Tuesday, 8 October 2013

My Naught Thoughts : Is Strong Ever Too Strong

I got some great comments in response to my last post about leading females. I wrote about two types of heroines, the strong and the helpless. As I "penned" my thoughts on the strong heroine and used a few leather clad bad-asses as examples, it nagged at me that I might be setting up the idea that kick-ass only means physical. And then...how physically combative does she have to be before she loses her femininity.

So I included Jessica Rabbit as an example of a certain type of kick ass female. She may not be able to go toe to toe with werewolves, take on hoards of zombies, or slice a vampire's head off but weak she is not. If there is a spectrum of kick ass females, Jessica would be at one end of it. She's the type that oozes femininity and sexuality. After all, she was drawn that way. She sways her hips in an enticing rhythm, bats her sultry eyes, and puckers her pouty lips (I won't even mention what she does with those boobs). She's alot dainty, but from the first time I saw her, I thought....that chick is dangerous. Jessica is the girlie-girl bad-ass.

At the other end of the spectrum lies the alpha female bad-ass. She's so strong she comes off a little to manly. Sexy may not be the first word used to describe her. Either her body doesn't look very feminine, she doesn't dress feminine (no leather here) or her dialogue is a bit off putting...to "I need no one". I think Sandra Bullock or Melissa McCathy's characters in The Heat is my best idea of her. You have a hard time believing the love interest.

Sonja, Selene and Alice fall somewhere in between. The unobtainable bad-ass. Physically they are gorgeous women to look at, but personality wise they have their short comings. They're hard and lack any vulnerability. You wonder what they need the hero for. (Did you notice how Selene was always saving Michael?  It made him look like less of a man in my eyes).

As much as I love a leather clad fighter, I think I most relate to the girl next door bad-ass. Kind of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (what vault did I dig that out of). She's cute and bubbly, wears the same kind of clothes I do, doesn't emasculate the hero with her strength and independence, but still needs him from time to time.

Most times when I read romance novels I forget the description of the character that the author gave (especially if there isn't a couple on the cover) and I start imagining them more from what they say and how they act (if that makes any sense). The words conjure the image in my head of either Jessica, Selene or Buffy. And as much as I enjoyed Underworld and Resident Evil, their heroines were just a little to far from the every day woman. I like when they're more like Buffy, they're a little more real to me.

And that's my naughty thoughts on strong heroines.

Later Loveys

P.S. Don't forget to share this post if you liked it


  1. Interesting post, gives me something to think about with my current WIP. I have two heroines that I want to ooze sexy and deadly without coming off as ‘manly.’

    Thanks for that, bookmarking to return to letter, you gave great examples.

    Where do you think Anita Blake from Laurel K. Hamilton’s series falls on your spectrum?

    1. Thanks...I haven't read Laurel K. Hamilton yet, but I'll check it out.

  2. Great post again! I have similar thoughts to you, I enjoy more of the Buffy types characters. Though I really don't get on with female characters that are too 'feisty' though, I don't see women who want to be in everyone's faces and angry all the time as 'strong'- Being strong is more about being independent and confident and knowing it without having to constantly tell everyone. (Sorry, long comment!)

    1. Thanks...I agree with you...I don't really like the female characters that need to show how big their balls are

  3. I think folks put too much thought into this sometimes... but I'd like to see a strong female character who's a very ordinary woman. Not a popular girl gone rogue, like Buffy, but just an ordinary person, with an average face, and average interests, who can take care of herself. You don't really see that in fiction very often.

  4. your blog is very pretty

  5. I often times forget their descriptions of characters too. And i think it's for the better because i usually find that I imagine them one way and very rarely I'd say - does my image ring true to the authors if it happens that I've forgotten the authors and then the author later reminds me. Sometimes if I get the description from the start it sticks with me throughout and is fitting - like on a cover.