Monday, May 24, 2010

Workplace Bully: Should the characters be male or female?

When over 25% of the people who are commenting on Workplace Bully bring up the same point, it's time to pay attention. In my pitch, I said that the Bully is male and the Target of his bullying is female. A lot of you have expressed surprise, curiousity or even concern about that, so this post is for you to share your thoughts and perhaps even discuss it among yourselves.

First off, here are my thoughts about why I pitched it the way I did:

1. I have some actors in mind for the roles.
2. My instincts are telling me that the second half of the story, where the Target fights back against the Bully, just plays better if the Target's a woman.
3. I know how to write this if it's a male Bully and a female Target. Not so sure about the other way round; I don't have an instinctive feel for what that female Bully would be like yet (more research required).

Against that, there's a couple of points that have come through strongly:

1. A couple of people have mentioned that they've been bullied by women (I certainly have), and there's an impression from that that middle-aged women bullies are quite common in the business world.
2. Making the Bully a woman removes the undertones of sexual predatoriness (?) and physical intimidation that a man would bring to the role.

So there's a starting point if you'd like to discuss it. If necessary, I'll moderate this - but I figure it should be really interesting to hear each other's ideas. Now! Off to answer some of the questions raised in previous comments, and do some research on this story.
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