Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Heroine Chic

Recently I saw a site that talked about attitudinally kickass heroines. It started me thinking about which type of heroine I'd prefer to create and I wondered which character type you might choose. Here are some concepts that might help you consider which choice you might make.

Let's start off with the most obvious: the sense of empowerment female readers experience when reading a novel with a kickass heroine. Yeah yeah yeah I know, Freud and all that stuff. Still, there's that sense of "I wish I could break political correctness and say what the hell I want in real life" whenever a female character kicks in the head of some vicious opponent/enemy spouting off snarky smartass remarks like "Alien garbage, you're only worth is being used for Euro trash soccer!" No offense to my beloved Europeans. Or "You have to have a brain for me to kick it out of your head!" Well, okay, I've said stuff like that to guys which is probably why I'm alone…

But enough about my loserhood. Kickass heroines can be funny in other ways besides the smartass violence they seem to love. Now, I'm talking about action heroines, not the strong womanly type so keep that in mind—besides that's a whole other blog post. They can make you laugh by their sheer sense of no rules, no repercussions for their actions and giving the bad guy or girl their just desserts. In that sense, they're actually a lot like cartoon characters of days past. Remember when The Roadrunner could drop an anvil on the head of Wile E. Coyote without causing any real brain damage aside from a momentary concussion? That's what kickass women characters can do, too. Besides, don't we all want that cathartic sense of seeing the bad guy/gal get what they deserve in a true sense of getting their butt kicked? I think that might be a subconscious transference from wanting the same to happen to your co-workers, but again that's a question for the cocaine abusing Dr. Sigmund Freud.

On the other hand, there's the loser/underdog female heroine. Not to influence you, but she's my personal preference. Why? Again, it's that sense of catharsis, that the "worm has turned" and is going to kick the not only the butt but the brain, face, and sometimes other sensitive areas of the bad dude/dudette. She's a lot like the kickass heroine but she's the one going through changes as opposed to the enemy—or the kickass heroine who does not change but remains faithful to her character and attitude from the beginning to the end.

The underdog female is the one you root for, get angry for and about, and sigh/cheer with relief when she finally does turn herself around and gets revenge on those who picked on her during the story. Remember Stephen King's Carrie? That was one big ol' bullied chick giving everybody their rewards for excessive cruelty in the face of high school society. Thank God now we have organizations and news casts trying to change bullying behavior in schools! I support them fully!

Oops, excuse my personal political views.

The female underdog is also a relatable character. Which one of us has not felt put upon in the challenges of life—sometimes we feel like the underdog ourselves—which is why we root for her whether we know it or not. That's why we want her to win, to break out of her timidity and just plain kick somebody's ass. She's us in disguise.

Which is your favorite heroine type and why?

Have at it.


  1. I personally like strong heroines, but who are most definitely still feminine. Just because she can shoot a gun, fly a space raider, wear leather, and beat you at hand-to-hand contact doesn't mean she won't be upset when you hurt her and won't melt into a puddle of mush when a puppy licks her face. Ya know?

  2. Thank you for your post and question, P. I.

    I don't really have one favorite type of heroine. But sometimes I'm in the mood to read about a kick-ass female protag. Or write about one.

    Why do such heroines appeal to me? I think it's because of the way I identify with them. They don't represent me the way I am. They represent me the way I wish I were.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. That's why I write a lot of military based fiction. Chicks with guns, I always wanted to be one, lol! Still, those underdogs have a special place in my heart...