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February 18th, 2009

9:07 PM

Boy, are we hard on the heroine

What I learned from my reading of my last few contemporary romances:

Romance heroines should have big breasts.

But women who use money to get themselves new breasts are trashy creatures who deserve nothing but contempt and ridicule.

Romance heroines should be gorgeous, curvy, and sexy.

But women who refuse to eat for fear of their expanding waistline are described, usually from the hero's point of view, as vain and unattractive narcissists deserving nothing but contempt and ridicule.

Romance heroines should be naturally stunning and gorgeous even when she wakes up at 3am to greet the hero at the door - the hero will, naturally, see her and be stunned by her beauty even in such a situation.

But women who wear make-up are described, usually from the hero's point of view, as trashy, vain, narcissistic, and fake, deserving nothing but contempt and ridicule.

It is moments like this, when realizing the kind of values prevalent in romance novels when it comes to a woman's physical beauty, that I am glad I am not a romance heroine. Who could live up to such ridiculously high standards?

8 comment(s).

Posted by Stacia Kane:

Yep, this is something I've noticed as well. Very irritating.
February 18th, 2009 @ 9:54 PM

Posted by Mary B.:

Yup. She must be gorgeous, but naturally so. If she tries at it, she's clearly a whore.

Oh, and American Idol is determined to ram Danny Dead Wife down our throats. He got the pimp spot (going last) and all the fawning. Plus he's going to sing "Inspirational" songs. Blech.
February 18th, 2009 @ 10:38 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

Oh, he'll run out of steam, that Dead Wife's Husband. He's going to shove his wife's decaying corpse down everyone's throat so much, people will have had enough of him after a while. That's my hope, anyway. I still think the F2 will be Blind Guy versus Dead Wife's Husband.
February 18th, 2009 @ 10:43 PM

Posted by kirsten saell:

Being the unfortunate owner of a pair of 34GGs, I hate the very idea of large breasts. Don't know why they're so prevalent in romances, and yeah, I hate the whole "if she has to work on her looks, she's vain" vibe, too. Although the one heroine I've written who uses makeup regularly is actually a whore, lol.

I've written boyish heroines, curvy ones, muscular ones, ones with rounded bellies, petite ones, six-foot-plus tall ones, non-virginal ones, ones who make their living on their backs, plain ones, pretty ones, stunning ones. It shouldn't matter what they look like, as long as the hero finds them beautiful, really.

More important to me in a heroine is brains, competence, honor, in whatever they do. That's what's going to make the heroine memorable to a reader--and a hero--not her perfect face or her stunning body, and certainly not her tits.
February 19th, 2009 @ 1:33 AM

Posted by K. Z. Snow:

Now, see, this is why I gave up reading and writing m/f contemporaries and switched to m/m romance. Two hot men together are much more satisfying (and MUCH less annoying and/or ego-bruising) than Mary Sues and Stepford Wives. :)
February 19th, 2009 @ 7:27 AM

Posted by Gennita Low:

Well, we're hard on heros too--they must all be able to do it five times a night ;).

To add to your list, the heroine must be independent and tough at her job and suddenly secretly nurturing at the same time.
February 19th, 2009 @ 8:13 AM

Posted by Nat:

And let's not forget the bee-stung lips and doe eyes. Oh, and the long column of neck and small hands. I'd like to see a composite of one of those romance heroines, just to see how it would look on a real human. Probably freaky as hell.

As Gennita pointed out, we're hard on the guys as well: must have six packs, have broad shoulders but a tight waist, long hair but not too long as to make him look grungy.

Stereotypes. Bleh.

p.s. that comment window is annoyingly small! Bravenet, you're killing me.
February 20th, 2009 @ 9:30 PM

Posted by willaful:

And don't forget - a romance heroine should always marry an incredibly wealthy man, but she is not allowed to actually care about money at all. Unless it's for orphans or her sick mother.
March 1st, 2009 @ 6:19 AM