Challenging Gender Roles: A Writing Competition

by , Friday February 16, 2018
Challenging Gender Roles: A Writing Competition

Write something a little different

We've launched a writing competition to challenge the gender roles that make modern plotlines so blasé


In the fiction and fanfiction of today, even in stories of old, characters and their identities are often written in stone, and don't change. A favorite fandom and tv scifi series here on Movellas (and most other places with access to good telvision;) is Doctor Who and we have loved writing and reading stories on this subject since the beginning... 


Part of the reason we like watching Doctor Who is because it is a television show that challenges "the norm" as we know it, and for those who keep up with the series on tv, you know how the Doctor continually reinvents himself every few years into a different, entirely new character, complete with a totally different persona. To date, there have been thirteen doctors give or take, and while this manifestation remains the Doctor Who character, each one has been different in their own ways from who came before them.


This time, the 13th Doctor Who character experienced its most radical change in over half a century. Assuming the role is Jodie Whitaker, the first ever female "time lord." You might assume this would cause some commotion in the Whoniverse, but the reviews have been mixed and the way this new character was received begs a question we all might ponder as writers - does a character have to be decidely male or female? And furthermore, can you change the gender of a character and retain the same identity? If Doctor Who can serve as an example, the answer is a resounding yes.


Characters can be either gender, and one character that is decidedly male for however long can also change and adapt in becoming a character that is decidely fermale; this only serves to mix up the writing and style of a plot and stories that challenge the norms we have about gender make for far more interesting reading. 


As movellian Squonk Of The Nightshade said (from his blog) in inspiring this competition:

Whatever your views on the regeneration, it opens intriguing possibilities for writers. Will the Doctors emotions change? Will his moral standing move? As writers we’re used to thinking and writing outside the box. Our imagination is a expansive as the Tardis is vast. I’m sure a lot of us have already thought about the situations and adventures that a female time lord may adapt to better than her previous incarnations.


What about other fandoms? Could we have a Spidergirl or an Iron Woman? To be fair comics have constantly come up with female variations of their characters. To be fair most of them were so they could put a girl in a tight costume to sell magazines to adolescent males, but at least we had variation.


Now we're hoping to challenge the roles that limit stories within the paradigms of gender. We want all of you to come up with your own story - be it fanfiction or fiction - that challenges the notion by including what we'll call "alternative gender characters." Remember, the theme of the competition is to create characters that defy these roles and surprise the readers. Your entry could be a story about the new Doctor Who, it could be a male Doctor Who teaming up with the female Doctor Who... or a male Wonder Woman even?  ...A female Sherlock? To quote our encouraging counterpart Squonk, "The opportunities are as endless as your imagination..."



How to Participate

To take part in the competition, choose one of the categories below. If you're writing, your entry can be a fanfiction, regular story, poem, oneshot, etc. The categories are: 


Write a story with alternative gender characters.

We're wondering what would happen if your male protagonist was in fact searching for his "princess charming," if the hero of your story was in truth a female supervillian! As there are not simply two genders, stories can of course include transgender, gender nuetral, or any form of gender identity that best suits your character(s).


Write a Doctor Who fanfiction. 

Squonk of the Nightshade mentioned some wickedly good examples of a Doctor Who fanfic that would challenge gender roles in all the right ways. As the new Doctor is in fact female, we'd also love to see some fanfiction exploring the new character.


Create a cover, fanart, or trailer inspired by the theme. 

Not much for writing? You can still enter this competition by designing a cover that challenges gender roles (take the banner for this competition as inspiration;), creating Doctor Who fanart, or even putting together a trailer instead. On Movellas we have a "best visual prize" in every competition so we can see the creative kinds of entries inspired by the theme.




Winning entries will be shared on our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr)


Best Story will receive a hardcover copy of Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard, or a $20 Amazon gift card.


Best Fanfiction will receive a hardcover copy of Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, or a $20 Amazon gift card!


Best Cover/Fanart/Trailer will receive an awesome Doctor Who Coloring Book, or a $15 Amazon gift card.



Good luck to all the writers who plan on challenging the gender roles in joining the competition! The readers (including us:) are excited to read your stories, so let it begin... 




Open globally

Multiple entries allowed (maximum - 3)

You may not update your entry/movella once the competition deadline has passed.

You may not use the same movella in future competitions.

You may not use a movella that has already been published in other competitions.

Check out the Competition FAQs for more..
NOTE: Covers must use resources licensed under CC0, or Public Domain. If you’re creating something that will be listed as a fan work, then you may use resources relating to your chosen fan-base (or combination of fan-bases), but it must be listed as fanfiction when you release it on Movellas.


Thank you to Squonk of the Nightshade for helping create this competition & Adison for designing the banner!


The competition ends Friday, April 13 2018 (20:00 PST)

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Important dates

Start date
Friday February 16, 2018
End date
Friday April 13, 2018