Not to misunderstand, mind, because there’s definitely a time and place for damsels in distress. There’s a reason bodice-rippers were so popular. And, much as I might hate it myself, there is also a reason why so many women want their own Edward or Christian. This is a (mostly) judge-free zone.
But today’s Common Grounds topic hangs out on the other end of that spectrum: kick-ass heroines who don’t need saving. They don’t need a man to show them how to enjoy sex, nor do they need ‘help’ feeling worthy or attractive. Now, that can seem like kind of a tall order. After all, we don’t want a Mary Sue on our hands either, do we? Neither do we want a heroine so strong, so tough, and so independent, that she emasculates the hero, right?
…hold up a tick on that last one, actually. Because wouldn’t it stand to reason that if our heroine is made of super-napalm-awesomeballs, then our hero might just be equally as awesome, thus resulting in a megaton duo of amazing? Why isn’t there more of is? Or wait – maybe there’s actually a LOT of this, but it’s currently eclipsed by the media-blitz and popularity of weak, vapid, shallow, so-called heroines.
Well, rather than ranting about it, let’s discuss it. What makes a heroine really awesome? The list of qualifications is actually pretty subjective.
Take BBW-land, for instance. Ooooh, that’s a controversial one. Which is the stronger heroine – the woman who overcomes her eating issues and challenges herself to become fit, thus losing all the excess weight and going from ugly-duckling to swan? Or is it the woman who accepts her body, flaws and all, and celebrates her curves? (My personal answer: it depends on other personality traits in said heroine, but both can be pretty kick-ass options.)
Some of it just depends on how you look at it – that’s one of the many great things about fiction, in general. I’ve seen reviews of books I hated because I thought the heroines were TSTL, where the reviewer felt that the heroine was particularly strong for other reasons. (This is where diplomacy and a lack of free time helps out tremendously. I simply close that tab and mentally agree to disagree.)
So, what makes a heroine kick ass in your mind? Who are some of your favorite kick-ass heroines? This is going to be a recurring theme, btw. Probably about once a month, Mondays will be taken up with certain heroines who kick ass. Could be in books – romance or otherwise, movies, television, even non-storytelling-media (hello PJ Harvey!). And yes, even in real life.
All that said, this month’s kick-ass book heroines are:
Kate Daniels from Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series
Aylia from Intentional Abduction by Eve Langlais
Vin from Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Miranda Rohan from Anne Stuart’s Breathless
Other kick-ass heroines:
Okay, so the list goes on, and it’s no good to blow the whole load in one week, yeah? Unfortunately, the list is a little image-light due to copyright concerns, but you should get the gist. Who are some of your favorite kick-ass heroines?