Background: I am about a third of the way writing a slightly unconventional book that could perhaps be loosely described as a mixture of slice-of-life, romance, and drama short stories, although there is continuity and interconnection within the stories, including recurring characters. Probably not wording that particularly well, but, moving in.
Due to the nature of the book, about a third of the characters get a very short story, a third appear in more than one story, and a third of them appear in multiple stories (ranging from 10 to 50 pages long).
Problem: Currently, I have 36 female characters, 2 non-binary characters, and only 1 male character (who doesn't appear outside of a single short story). While there are some good works out there that almost exclusively feature female characters, it is extremely noticeable.
I want to try and aim for the sort of ratio hit by the likes of Steven Universe and She-Ra and the Princess of Power (where there's a ratio of 1 male for every 3 female characters): shows where there is definitely a focus on strong female characters, but it definitely doesn't break the suspension of disbelief by making the setting/show feel unrealistic by having TOO many females to males.
The issue here is that I essentially don't have any trouble writing male characters, but creating them.
When I create a character, I picture them very clearly; their appearance, their life, their backstory, how they interact with others, and so on. I find it quite easy to create female characters, but really struggle with anything beyond the loosest of concepts of male characters. Even trying to get inspiration for male characters from media/other fiction just leaves me with shallow copies, rather than anything original.
I don't believe in just in just changing the pronouns for a character to turn a woman into a man (which has the same unfortunate implications as vice versa), especially due to how life for men and women is very different; the expectations, trials, difficulties, and even the little things can be very different. For example, life as an average low-income Japanese businessman is extremely different from the life of an average low-income Japanese businesswoman.
Requested Solution: How can I find a way of creating original male characters, without resorting (which I wouldn't) to just using shallow copies of preexisting characters or lazily changing a female character's pronouns to create a bastardized male character?
Source: reddit post