Monday, September 6, 2010

Dark Heroines: love 'em, like 'em, hate 'em

As an urban fantasy writer, I prefer to tackle the dark side of the world, exposing the gritter elements of the world, and the monsters that lay inside humans rather than their traditional "monsters".

In my worlds, my heroines aren't rosy. Their not the glass-fulls types. Why you may ask? Because bad shit happens and sometimes you walk away with scars (both physically and mentally).

So why is it that we have double standards for heroines vs. heroes?

I've been told that heroines that are too dark are grating on the nerves. Why is that? When a hero has a number of bad life experiences, we expect them to be dark and gritty. We like that in them.

So why if a heroine goes through those very same experiences is she expected to not be just as dark?

I pose these questions not for the sake of starting any fires, but to give everyone something to think about. Maybe none of these things apply to you, maybe you like your heroine like your chocolate...dark and rich.

Love 'em, like 'em, hate 'em: Dark heroines--at least in my fiction--are here to stay.


Misha said...

I hate that particular double standard. It's rediculous that females always have to be these paragons of beauty, virtue and grace.

It's not just about dark characters. It's about interesting characters. It's about characters that are realistic.

As you said, bad stuff happens and people get scarred. Are females immune to this? No. Hell no.

In fact, most women are more emotionally tied to things, and so they should feel their scars more keenly.

I'm not saying that they should spend their lives moping around. But for heavens sake, why should their personalities not change for the darker if, for example, they found someone they loved dead.

I'm using this as an example, since that scenario is usually one that gets a male protagonist going. And moving to the darker side.

Whose nerves do dark female characters grate? Women? Or men that don't know what do do with women that can hold their own?

Ashley said...

Thanks Misha. I think that there's only one way to fix it and that's keep creating realistic characters (whether male or female) that sometimes wear their scars on the outside.