Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No wimps allowed

Kick ass heroines are a popular breed now days. But I've heard some editors and some readers lamenting the fact that these intrepid gals are so...well, blood thirsty.

Um, they may have a point. Our kick ass heroines don't have to off a bad guy or monster every other page (okay, that's an exaggeration but you know what I mean). And they don't have to shed all their femininity to be tough as nails. Think about it. Do we really want our heroines to be guys-in-drag? I don't and I suspect many readers don't. So I'm going to offer a slightly different definition of this character.

What we want is a woman who's ready to 'step up'; one who will take a stand. She might be a protector - a term generally reserved for our heroes - or she might be a crusader. She might be any number of things that aren't typically female.

She will fight fiercely and with a viciousness that can amaze or terrify but no one will ever mistake her for a guy-in-drag because she will always evince that core of femininity that makes all women special. Just like her male counterpart, she is prepared to sacrifice everything, including her own life, to protect what she cherishes or to attain a worthy goal.

A kick ass heroine might go down to the cellar, in the middle of a dark threatening thunderstorm, with a faulty flashlight in one hand...and a Glock in the other. But she won't do it out of morbid curiosity. No, she'll do it to make sure there are no threats hidden down there that could imperil those under her charge. She's tough, smart and loves a challenge.

She isn't foolhardy. She can calculate her odds of winning and weigh them against her goals. She isn't afraid to retreat if it's necessary. And she isn't afraid to show her softer, gentler side to those she loves and trusts. Though she might frequently wear black, a dominant but sexy color, she's just as likely to be seen in scarlet or white or burgundy. She's bold and courageous. Caring. Passionate. Independent.

She's today's woman. And she carries an invisible banner that says 'No Wimps Allowed'.

-- Lynda

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7 comments:

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

I realized as I read your post, Lynda, that my current heroines fit the protector role. They generally step in when the hero is in pain and try to help, and often times they come into conflict with the 'redeemable villainess' a tougher female characters who may even be partially responsible for the hero's pain.

I like heroines whose true strength happens to be their softness even if it's surrounded by a kick-ass exterior.

Lynda K. Scott said...

I love heroines who act as protectors (like heroes who do too) and who are kick ass. But I really admire them when they're kick ass AND aren't afraid to show their feminine side :)

Skylar Masey said...

Lynda~

I loved your definition of a kick-ass heroine! Especially the no wimps allowed, which made me think of TSTL :0)

My article on superheroines makes the same point that those icons built in the past made today's woman. So there's no wonder she's strong, confident and independent. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have feminine touches!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Skylar, I would love to see your article on superheroines! If you get it published, you make sure we all know about it, okay?

Skylar Masey said...

Sure! I haven't had a chance to try to find another mag that might be interested. I've also contemplated using the info as an online class. My friends tell me I should've been a teacher. :0)

Angela Verdenius said...

ahhhh- I love it! the faulty flashlight in one hand (Down Under we call that a torch LOL) and a Glock in the other. LOL

Lynda K. Scott said...

Heheheh, a girl has to be prepared. Yes?