Confession: When it comes to heroines, I have a definite type. I don’t particularly care what the hero is like (although alpha-holes need not apply), but I like my fictional women a little bit on the wild and unpredictable side. Prone to cursing, ready and able to throw a punch or deliver a cunning verbal smackdown, complicated and difficult. Independent and determined to take care of herself. Confident, ballsy, selfish. Ruthless in pursuing a goal. Not above illegal activity if the ends justify the means. Possesing a questionable moral code. Flawed…beyond the standard romance faults of, say, being clumsy or having unsightly freckles.
Yup, most of my favorite heroines are actually anti-heroines. Give me Faith over Buffy anyday. Watts over Amanda Jones, no question! Starbuck over….well, frak, Starbuck over anyone at all. I love a morally compromised, swaggering scrapper of a heroine. And I really like to see what these kinds of women do when they’re placed in the most vulnerable, most emotional scenarios—namely, when they’re in love.
But while you can’t swing a cat in the romance genre without hitting some kind of bad boy hero—be it a rake, rogue or domineering billionaire with a kinky side—it’s near impossible to find romances that feature anti-heroines. The romance genre seems to have an unwritten rule that heroines be nice, average, everyday kind of gals—relatable, recognizable, and most of all, likable. And maybe with good reason. I’ve seen a fair amount of bad reactions from readers to the sorts of heroines I favor, often stating the character was too bitchy, too difficult to the hero, too stubborn… too much.
But in the immortal words of the '80s songstress Samantha Fox: “Naughty Girls Need Love Too.” So for those of us who do prefer a bit more spice than sugar in our fictional ladies, luckily there are some badass babes out there.
[Nice is so five minutes ago...]