Monday, February 23, 2009

kick-ass heroines and the men who...get in their way?

There are times when I just can't get into the tough girls. I like an independent heroine as much as the next reader, but when they're so tough they seem to need no one, much less the hero, it's annoying.
Or when they cross the line from being funny in a smartass kind of way to just being an ass in general I want to throw the damn book. We've all read them. Nothing has me putting the book down faster than a bitch of a heroine. Why is it that all we ever hear about are the whiny heroines?

Now don't get me wrong, I love a gal who can shoot a big gun or wield a mean looking sword as much as the next woman. In fact, some of my favorite movies have women just like that. I've always admired (and even wanted to be) Wonder Woman. I want my daughters to be women who can take care of themselves and NOT rely on a man to get them through life. There's nothing more beautiful than a self-confident woman, right?

But, I still like them to be at least a little soft. When I read a romance book I want the hero and heroine to need each other. To cuddle. To make love. But when the heroine acts all tough, even during the soft moments, it makes me grind my teeth. It's every bit as frustrating as a heroine who cries every blasted time the hero makes love to her. Give me a break already.
Whatever happened to the regular, everyday heroine? She takes care of herself, but still gets all jittery around the hunky hero. She has her own apartment, but still finds it sexy when the hero offers to fix her car. She insists on paying for her own meal, but still thinks it's romantic when he buys her dessert, and then feeds it to her. A lot of the books I've read lately had that aspect missing. I read romance for a reason! I LIKE the ROMANCE! If you take out the sweet, soft, loving stuff...then what the hell am I left with?!
I'm just sayin'!


Regina Carlysle said...

You've hit on a pet peeve of mine. Yeah, I like heroine independent but when she morphs from a woman into a man, she loses me. I think it's the extremes that bother me. The crying jag queens also have me wanting to tear out my hair.

I think one of my favorite heroines was Bella from JR Ward's book about Zsadist. She was tough when she had to be, strong, but you rooted for her to get through the crap she was dealing with. She never resorted to crying every five seconds either.

Unknown said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I thought I was the only person that felt this way. It gets to a point that the woman gets abrasive, and there's many a heroine out there that if she changed genders, readers would chuck the book in minutes. They (readers or heroines) wouldn’t stand that behavior coming from a man.

Kelley Nyrae said...

Great blog. I totally agree. What are with the extremes? Can't we meet somewhere in the middle? I just can't related to the too tough, abrasive heroines and I HAVE to be able to related in some way to the heroine to get into a book.

Anne Rainey said...

Regina--Bella was a great heroine. I agree!

Lynn--I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one. Lately it seems like so many of the heroines are like this too. And I agree 100%, readers would never be okay with their heroes acting that way!

Kelley--I guess that's what it is for me. I can't relate to them. I need someone in the middle. A heroine with a gentle heart, but a strong backbone. Why is that so much to ask?

Bianca D'Arc said...

I am so with you on this, Anne. I can't stand the heroine who kicks everybody's ass -- including the hero's!

Katie Reus said...

Lol, I agree. Too tough is almost as annoying as a pushover heroine. I love it when a heroine keeps a level head, but I don't want a heroine as tough as the hero. Sorry if that makes me less of a feminist, but I like the women I read about to have a soft side or I can't relate :)

Anne Rainey said...

Bianca--Thanks for commenting! Btw, I love your heroes and your heroines! :)

Katie--It makes me wonder why they're getting together in the first place, because it's clear she doesn't need him!

And another thing (LOL) I hate when a heroine acts like a silly little playboy bunny. OMG, I read a book like that recently and I wanted smack her upside her stupid head!

BrennaLyons said...

I think they still exist. Really I do. I know I write heroines who can still be soft with the hero, even if she can kill more men than he can in battle. Someone else out there has to be writing them, right?

Hello! Okay, there is a decided echo going on.

I don't mind a heroine who is capable of kicking the hero's butt, but that should be reserved for when he deserves it...or surprises her when she's half asleep. Grinning...

And even if SHE is the battle-hardened one, he can have his own strengths that aren't combat related. I don't mind that, either. Still, there has to be something feminine about her.


Anne Rainey said...

Brenna--Exactly! There has to be something feminine about her!

Mary Ricksen said...

You're right, sometimes the romance gets lost in the story.
I think in life men are not usually attracted to women who can whoop their butts.
And these stories are supposed to be believable aren't they.

Unknown said...

I pretty much agree. I think there has to be something soft and feminine somewhere. Even FemDom stories need the women to be women. Being strong should never erase that.

The only partial exception is for a woman who has shut that off and is learning it again. If that's the case you probably knew that when you bought the book.

Anne Rainey said...

Mary--So true. I think they want to be able to defend the lady, ya know? It sounds old fashioned, but there you have it.

Connie--Yeah, there are definitely exceptions. I've read a few FEMDOM stories and they were well done in the sense that the heroines didn't come across as manish.

Catherine Bybee said...

Amen, Sister!
Whats the point of the story if the woman doesn't need her man for something?

It sounds like you read a book that had a bad ass heroine who left a bad taste in your mouth.

Jody W. and Meankitty said...

Where are the books like that? Sitting in our desk drawers because we can't sell them *heh*

Toni Anderson said...

Great Post, Anne, I couldn't agree more.

Anne Rainey said...

Catherine--exactly! It's so pointless to me too!

Toni--I admit I like a good strong heroine, someone who can take care of herself, but she needs to be a little...human! LOL

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