It seems like there has been a lot written lately about writing and gender – both writing a character whose gender doesn’t match your own and writing for a particular gender. See: Whininess is the Kiss of Death and Writing Across Gender-Men Writing Female Protagonists.
The first is about what types of books boys will read. Do they want emotion? Or action? Introspection? Or action? It seems that what boys want, and the author was discussing male characters here, was real boys. Authentic boys. Non-chatty, non-navel gazing boys.
The second piece is about male writers creating female characters. Author Varian Johnson, who wrote the post, does this by tapping into emotions that are common to all of us, male and female. In addition to reading realistic fiction with female characters, he asks women of various ages to read and comment on his work.
What it seems to boil down to in both cases is creating authentic characters whether you are creating boy character or girl characters. Make them realistic and true and they will appeal to your readers. Still, it is worth it to read both of these blogs. You may very well learn a thing or three.