Different Kinds of Heroines

Shannon Stacey wrote an entry at RTB last week that got me thinking about how much I crave different kinds of heroines when I read.

Shannon’s point is different than the one I’m going to make – hers is interesting nonetheless about how we may avoid reading storylines or characters because of how they affect us. Certainly, I have hotbutton issues I don’t read – I refuse to read “forced” seduction storylines, slave planet storylines, or any kind of books that have rape as titilation. Not because I fear they may happen to me, but because they make me angry so you know, problem solved, I don’t read em.

But back to me, ME, PEOPLE! Reading Shannon’s entry (and have you read 72 Hours yet, by the way? If not, you should, it’s a great book) made me think about how important diversity in characters is to me.

One thing that continually frustrates me in romance is the lack of heroines over a certain age – and when you do get a heroine over 30 or even more rarely 40, she’s often a stereotype – jealous of younger women, wrinkled, been dumped for her ex husband’s secretary or the nanny. That bugs me. Women over 25 are vibrant, sexual beings and to see them consistently reduced to “issues” makes me sad.

Another thing – the way mothers are written in romance. One thing I really despise is when an author gives children to the heroine to make her seem nurturing but you never see or hear about the children in the story. That makes her seem neglectful to me. TJ Michaels wrote a fabulous mother character in Gift Wrap Optional and Nora does so quite frequently too (and with women over 30 too). If you’re going to make your heroine a mother, don’t forget to write her as one.

I don’t mind heroines who are divorced at all. That’s a reality for 50% of women and certainly it’s nice to see yourself in a character every once in a while. I think it’s important to have heroines with some real life in them but also, to be moving on and not a “victim” of it.

Anyway, I suppose my point after this long ramble, is that I think women are incredible. I think they’re strong and beautiful and they come in many shapes, sizes and backgrounds and I want to see more variety in books. I suppose I could have just said that, it’s a lot shorter than my ramble, but I like to ramble in case you haven’t noticed.

4 comments to “Different Kinds of Heroines”

  1. rhian
    February 12th, 2007 at 10:35 am · Link

    There you go Lauren – sneaking into my head again, riding the same mental pathways – too freaky.

    I was JUST pondering this whole thing this weekend, specifically how many kickass heroines turn into total wimps in some stories once they let the strong, alpha male take over their lives. NOT saying that happens in all stories and not saying I don’t enjoy a good Alpha Dominant tale, but it DOES seem like there aren’t as many self sustained women as there are women looking for that missing part of themselves. Does that make sense? And does that perpetuate the myth that a woman is worthless if she isn’t attached to someone? Just one of my late night ponderings.

    I love the stories with middleaged heroines or stories with unique, wacky individuals like Lori Foster’s “Say No to Joe” Luna. Maybe it’s the relatability factor. One of the reasons i like your stories so much is that the women don’t come off as needy or desperate; they’re strong with alot of self confidence. That’s my two cents.

  2. laurendane
    February 12th, 2007 at 10:40 am · Link

    It does make sense and it’s something that bugs me. Meeting your mate, someone you want to share your life with is amazing and yes, it makes your life better, but I hate when it turns the heroine into a ninny. Like she was only strong and intelligent until he came along and now she doesn’t need it. I like heroines who are *partners* not dependents.

    I think Luna is a great example but I’d say May in Jude’s Law is the opposite.

  3. rhian
    February 12th, 2007 at 11:03 am · Link

    You know – i bought and read Jude’s Law when it came out, but i can’t remember a dang thing about that book. And i agree with the partners assessment. Young men and women often don’t take the time they need for discovering all about themselves and their place in the world, before they jump into taking on the responsiblity of another person in their lives, often just because it’s expected. And our society reinforces that.

  4. Lauren
    February 12th, 2007 at 12:00 pm · Link

    I’m a Lori Foster fangirl, I’ll say that up front. I love her and her writing style and a book of hers that has problems is still head and shoulders above most. That said, I thought May was a doormat and Jude was a pushy, abusive jerk. I liked the second book, Murphy’s Law better, even with the pregnancy storyline (which I normally shy away from). I think the heroine was more compelling.