Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I’ve been thinking lately about woman heroines. What makes a female character/hero memorable? Relatable? Worth reading about?

I’ve heard a lot of readers complain about woman characters that are too “damsel in distress.” I can see where they’re coming from, there’s nothing worse than a female protagonist who won’t fight in intense situations. You have to wonder, are they afraid of ruining their hair? Breaking a nail? Getting their shoes dirty?

I always hated that scene in The Princess Bride when Westly was being attacked by the huge rat and Princess Buttercup just stood there looking slightly worried. I remember watching it with my sister and yelling “Help him out! Grab his sword!”


But on the opposite end of the spectrum I can’t relate with a superhero woman who is so tough that she has no depth. She always wear shiny spandex, can run and jump form buildings in stiletto boots, but because she’s so tough (and to run in stilettos, you must be though), it’s like she doesn’t have room for weaknesses and emotions.

I think a heroine needs to be realistic as well. She needs to have dimension, have feelings, off days, and imperfections. But she also needs to be strong, brave, and able to do incredible things when she’s faced with danger. I would have loved Princess Buttercup if she would have instantly grabbed Westly’s sword and fought the rat (even if she was in a long ball gown).

A great Heroine can be strong, brave, and amazing at fighting, as long as she still has feelings and emotions that female readers can relate too. Also, I like a heroine who is a smidge bit rebellious—not so rebellious that she becomes a villain, but enough that she doesn’t just accept everything she’s told. I think Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice is a great example.


Who are your favorite heroines in literature? Or which movie heroines do you root for? (P.S. I’m really sorry if Princess Buttercup is your favorite and I just ruined that for you).


  1. lol I feel so ashamed saying this...

    But I like the way they have portrayed Barbie's characters in the Barbie fairytale movies. Love story, yes. Classic fairytales, yes. But she's always been a brave participant in the action alongside her princely counterparts, instead of just being the damsel in distress.

  2. Jo,

    Don't feel ashamed, I love hearing good examples of heroines! I haven't seen The Barbie Fairytale movies (yet), but it sounds Barbie has all the right elements for being a great female hero. I'll have to check those out!