It's a question that I have asked myself on numerous occasions. There are times when I have read a particularly strong female lead and wanted to smack her and tell her that's it's okay to let your guard down once in a while. Not everyone is out to "get you." Then there is the other side of the coin: the woman who is basically a drama queen and can't do anything for herself without falling to pieces. These women make me want to shake them to wake them out of their la la land. Okay that's a bit harsh, but you get the point.
Which type of heroine am I? Well, both of them of course! I'm a mix of both of these ladies and at times I am at one extreme or the other, much to my chagrin. I would like to think I am the strong independent type (read BIOTCH) most of the time, but I have moments when I am simply overwhelmed and long to have someone take care of everything for me, even if just for a few hours. I am very lucky to have found someone who loves all sides of me, from cranky to weepy, from independent to supportive, from serious to silly. This is the type of heroine I would like to read about, or see in movies. Someone who is a little bit of everything, basically me.
I think that is a bit more realistic, don't you? I have read some blogs and reviews for books that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed that slam the heroine as too wishy washy, that the reader will have a hard time believing that this woman lets the man do everything for her, never having to meet her problems head on. Why would the reader have a hard time believing it? Sounds like real life to me! I personally know women (and more than a few men!) who are exactly like that. I also know some real bad asses who would sooner fall flat on their face than accept help from anyone...ever. Maybe it's not that the reader would have a hard time identifying with these kind of heroines. Maybe it's that they identify with them too much and want an escape.
Now I think we are on to something! Personally I love to have characters who are like me. Hell, I created a bunch of them. Each and every single one of them is me and I have to admit it goes both ways. Writing their stories has helped me find myself, not just the person I had put out there for the world to see, but the real me. Writing has helped me open up parts of my soul that I had shut off from everyone and everything. I have been hurt so badly in the past by people who I have trusted. I put up walls and barriers that I have had a hell of a time breaking down again. Through my heroines, I can let people see those hidden parts of me and not feel judged. Through these women, I can let down my guard and let a lover pamper the hell out of me, spoil me rotten, and basically rock my world in the bedroom.
My heroines help me to work through all of life's challenges from the loss of loved ones, demanding careers, inability to conceive, divorce, unrequited love, betrayal of a friend, and discovering the goddess within my very soul. Not strong enough? Too wishy washy? Never! Each one serves a purpose and together they make the perfect heroine...me. Take a good look at the women in the books you read. What kind of heroine are they? Look harder and really see. She is YOU. Now go out and grab all that life has to offer and become the greatest heroine of all!