In Praise of Difficult Women

Lazarapaste has a great post on Dear Author about Romance heroines, beauty and virtue–with the upshot being that she’d like to see some heroines with a lot less beauty and virtue, or with beauty decoupled from virtue. I’m probably saying it wrong. You should go read it. And if you’ve ever wondered about my motivations for writing difficult heroines, you should really go read it.  I commented. There are a lot of comments (many from the “heroines ought to be sympathetic” camp) and I’m a lazy blogger, so I’m reposting my comment below.

Wonderful post! So insightful and well-put. In the future, instead of trying to explain my motivations for writing difficult and/or unlikable heroines, I’m just going to link here.

Plenty of people out there are loved and they do not deserve to be. And plenty of people who deserve to be loved, aren’t.

This. This, exactly. And to add to it, the amazing, wonderful thing about love is that true love sees flaws and loves not despite, but because of those flaws. Love is diverse, love stories should be, too. There is no universal standard of lovability. The very qualities that make me hate a person could be the reason someone else is head-over-heels in love–and I think that’s awesome.

I know quite a few very nice men who are married to very mean women. For a long time I wondered what they saw in each other, until I realized that perhaps each saw in the other qualities that they, themselves, lacked. The reason those men are so nice is because they don’t have to be mean. Their wives are the ones who demand better seating in restaurants, and tell people talking in movies to shut the hell up, and bitch out people who don’t treat their husband right.

As cheesy as the phrase “you complete me” is, if we’re lucky, that’s just what we get when we love–we are complete. Not completely good, but whole and functioning and happy. And when I get to the end of a romance novel, that’s the way I want to see the hero and heroine–not shagging from sunrise to sunrise, not having scads of babies or fostering deserving orphans, just happy, whole, and better than they were before.


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