Celebrities like Kurtis Conner, Harry Styles, Timothée Chalamet, Hozier, and Bo Burnham have been described as “written by a woman” for embodying basic human decency.
Credit: mashable composite / getty images
The phrase “written by a woman” erupted on TikTok earlier this summer to describe men who were respectful, kind, and unafraid of femininity.
In contrast, the phrase “written by a man” gained traction to describe female characters written through the male gaze. Male authors have been accused of writing women as one-dimensional beings with little development compared to their male counterparts. Women written by men are also infamous for being described in vivid, unnecessary detail.
Discussions about men written by women and women written by men have been brewing on TikTok for months, inspiring a meme in which users transcended the gender dichotomy.
On TikTok, the tag #menwrittenbywomen has 20.2 million views, and #writtenbymen has racked up 45.4 million. The trends are opening up larger conversations about the unrealistic and inaccurate way female characters are written, which has been a decades-long discussion online.
The most recent iteration of the debate started on BookTok, a limitless online book club of readers and authors who use the app to promote novels, discuss new reads, and fantasize about fictional men. To many on BookTok, male love interests written by female authors represent the ideal of a man for women — they’re eloquent, multi-faceted, and even if flawed, they’re willing to see the error of their ways to ultimately compromise. Men written by women, as described by BookTok creators, don’t have to be heroes, but they do have rich storylines.
Think characters like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice or Outlander‘s Jamie Fraser, who are often mentioned in TikTok videos by users fantasizing about men written by women. These love interests aren’t the center of the stories they exist in, but unlike the bulk of female love interests written by men, they have their own motives and traits outside of the protagonists’ own development. They aren’t necessarily effeminate, but their masculinity isn’t rooted in toxic standards.
In one of the earlier examples of this trend from March, TikTok user merhiddlesbatch joked that she hated men, but still adored men written by women. She used photos of Mr. Darcy, Laurie Laurence from Little Women, and the Hot Priest from Fleabag — all fictional men who played a love interest in stories by female writers — to prove her point.
Fictional men just hit different.
Credit: tiktok / merhiddlesbatch
The Hot Priest from Fleabag is a prime example of a man written by a woman.
Credit: Tiktok / merhiddlesbatch
Male authors, however, are notorious for their lackluster attempts at writing women, and often considered to be woefully out of touch with women entirely.
As TikTok users gushed about men written by women, other creators made fun of the way men continue to write women. And in late July, TikTok users began mocking the sexualized, unrealistic portrayals of women in pop culture by acting out tropes like sneaking out of a one-night stand’s bed, sleeping in a full face of makeup and lingerie, and discovering feminism.
The scenarios range from the mundane to dramatic, but each TikTok user’s skit skewers the way so many female characters are written in movies, TV shows, video games, and books. Creator zhannared, acting as a woman written by a man just having breakfast, seductively danced around her kitchen as she mixed pancake batter. YouTuber xowiejones, portraying herself as a “woman taking a bubble bath written by a man,” posed in the tub with a full face of makeup, carefully placed foam, and dozens of candles. Game developer and streamer Morgan Ling placed bowls on her chest to parody the gravity-defying, revealing outfits that female video game characters wear to fight.
Female game characters are infamous for wearing revealing, impractical costumes.
Credit: tiktok / riotmormori
Ling parodied female characters written by men with this ingenious outfit.
Credit: tiktok / riotmormori
“It’s a pretty common meme that women in some games [are] wearing basically a bra and panty set versus their fully covered male counterpart,” Ling said in an Instagram DM. “When you mainly sexualize female characters and don’t have diversity (body shape, race, etc.) women can feel like they don’t have representation and often feel objectified.”
As a woman who works in the male-dominated games industry, Ling is hyperaware of the way games tend to cater to men. While she noted that games are starting portray female characters more realistically, it’s a “hard truth” that female characters exist for their sex appeal.
On the other hand, men written by men are often crafted with rich backgrounds, complex motives, and unique character development arcs, bolstered with nuance and personality that female characters aren’t. Take the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has long overlooked its female characters unless they’re paired up with a man for a last-minute romantic subplot, inciting criticism for the franchise’s paltry attempts at representation.
Women written by men, on the other hand, have plagued literature and beyond through human history.
From the earliest forms of storytelling to the novels lining modern bookshelves, female characters are seen as overwhelmingly one-dimensional compared to their male counterparts. Jonathan Franzen, an award-winning novelist hailed as his generation’s greatest writer, described one of the main female characters in his 2010 book, Freedom, as “notably larger than everybody else, also less unusual, also measurably dumber.” Freedom received critical acclaim, but also sparked backlash over how quickly the literary world fawns over white male writers.
“By default, women have it easier than men when they attempt to craft characters of the opposite sex,” Koslow said. “Because our whole lives we’ve been reading vast amounts of literature written by men.”
When male authors do write female characters — even in rare, otherwise well-written examples of female characters, like the ones in Stephen King’s novels — their focus on describing a woman’s appearance is often bizarrely detailed and uncomfortable.
The subreddit r/menwritingwomen, where Reddit users share excerpts of biologically impossible sex scenes and ridiculous descriptions of female characters, was formed in 2017 and grew to a community of 486,000 readers fed up with ridiculous descriptions of women’s bodies. Users frequently criticizes King for his fixation on breasts.
Describing women’s bodies in excruciating detail — regardless of relevance to plot — is so universal, it inspired a 2018 Twitter meme.
That’s not to say that men are incapable of writing women entirely, or that women don’t write flat, over-sexualized male characters. As the Hairpin noted in a 2013 essay, “it’s not impossible to find good female characters in male writers’ books…it’s just harder than it should be.”
The phrase “written by a woman” was particularly popular on anime TikTok, where users spotlighted beloved shows like Fullmetal Alchemist and Black Butler as examples of well-rounded male characters who were created by female artists.
But the phrase received a fresh wave of criticism when TikTok users began using it to describe male characters who were not written by women, as well as real-life celebrities.
In a video captioned, “men I think were written by women,” TikTok user madelyn.mp4 listed popular creators like Bo Burnham, Kurtis Conner, and Markiplier as men written by women. Another video tagged #menwrittenbywomen, posted by kcrowley48, described Harry Styles, Timothée Chalamet, and Hozier. TikTok user brittanyleighball captioned a video of her boyfriend serving her breakfast in bed with, “My guy was definitely ‘written by a woman,” adding that she “truly hit the jackpot.”
They’re not written by women just because you think they’re hot.
If anything, the trend proves that online culture continues to idealize white men. Having a large female fanbase doesn’t mean men are infallible, and as predominantly straight white men, these “men written by women” are likely to have had some problematic takes on racism, misogyny, and sexuality. Burnham even addressed his past comedy routines — and the painfully low bar set for white men — in his latest special.
“They’re not written by women just because you think they’re hot,” TikTok user conniedont said in an exasperated TikTok in June. Responding to a comment noting that the phrase describes what women find attractive, conniedont added, “I’m talking about the term ‘written by women’ when applied to real life men. I think it’s a dangerous thing to put them on pedestals.”
Tabea Bussmann, a photographer who went viral for her cinematic portrayals of women written by men, doesn’t think fictional men and women are actually as black and white as the trends joke they are. Still, she likes that the trend forces some reality on impressionable young viewers.
“This is just a stereotype to make fun of,” Bussmann told Mashable in an Instagram DM. “It’s also important to show young women that you don’t have to behave like this.”
Regardless of who’s writing whom, if you’re writing a character of a different gender than yours, it’s probably just best practice to try interacting with someone of that gender in real life first.
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TikTok Expands Creator Tipping and Video Gifts, Providing More Monetization and Marketing Options
TikTok continues to expand its creator monetization tools with the addition of video tipping and virtual gifts for regular uploads, in addition to live-streams in the app.
To be clear, live tipping and digital gifts have been available for selected live-stream creators via its Creator Next program since last year. This new expansion brings the same functionality to regular TikTok videos, which will add another way for users to generate direct income from their TikTok videos.
As you can see in these screenshots, shared by social media expert Matt Navarra (via Dan Schenker), to be eligible for the new Creator Next program, users will need to have at least 1,000 followers, and will need to have generated more than 1,000 video views in the previous 30 days.
Though TikTok does note that these requirements vary by region – TechCrunch has reported that creators need to have at least 100k followers to qualify in some cases.
As explained by TikTok:
“The new Tips feature allows people to directly show gratitude to creators for their content, much like recognizing exceptional service or giving a standing ovation. As is standard for tipping in person, with Tips creators will receive 100% of the tip value.”
Tip payments will be processed by Stripe, with creators required to sign up to manage their earnings in the app.
“With Video Gifts, also available today, creators can now collect Diamonds not only by going LIVE but also by posting videos. This also gives people an all-new way to interact and engage with content they love.”
That will provide expanded capacity to generate real money from posting, without having to go live, which will open new doors to many TikTok creators.
In addition to this, TikTok’s also lowering the threshold for those who can list their profiles in its Creator Marketplace brand collaboration platform, which enables businesses to find TikTok influencers to partner with on in-app campaigns.
Up till now, creators have required 100k followers to qualify for these listings, but now, TikTok is reducing that number to 10k, which will further expand available opportunities for both users and brands.
That could make it much easier to find relevant creators to partner with, in a lot more niches, which will add more considerations into your TikTok posting and engagement process.
As noted, these are the latest in TikTok’s broader efforts to provide comparable monetization opportunities, in order to keep its top stars posting to the platform, as opposed to drifting off to YouTube or Instagram instead, which have more established monetization systems.
The advantage that other apps have in this respect is that longer videos can include pre-roll and mid-roll ads, facilitating direct monetization, which TikTok can’t utilize given the shorter nature of its clips. As such, it needs to look to alternate funding methods, which will also include eCommerce listings, with direct product displays now the primary source of income for the Chinese version of the app.
The platform’s continued growth facilitates even more opportunities in this respect, with more brands looking to tap into the various opportunities of the platform, and partner with creators to maximize their presence.
How popular, and valuable, direct tipping and gifting can be is more variable, as some dedicated fan bases will pay, while others will see no reason to donate for what they can already access for free.
But even so, it adds more opportunity, and the lower thresholds for monetization will see many more opportunities across the board in the app.
Shorter Videos Are In Demand. Here’s How Different Social Media Platforms Are Reacting.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
With TikTok and Instagram Reels slowly conquering social media marketing, there’s no mistake: Short videos are in demand.
The average length for most, if not all, business videos is only six minutes long. And that number is set to decrease as consumers look for shorter videos.
With that in mind, why are short videos in demand? What platforms are implementing short-form videos the best? And most importantly, how can they benefit your business?
TikTok – Changing consumerism, one video at a time
Where shorter videos are concerned, TikTok has always led the industry. What started as a merger with Musical.ly quickly became one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms. And what made it so famous? The same concept that made Vine viral short videos.
TikTok has over 1 billion active users, twice as many as Snapchat and Pinterest. For reference, Twitter only has 397 million users. With such a massive user-base, the only thing keeping the platform alive are the 15-second-long videos.
But why are short videos so popular? Simple – people don’t have time on their hands. When they open apps like TikTok and Instagram, they’re more likely to spend time watching shorter videos. And businesses are already catching up.
The impact of Instagram Reels
With the invention of Stories by Snapchat, other platforms like Instagram caught up on short videos. Instagram Reels presents adults and young users with a more straightforward way to tell others about their day. It employs quick photos and videos that are only available for 24 hours instead of being permanently posted. Now engagement is encouraged, especially after Instagram included the “Swipe” option. This has allowed e-commerce sites to both advertise their products and make instant messaging easier.
Youtube has joined the bandwagon
While YouTube is more or less a platform for long-form videos, its recent update offers shorter vertical videos. Known as YouTube Shorts, the feature allows creators to engage with their audience in under 60 seconds.
But YouTube has another trick up its sleeve, and this one is mainly towards advertisers. It is “YouTube TrueView” and is the primary advertising technology for YouTube. Through this, advertisers can promote long or short videos, with some being skippable after five seconds.
However, since most people are unlikely to click on longer ads, YouTube now offers 6-second non-skippable ads. The clickthrough rate for shorter 15 and 30-second ads is around 70%, a whopping number for any business.
It’s time to say goodbye to IGTV
With Instagram’s IGTV coming off as less captivating than its Reels and video posts, it has decided to remove IGTV. Instead, it has a separate section for videos. These videos will appear on a person’s profile and can be viewed from the Instagram app.
The change they made here is that videos posted to the Instagram feed can be up to 60 minutes long. The exact reason for doing this is not confirmed. But it seems like Instagram wants a seamless platform where short and long videos co-exist.
This makes long videos more accessible to users using the Instagram app. And it helps promote video tutorials that people typically do not consume on social media apps.
Another significant change is that Instagram videos that are longer can be monetized, a feature not available on Reels. This significantly shifts the focus towards creators who don’t sell a service and want to gain cash through Instagram.
Does this mean long-form videos are out of the picture?
With short-form videos becoming more popular among consumers, will long-form videos die out? While it’s highly recommended for any business to create videos as short as possible, the answer isn’t that black and white.
While short-form videos will drive traffic from new users, long-form videos are better for brand loyalty. Shorter videos will get more engagement and show up on new users’ feeds. But longer videos will be the backbone of your business.
Of course, that depends on what service you’re offering. Ecommerce companies will want to direct their attention towards short-form videos and ads. However, long-form videos are better suited for when you want to go in-depth about product details. That is, of course, only after you’ve grabbed the user’s attention with a short-form video.
Companies that offer webinars will benefit from longer videos. And so will companies that post interviews. However, promos and how-to videos should remain under a minute or two, depending on how long the tutorial needs to be.
Essentially, ask yourself two questions:
- First, can the video content be summarized in a short-form video?
- Do you want to merely catch the attention of the consumer or develop brand loyalty?
The correct formula is neither short nor long, but a mix of both.
What this all means for an entrepreneur
Short-form videos hold substantial market value, especially for new businesses. Take the example of the Dollar Shave Club. What started as a viral video on YouTube grew to become a behemoth of a brand.
And that’s not where the examples end. There are countless success stories like this one that prove the value of short videos.
Short videos have a higher clickthrough rate, and for entrepreneurs, that’s all you need. Short videos are of particular interest to people with ecommerce businesses. For example, 84% of people say they are more compelled to buy a product by watching a video. And the statistics keep on showing a friendlier short-video market.
There is no doubt that short-form videos are gradually creeping up the graph. And while long-form videos are great for information and brand loyalty, shorter videos are better for PR.
This begs one last question: Are videos beneficial for you? The answer is – yes!
How to Make a TikTok Video: Beginners Start Here
And with 1 billion monthly active users, it’s time to join the action and get your brand out there to a wider audience!
Want to learn how to make a TikTok Video but don’t know where to start? Don’t sweat it! We broke down all the steps and tools you’ll need to make a viral-worthy first video and make sure your debut is anything but cringe.
Download the full Social Trends report to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to prioritize and plan your social strategy in 2022.
How to create a TikTok account
First things first, you’ll need to create a TikTok account.
There are different ways to sign up for one: you can use your phone number, email address or social media account. Here’s how to do it using your phone number.
1. Download TikTok from Google Play or the App Store.
2. Open the TikTok App on your iPhone or Android.
3. Click the “Me” or “Profile” icon at the bottom-right of your screen.
4. Choose a method to sign up (we’re choosing “use phone or email”)
5. Enter your birth date and phone number (make sure this is accurate because it’s how you’ll retrieve passwords and confirm your account).
6. Enter the 6-digit code sent to that phone number (see, told ya!)
7. You did it! Celebrate by scrolling TikTok for too many hours.
How to make a TikTok video
Here’s how to get started on your very first TikTok video. Luckily for you, it’s way easier than learning this TikTok Shuffle dance.
1. Hit the + sign at the bottom of your screen.
2. You can upload photos and videos from your phone’s library or make a video directly using the TikTok camera.
3. If recording directly, hit the Record button at the bottom of the screen. Hit it again when you’re done recording. The default video mode is “Quick” which is for 15 second videos but you can switch it to “Camera” for more editing options and longer videos (15s, 60s and 3 mins), or “Templates” to create a specific style of video.
4. Tap the check mark when you’re done shooting all your footage.
5. Make any edits or changes on the post page. All your edits are on the right sidebar of the screen. Also, add music or sounds by hitting “Add sound” at the top of the screen.
6. Post that video and share it everywhere! Make sure to include a description with some hashtags so it finds its way to your audience.
How to make a TikTok with multiple videos
Instead of taking one long video, why not capture shorter videos and edit them together to make your TikTok video? Here’s how to do that (and you don’t need a film degree).
1. Hit that “+” sign to start your video
2. You can either shoot multiple videos directly by hitting that record button after each clip, building up your video with different shots. Or, you can hit the “Upload” button next to the record button and add multiple videos and photos you have stored on your phone.
3. Select all your media and tap Next.
4. You can now sync sound across your videos and make adjustments (or try “Auto sync” which will do the syncing up for you.)
5. Hit Next when done. You’ll be brought to a preview screen where you can further add sounds, more effects, text, and stickers.
6. Tap Next when you’re done editing your video and proceed to the Post screen.
7. Remember to throw in a description and some hashtags and bingo-bango-bongo you’re the Steven Spielberg of TikTok!
5 things to know before creating your first TikTok
TikTok style is less polished than other types of video
Don’t worry about being too precious with your videos. On TikTok, videos are meant to be candid, and natural—and they should show off your personality. Things like perfect edits, smooth transitions or flawless lighting shouldn’t get in the way of your idea and your own charisma.
Sure, there are lots of editing options, effects and filters to choose from (what the heck is the difference between B3 and G4 filters anyways?) but the real star is you —or, at least all 6 of these friends belting out Lady Gaga for the #caughtinabadromance challenge at this bachelorette. If that’s not candid, I don’t know what is.
You don’t have to dance
Good news! You don’t have to spend 2 hours trying to perfect the LaLisa dance tutorial to make sure your video stands out (unless you want to, then no judgment over here!).
There are so many different ways to engage your followers that don’t involve you popping and locking in your living room in front of a ring light (but again, no judgement if you do, except maybe from your pet and their adorable judging eyes).
You also don’t have to attempt whatever this is.
Hashtags can help more people see your post
It’s no secret a good hashtag can go a long way on TikTok. Strategic use of hashtags will help people find your videos who don’t already follow you, and maybe even see it on their For You Page (FYP).
The right song can go a long way
Attaching a trending song to your video or audio from a popular TikTok video can help it get seen by more people. This app has a big music following (lots of new songs are intentionally promoted through the app to help them climb the music charts) so lassoing your video to one of these shooting stars is only going to help you get on more FYP and in front of new audiences.
Your greatest asset is you
Don’t overthink it, just come up with a simple idea and let your personality shine through. The sense of intimacy and community that TikTok brings is why people love this app—it feels personal.
Even if you’re doing a TikTok challenge or trend that’s popular, the thing that will make you stand out is your unique take on it. It’s not about gimmicks but about putting your best self out there. Nothing should feel too staged or self-aware (that’s cringe territory). Pretend your audience are your good friends and approach it with that energy!
@janikon_No, I can’t re-record this, I’m laughing too hard #fyp♬ original sound – Stu (he/him)
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