get past the Muppets in space window dressing.

Replace “muppets” with action figures and that's my whole webcomic career.

Or so I'm told.

Though no where near as great as Farscape I have had my moments.

Many current movies have gone WAY overboard with violence. I like a well done sequence but honestly some goes past all sense and I scream “stop aleady!” Go to the bathroom knowing I really won't miss anything necessary to the story.
Genejoke at 1:24AM, May 23, 2019
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Oh definitely. Actions fine and all but if it doesn't have plot relevance or dramatic weight it needs to be kept very short.
El Cid at 3:50PM, May 23, 2019
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I think there's a lot of overlap with men and women; they enjoy a lot of the same things, but they get different things out of it. Like, when a man watches Maximus the gladiator defy death in the arena, he's probably identifying with Maximus and imagining himself performing those heroic feats of combat. When a woman watches the same thing, she's more likely to appreciate it as a spectator and feel sympathetic concern for Maximus' plight. Women love stories with lots of interpersonal interaction and conflict, because their verbal and interpersonal skills tend to be more developed than men's. So they'll get more out of for instance a love interest aspect to a story than most men. However, men tend to be objective-driven, and so a love interest is a motivation they can appreciate and follow. So men and women mostly enjoy the same things, just in different ways for different reasons.

If your story lacks interpersonal dimensions, you'll likely lose your female audience first, because they're less engaged by it, but eventually your male audience will notice as well. On the other hand, if your story is mostly drama without a clear focus, male readers will likely be the first to grumble about it, but your female audience will also get frustrated if the imbalance becomes too pronounced.
ozoneocean at 3:08AM, May 26, 2019
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Miami Vice. Quintessential 1980s cop show featuring car chases, Ferraris, strippers, prostitutes, guns, and a MASSIVE kill count.
- it seems now in 2019 women are the main audience.

They want that sweet Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas.

I know this because the ads that NBC attaches to the show are all for women: endometriosis pain, skin moisturiser, period pain, health food for kids, health insurance (getting on their brother's or husband's plan if they're serving with the military) etc.
Interesting.
 
last edited on May 26, 2019 3:09AM
bravo1102 at 5:41AM, May 26, 2019
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ozoneocean wrote:
Miami Vice. Quintessential 1980s cop show featuring car chases, Ferraris, strippers, prostitutes, guns, and a MASSIVE kill count.
- it seems now in 2019 women are the main audience.

They want that sweet Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas.

I know this because the ads that NBC attaches to the show are all for women: endometriosis pain, skin moisturiser, period pain, health food for kids, health insurance (getting on their brother's or husband's plan if they're serving with the military) etc.
Interesting.
To quote a 1980's ad: “Strong enough for a man, but ladies like it too”

Miami Vice has a lot to appeal for women. Crockett and Tubbs were quite studly as well as being very well dressed on the cutting edge of fashion. The usual wisdom is that female audiences go for good fashionable costuming and decor. Which Miami Vice had in abundance. Crime shows knew how to appeal to all types of audience mixes.

I think UB remarked on that above.
usedbooks at 6:20AM, May 26, 2019
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I think something a lot of movies/shows get WRONG especially in more recent times is trying to appeal to a demographic by just adding someone from that demographic to the cast. It's not a bad thing to have a diverse cast, especially for young audiences who are looking for someone “like themselves” to relate to. But that doesn't automatically draw that type of audience (even if the character(s) is a dynamic and well-written character, not a token).

The elements of the movie have a lot more to do with who it appeals too (at least when it comes to advertising and draw) much more than the composite of the cast. (Except when it comes to the hyper-aggressive, easily offended misguided SJW/MRA/Whathaveyous, who won't be “appealed to” only “enraged by” and thrive on the superficial.) The movie trailer or show preview sets the target demographic more than anything.

A good product will be universal and a solid work regardless of who is watching it. Like El Cid mentioned, if it's not universally appealing, you'll eventually lose the entire audience; it's just a question of whom you lose first.
ozoneocean at 9:09PM, May 26, 2019
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I disagree with the idea that a “good” product needs to be universal. There are plenty of great entertainment products (in all forms) that are geared more to one demographic: kids, African Americans, straight white young males (more than enough XD), middle class women, working class rednecks, etc.

I heartily support that sort of thing. When we look back at older media and consider the intended audience it can tell us a lot about how that audience thought and what they liked: Stuff from 10 years ago, 30, 80, 200, or 2000!

And often the audiences for those things totally changes over time- like Miami Vice, which would have been reasonably universal but with a WASP bias towards men. There's a lot of “male gaze” in there…
Or anything else: Wonder Woman comics and Xena, the My Little Pony reboot - the gender demographic changed (I'm pretty sure Xena was intended as a more exploitative character originally) - Powerpuf Girls went from a self aware ironic young adult thing to a twee children's cartoon, which follows the example of things like The Flintstones and the Jetsons (originally meant for older audiences), and many comics switched from having a young, white male focus to be more universal and inclusive- which applies retroactively when the new audience looks back at the older stuff.
 
usedbooks at 9:16PM, May 26, 2019
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Fair enough. But the BEST products are universal. ;)

Especially “children's” TV/movies because parents have to sit through them. And “date” movies because it's mean to make the date suffer to appease his/her SO. There should at least be something worthwhile. And, honestly, the human condition is universal. A good story will tap into something that is profoundly human and not a demographic.
ozoneocean at 9:34PM, May 26, 2019
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Depends on how you define “best” XD
But if you like it then it's good.
I think that if something is made well enough and “relatable enough to the human condition” it can have more of a universal appeal in spite of being intended for a specific demographic.
-So having a demographic in mind doesn't necessarily harm universal appeal.
 
bravo1102 at 1:12AM, May 27, 2019
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“Targeted audience with universal appeal” so the makers would target the specific demographic but the product would still please a broad audience. There would be something for everyone but with a specific target. Indiana Jones fits this. It's target in the young Male but it has a broad appeal.

But this is different from family films because their target was “something for everyone ” A subplot or supporting character would be worked in for every member of the family. This describes Disney films. There were a lot of failures in there where they didn't hit the whole family before you got to something like Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.

Just some observations from someone reading books on silent and studio Hollywood. Look at the studio system, they really knew their packaging and marketing.

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