As a writer, I have to get inside the skin of my characters and walk around for a bit. I find this process transformative in ways I never expected. Particularly with female characters.
As I have had to explain to numerous people in my life, I am not gay or transgender or in other ways different in regards to the gender I was born into. But I have learned to accept those things as part of reality and elements of all of them exist inside my goofy old head. Psychiatrists I have talked to (for many reasons unrelated to me being crazy) have suggested this means I am very empathetic and often feel the feelings of people I am talking with or reading about. I understand that many writers and teachers are the same.
So as I work on stories with major characters who are female, I find female thinking taking over my goofy brain.
I have not experienced PMS or childbirth, but I have learned to see the world as little girls see it. My Little Pony is a wonderful piece of didactic fantasy that teaches a girl that she can stand up for herself the way Apple Jack and Rainbow Dash do in a male dominated world, or that they can be the smartest person around like Twilight Sparkle even though she’s a girl. Girls can be tough and smart even though the world tells them that it is not so.
And as I have tried to work with strong, self-reliant female characters who are not only tough and resilient, but empathetic, I have clearly demonstrated to myself that I prefer fuzzy-warm female thinking to the harsher kind of testosterone-fueled rage that one associates with male characters. Hard and unforgiving, as character traits, lead to immovable objects being bashed by irresistible forces… and good and valuable things get broken.
So I am willing to state for the record, my mind is both male and female. And though the other boys in the locker room may make fun of me for saying such a thing, I sometimes think the female part of it is better and more reliable.