18 January 2010

Warts and All....

I’ve been reading a great deal of urban fantasy and paranormal romance lately. There have been a few new pieces, but primarily I’m revisiting old friends of favorite series and remembering what made me excited about the genres back in the beginning. Reading all the of the books so close together, I’ve noticed the “Beautiful Swan/Ugly Duckling” phenomena in all it’s glory. Specifically its been the beautiful swan that due to upbringing and general womanly insecurity still sees herself as the ugly duckling.

Being inundated by the repetition of it has led to a lot of discussions lately. As writers and readers, do you find this particular “humble heroine” more relatable than a confident heroine? Is it important to know the heroine is humble and doesn’t realize how truly beautiful she is despite the two, three or ten men falling at her feet? Should the reminder of her humility be addressed once or twice, or sprinkled liberally throughout the book and series?

I think if you had asked me ten years ago I would have come down firmly on the side of humble. Chick Lit and Erotica were beginning to pimp the sexually empowered woman, which was wonderful, but not always done well. Many times a heroine came off as sexually predatory, shallow, or just mean. After another decade under my belt convincing the women around me that yes, he meant what he said, and no I’m not just saying they’re attractive because we’re friends—ooooh confidence!

Not only do I want the real life women in my life to feel sexy and assertive, I’d like to spend more time with heroines who can take a compliment and not fret over her “fat jeans/genes” when every description has her well below average healthy weight. Confidence is the sexiest accessory a woman can put on, but too few pages reflect that. Perhaps as the majority of authors I read are women, this is a genuine reflection of their own doubts as much as an attempt to make a character relatable, still; if I can’t have confidence, how about acceptance? My favorite heroine is the one who can accept herself, warts and all, and still think a man better be damn worthy of it!

What say you? On this day of celebrating a humble man who is talked about as a great martyr an legend, what do you want in the pages of your favorite stories? Do you want more women moving through the sizzling pages of your next read covering their “wobbly bits” and wondering what men see in them? Or are you pulling for, (and perhaps writing yourself), more women who can agree they look pretty damn good today and move on? Do you want the heroine next door? The heroine you can look to as a shining example? Or some entirely new animal to dominate the page?

What’s your opinion on this day of celebrating a man who fought that we could all have equal opinions and the right to them?

Warts And All Ramble Done

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