I mean, people say as long as the character is well developed, but through most of literature the whole focus is the guys, so much so that even when the majority of an audience is female, a male protag is considered better since he is relateable to everybody and that is mainly due to the fact that while little girls have female heroes the vast majority of them have no agency and really aren't as admirable in and of themselves.
Girls from an early age are taught (not intentionally but there all the same) that hero=male. My favorite characters in fiction are male, because they are given the best stories. What I wish is a hero I could identify. I mean I love Dr. Who. But why cant this reincarnating character be a woman? I dont want the characters feminized. I just want heroes that are just heroes.
I dont want batgirl, I want everything batman is, but also a woman. I mean read your favorite book and gender flip them. It gets ludicrous for the guys because how people show female characters is ludicrous. Nothing about Aladdin specifically says male.
I would have said "don't care, it's all about the plot," but that's not really accurate to the way I approach stories, especially in regards to the lead character or main perspective. Rather, plot is just one element in the whole I consider really important. There are books I love where plot is somewhat less important than other elements.
Basically, I don't have a strong preference one way or the other. When I was younger, I might have said that I tended to read books with male protags and certainly most of my stories were about them. As I've gotten older and read more widely, that has been less the case, and I have tried to even out the field as far as female protags and writers go. I think even us women cave into ideas about what those things entail, and I do buy the idea in feminism that women often internalize the male gaze and general expectations of their gender.
I recall reading some research that said men tend to have a harder time related to female characters, whereas women tend to be more flexible. Personally, I don't think is innate but the way culture sets up the male perspective as "default" and the female perspective as "other."
Whatever works best. I just don't want to see a lady or a dude for the sake of being a lady or a dude. Same with everything else about them—if you want to write about a character who's disabled or a minority or whatever, make sure it's for a reason.
Hm. See, originally I was going to say, "I don't care," but then I started thinking about my favorite books, and most of them have male protagonists, even the ones written by women. So perhaps I'm subconsciously drawn to male voices because they're different from mine? Or because I'm heterosexual and thus find the male voice more attractive?
Or maybe it's a coincidence, because most of my favorite books are sci-fi, and that's traditionally a male-dominated genre.
I prefer female characters over male characters because from the tons of books i've read they tend to be written with more humor, which I like. Male character's tend to be rigid from everything i've read. But overall, if the plot if great I don't really mind.
I don't know if this is an issue you have when reading, but if a character is badly written but the plot is really good, I still hate the story. The story can be amazing, but if the character is lame, I can't handle it.