In July, AAR introduced the new series “Dreamboat or Douchebag” in which our staffers weigh in on the merits and demerits of famous literary heroes. These pieces have been some of our most popular and have generated a set of robust comment streams. They’ve also been a hell of a lot of fun to write.
Thus, we’ve decided to begin a similar series about heroines. Over the next year, we will set our critical sights on some of literature’s most contested heroines and pass judgement upon them. (We may even add in a movie heroine or two–wouldn’t it be fun to assess Vivian from Pretty Woman or evaluate Princess Leia?)
There are two things we are considering as we begin. The first is what makes a good heroine? There is, unsurprisingly, no consensus on that. Maggie likes a heroine who’s “well written and can make me sympathetic to her point of view.” Melanie prefers a woman who is “human – she has her flaws, but they aren’t the focus of the book” and who “feels real.” Shannon’s favorites are “self-reliant, but not afraid to ask for help when needed.” Caroline prizes “a sense of ethics,” “a spine,” and “self-awareness.” Lynn goes for “a smart, confident heroine who knows her limitations.” Lee wants a woman who stands up for herself. For me, a good heroine is one who deserves her happy ending–a criteria so vague it can be summed up as “I know it when I see it.”
The second–and likely to be far more contentious–is what to call this column. There are those readers who acutely dislike “Dreamboat or Douchebag” and others who love it. We are sure no matter what we call our heroine column, the same situation will prevail.
I asked the staff to come up with suggestions for the column–serious and not–and their list was quite inventive. Suggested were:
First Class or Trailer Trash?Sister or Skank?Keeper or Kick-Her-to-the-Curb?Bangable or Brown Bag?Darling or Diva?Wonderwoman or Witch?Honey or Harridan?Sweetheart or Shrew?Captivating or Contemptible?Special or Spoiled?Treasure or Terror?Catch or C**t?Babe or Beyotch?Hall of Fame or Walk of Shame?andBabe or Bint?
I’m not sure what we will pick or even if this is our final list. I give the staff points for wit.
We hope you will enjoy our new series and we welcome suggestions for heroines you’d like to see us consider. As always, we love to hear from you.