The Simple Explanation: Tyler Perry can’t write women

Tyler Perry is weathering backlash from the latest trailer for his latest upcoming film project ‘Fall from Grace’. Criticism and controversy ring through the air. I would like to explain why.

I have not watched said trailer myself, for a few good reasons. The first is that one of the criticisms leveled against Mr Perry is true — his movies suck. 


Okay, that was a cheap shot. Let me be fairer. 


The criticism against ‘Fall from Grace’ trailer is that it is another movie about a black woman who gets physically or psychologically abused, mistreated, cries, then has a bit more crap piled onto her. Another one. 


This has led some to call Perry out for being kind of limited and repetitive with his female characters. It’s always a black woman having heaps of pain and suffering thrown upon her.

Which is not itself such criticism because making people suffer pretty much the standard way of writing what Hollywood considers a “serious” movie.

It’s not a “serious” movie if a guy goes to school, graduates, gets a job, buys a car, drives to the village, slaughters a goat and eats it.

No. But if he is kicked out of school because he has an undiagnosed learning disability that belies his true genius (he has a 3,456 IQ!) and so, having no education, he turns to crime, steals a car and then gets into an accident killing 18 children and their parents, then, to flee justice he skips town to start a new life as a goat herder but the goats go wild one day and eat him? That’s an Oscar right there. Probably four. Best picture, original screenplay, score and the soon-to-be introduced-just-for-this-movie best goat award.

But the difference between Perry and other “serious” movies is that, well, not to reload and fire that shot I already admitted was a cheap one, but other “serious” movies about suffering stars are made well.

With Perry, say the critics, his characters, especially his female characters are one-dimensional and derivative and poorly drawn.

In other words, what I said in the first place: Tyler Perry sucks.

Perry recently showed us piles of printed paper on his desk, the scripts for three upcoming shows: ‘Haves and Have Nots’, ‘The Oval’ and ‘Sistas’, and told us that he had written all that himself.

He has no writer’s room like other shows.

Unlike good shows with diverse and nuanced characters that have depth, Mr Perry does not have other writers to assist him. He writes everything himself.

Which is why the female characters he creates don’t ring true. Because duh. He’s a guy.

Even after clocking all those hours in his Madea outfit, Perry is still a dude and men can’t write women. It just doesn’t happen. Men can’t write women.

If you ever meet a male writer and sidle up to him and coo, “You write women so well, how do you do it?” thinking he must be such an empathetic, deep and sensitive soul, to be able to understand what it’s like to be… stop thinking those things and get away from him now! He is going to try and seduce you and make you think it was your idea! It’s a trap! Get away from him! He’s a man! Men can’t write women!

That man didn’t write a woman so well. He wrote another man, put that man in disguise and gave that man attributes that may seem stereotypically female, but under scrutiny can be revealed to be qualities that can easily be accessed by both genders. He just takes advantage of outlying, obscure stereotypes, like making the hard-nosed no-nonsense, tough-as-nails CEO character turn to wine when the pressure gets too high, instead of drinking whiskey. That’s the trick: replace whiskey with wine. They don’t write women. They only write men with boobs and call them Sarah.

And women don’t write men either. 

I didn’t have the patience to watch Tyler Perry’s trailer as research for this article but I did drink plenty of wine (I don’t drink whiskey, I drink Shiraz. It’s a stereotype, okay? That means it isn’t necessarily true.) And I had enough wine to get me to research and endure a few romance novels by women writers. 

I avoided Chimamanda and Noviolet and I read trashy romance novels, the literary equivalent of Tyler Perry movies, and I can tell you, those men in there are not realistically drawn.

They are all strong and dependable and handsome and sexy and giving and gentle and selflessly loving. Bradley the banker is so sensitive; Chase, the lifeguard is so poetic; Manuel the ranch hand never once in the entire novel scratched his trousers. These are such unrealistic portrayals of men.

Is no one here fat, lazy, self-centered or at least cowardly and weak-willed and greedy and smug?

And most unrealistic of all, the male characters in the romance novels actually understand the women. The men know what women want.

That never happens in reality. 

So, the controversy over Tyler Perry having a lack of depth and dimension in Fall From Grace stemming from the fact that he doesn’t have other voices help him write may be justified.

But then again, I would not like to see Madea written by anyone else.

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