Thursday, November 15, 2012

Holding Out for a Hero

by Allison Pang

Starting this one out with a video, partially because it's sort of the 80's epitome of what we think we're looking for...and also because Bonnie Tyler was clearly high on something.** All of her videos are completely batshit crazy, and I find that amusing.


Anyway - heroes/heroines - I've always been of the mind that no characteristic is really off limits as long as it adds to the story, and as long as it makes sense to the character as a whole - genre limits not withstanding. These are the things that make the characters interesting and relatable.

But I guess that's sort of the point so many of the earlier posts this week have been making. (Though there are limits. Making your hero near-sighted is fun. Giving him a raging bout of the shits? Not so much.) But again, this often comes down to why people are reading/watching movies/playing video games. And that varies from person to person and moment to moment.

Some days I want heroines that are vulnerable that  I can identify with. Sometimes I just want to watch Indiana Jones kick some Nazi ass in some impossible fashion. So I don't really think I can pinpoint the exact spot where the line between reality and wish-fulfillment is crossed. After all, are these heroes and heroines the ones we're  really picking out for ourselves? Or the ones being forced upon us by the media? And does it make a difference?

(As an aside note? Bad boys vs the heroes? Yeah - there's a reason there are so many popular anti-heroes out there - simply because they allow us to desire that which we know is NOT really good for us in real life. Angel? Bland unless he was evil. Spike? Come, blondie bear vampire, plz to be getting into my vagina now. K, thx, bai.)


Also - sometimes heroes/heroines that are *too* good are boring. Perfection is boring. Most of us can't obtain it, so why do we want to read about people who *always* have the answer/save the day? It's like the old days when I used to play Champions of Krynn (*really old days*) and you had to make sure you never let that Karl asshole carry any of your money, because he would tithe 10% of it in EVERY town you went in. Or Casavir from Neverwinter Nights 2. Dude just went on and on about his dead family and Old Owl Well. No wonder most players went for the evil rogue. At least he had a personality. And a pet wolf. I don't know. I can't stand playing with paladins in my games. Blah blah blah, I'm soooo tormented, because I have to be sooo good, but inside I'm raging on the pit of despair and any moment I might become a FALLEN PALADIN. Oooh. In which case I'll sleep with you. Because, you know. I'm fallen. How 'bout that armor? WAT.)

Anyway, yeah - I'm rambling because I don't have much of answer. Though I do have one question - do we put heroines on a different pedestal than our heroes? Particularly in romance, but even in other genres, there still seems to be a bit of a stigma on women's sexuality. Sleeping around can apparently quite easily be forgiven when the hero does it...but the heroine who has one night stands? Bit of a no-no, I guess - and one that really drives me crazy. (So, the hero can be a raging man-whore, with a string of broken hearts for the last 2000 years. 2000, because, see, he's broken inside and has never known true love. Until he meets...*her*. But damn, she slept with one other person, so therefore she's some sort of hussy. Huh?)

So, dear readers - is there a double standard when it comes to heroes vs heroines? What flaws are deal-breakers for you?

** Incidentally, I might have been a little high when I wrote this post, due to Ye Old Painkillers and my Lousy Back. Forgive me.


  1. No worries. Allison on painkillers is kinda fun to read. ;o)

    Don't get me started on the double standard for heroes and heroines. Bleh. So what if my heroines come off a little 'masculine'? Why? Because they think for themselves and don't wait around for someone to come save them? Because they have hard edges instead of being all soft? Soft heroines irritate me.

  2. I don't care if the heroine likes to sleep around. I cringe whenever the man or woman is a virgin cause unless they were raised locked away in a tower their whole lives there is no freaking way either are going to be virgins in their late 20's when they look like they do! All heroes and heroines in most PNR/UF are drop dead gorgeous. Men get so insecure when it comes to their sexual performance and they don't like to think they might be compared and not "measure" up to her past men.