You know what they are, those characteristics of Romance Heroines that convince you that if you knew her in real life you would sucker punch her.
Many of these have been discussed by some of the big names in Romance, but I want to talk about one of the lesser-examined problem heroines.
The anti kick-ass, Kick-Ass Heroine.
To truly explore this heroine in all her poorly written glory we must understand what ‘kick-ass’ is. A ‘kick-ass heroine’ is a woman who is strong, both physically and mentally, capable, and self aware.
If a heroine is to be kick-ass she cannot be unaware of her own physical beauty, prone to cute-clumsy accidents, or miss really obvious clues. Any an all of these things are good traits and actions for chick-lit or historical heroines. If it’s paranormal she should be willing to embrace her powers, if she is an FBI agent she should be willing to shoot people.
I want a heroine who can fire a gun, wear leather and silk with the same skill (and knows that her ass kicking boots should not have 4 inch heals, there is fashionable and then there is stupid,) and comfortable enough with herself to enjoy sex with the hero. I think there is a perception, both in society and Romance, that strong women make unsympathetic heroines. Frankly I don’t see it. I like to think I am a strong and independent women, and don’t want to be made to feel that I am unlovable because of it.
So bring on the ass-kicking heroines!