As Romance for a Reason begins to wind down, I’m nearing the end of my females in fiction top-ten list. Today we’re talking girl power, quite appropriate for a month speckled in pinks and purples—and not all worn by women!
If you missed the first posts, click on the titles to catch up.
Top ten things more fictional (and real-life) females ought to do:
8. Celebrate girl power.
9. Eliminate cattiness.
10. Cry a little & laugh a lot.
Putting the Girl Back in Girl Power
In many ways all of my posts have been about ‘girl power,’ about honoring and encouraging strong females in fiction and in real life. Today’s post, however, is looking specifically at some traits that I feel are common and are especially powerful in women. Before I even start, let me address the idea that this post in itself might come off as stereotyping my own gender. If one’s definition of stereotyping is simply pointing out that from personal observations a particular group of people tend to share similar qualities, then yes, what I’m about to write is stereotyping. I won’t apologize, though, because I feel my readers are smart enough to understand that first, I mean no harm by such generalizations, and secondly, I, like they, understand they are just generalizations, not pre-conceived judgments on any actual person. I don’t judge a book by its cover, nor a person by his or her gender. But that doesn’t mean I can’t generalize to say women are amazing—and that we need more proof of that in our books!
So what girl powers are missing from our fiction? Mildness, emotions, and mothering.
Ironically perhaps, mildness, or a lack of aggression, is one of the traits that makes women strong. It’s harder to keep one’s temper and argue logically than to lose it and deck the opponent, yet women are often consider the weaker sex because we more often than not do just that. As I already spoke to in an earlier post, women who act like men in order to be ‘strong’ characters are not admirable. I love to read or listen to a character who can keep her head and, ideally with a quick wit, put the enraged opponent, male or female, in his or her place. Mildness and meekness are not the same!
As much as I love a brooding bad boy with his pent up emotions, I think once again, this one goes to the ladies willing to cry. We all have emotions, so why is it that men are seen as tougher because they suppress them? Frankly, I think it takes a lot more tenacity to admit what’s bothering you and openly show vulnerability, pain, or grief. The boys who brood usually destroy themselves, or someone who gets in their way at the wrong time. The females who cry? They eventually get a tissue and get on with it. That’s strength.
Mothering to me is the ultimate act of strength for women. Not even accounting for the struggles of pregnancy and childbirth, just the idea of sacrificing so much to create, protect, and teach a little life is amazing. Who is fiercer than a mother protecting her child? (No one, just ask Bellatrix.) Mothers instinctually are heroic, yet, despite all the lovemaking going on in romance books, few spend time depicting that strength and beauty unique to women.
So go ahead, writers of romance, get a little stereotypical with your females. Have them remain even-tempered even in the face of those who are not. Have them cry then move on. Have them be mothers as well as lovers. Have them be real, because real women are strong and amazing!
Want to help support some real-life heroines?
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and a friend and teacher of too many women who’ve been affected by violence, I chose it to also to be the release date for Unbridled. I may not love wearing pink or purple, the colors of these two issues, but I do love a good fight for great causes. I’ve just chosen to battle this one with my pen.
Please consider helping!
Donate. Make your own individual donation to these two charities or choose a local charity supporting these and other causes affecting women in your area. To learn more about each charity and my reasons for choosing them, visit the Romance for
a Reason page. Or click through to donate directly.
Party hard. Gather the women (and men!) of your book club or just a group of friends for a Romance for Reason party. Party ideas? Check out my blog for ideas on how to plan your gathering. Then download the Romance Reading Questionnaire and/or the Body Lingo Bingo for some fun party activities! (My own book club met just this past week, raised some money, and
had a blast!)
Share. Tweet, status update, review, or just chat with friends about the books, the tour, and the charities (mine or yours)!
As a thank you for your help, I’m doing a Rafflecopter giveaway during the blog tour. Be sure to enter to win one of two