So I’ve been thinking on heroes a lot. One of my beta readers hated Con from A Touch of Fae with a passion but most of the rest of the readers have loved him. Another reader commented on my loop the other day that she didn’t like Aidan from Triad.
It gets me musing about the nature of likeable heroes and just what makes a hero to begin with. I’ve talked about how I hate the Alpha Asshole You Want to Fuck type of hero. I don’t equate abusive natures with strength or heroic natures.
I like strong men. I like men who are sure of themselves and their allure. I love smart men, well read men, witty men (nothing sexier than a smart, funny man). Personally, I’m not really in love with the metrosexual man but I do think that a man who does basic maintenance on his appearance is good, I just don’t want him to be hairless (unless he’s a swimmer or it’s that way naturally) or have more personal care products than I do. In any case, the situation with his hair and his eyebrow shape doesn’t concern me overall.
What does bother me is the idea that a man isn’t A MAN unless he’s an asshole who emotionally abuses the heroine and then “redeems” himself at the end by telling her he loves her or somesuch. I don’t think men who force sex are heroes. I don’t think any man who’d call his partner a slut or a whore is a hero. And please don’t get me started on books where the “hero” infantalizes the heroine (who will invariably be tiny and he is very large) and is her strict daddy instead of her partner.
A hero is in the details of his interaction with the heroine and the world. A hero is honest and forthright. He is brave but not stupid. He is in love, without a doubt, with the heroine. He would not hurt her intentionally. He does not force her into sex or call her names. He does care about her feelings because she’s his partner and he loves her.
If this makes him somehow a “shero” I say, better a shero than an asshole.
A great entry on this issue is also over at Smart Bitches.