A) thank you very much for the kind words.
B) I do think I have been super clear that I think ladies get much too much criticism already, so I may not be the person to ask here, as my initial responses are ‘Why would you?’ and ‘Maybe don’t’ and ‘Why are people so keen to do this?’
… I mean you certainly can criticise fictional ladies, all you want, but it’s just done SO VERY MUCH.
But see, the person you have to check in with isn’t me: the person you have to check in with is *you.* You and I are different people, internet, anonymous peeps of the internet! (We definitely are, I really love Gen from the Queen’s Thief series and think he is a precious thieving queen-lovin’ dollbaby. That guy from 500 Days of Summer was meant to be annoying, I think, though I admit Joseph Gordon Levitt’s face may have distracted people from that important fact. Quite a face.)
So, I think it’s important to ask *yourself* if you’d still dislike this character if said character was a dude.
Because ladies get so much flak, I think it’s important to be careful about what you say: to think about whether you’re adding something new to the conversation or just adding to a Big Pile of Ladyhate.
If you think the author is trivialising or stereotyping as regards her/his female characters, well, hell yes, why not talk about that? But talk about it thoughtfully, and listen to why people might say they love said characters, and again, ask yourself if there are dude characters who are kinda stereotypey who you love nevertheless.
And sure, being annoyed is a legitimate emotion. You can use the word: I can’t tell you what words to use or not use! (Not until the day I am pronounced Queen of Wordlandia, and all the words are given to me to keep in a box, and I shall grant unlimited words to some, but few, O very few words, to others…)
But again: why add to a big pile? Why do things everyone else is doing? If everyone jumped off Bridge Ladyhate, would you jump too?
Basically I do not think I could ever link to this post often enough, and I link to it ALL THE TIME.
You truly can use any words you like. But speaking personally, when I read a female character being described as ‘annoying’ the word is so commonly used it could mean anything to me—it’s a catch-all dismissive term. It conveys no information, and conveying information is what you want words to do. If I see a female character described as ‘annoying’ I tend to dismiss the whole review, because that’s what I do when I see dismissive terms that are used so often they have lost all meaning. It acts as a signal to *me* that this person isn’t thinking about what they’re saying. So—do you want to send out that signal?
So: I can’t tell you what to do, anonymous, but that’s my advice.
Always be in conversation with yourself: make sure you’ve asked yourself some good questions. And observe the world around you, and don’t join the crowd until you’re sure, absolutely one hundred per cent sure within your own soul, that it’s a good idea.
Try to be a questioner, try not to be a joiner, try not to be a jerk.