Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Hullabaloo

I was supposed to be writing today. My next book is coming along beautifully and I'm having such fun writing it. All right - I have fun writing all my books, but this is laugh-out-loud fun, and I really wanted to keep at it.
But life gets in the way. (As usual)
So I have fifteen minutes to play on the computer, so I'll write a blog post. About something. (Waiting for inspiration...)
About...Fat heroes!
Yes, fat heroes. Regularly in the Romance Writing Blogworld there is a big Hullabaloo about 'Why are there no fat heroines?!' Well, I can't answer that. I never really thought about it. I don't like (and we went into this before) I don't like too much description because I like to imagine my own hero and heroine. I don't need her measurements, clothing size, or weight. A good author should be able to show not tell how the characters look. And I don't care if the heroine is fat, thin, or dyslexic, as long as I can IDENTIFY with her and find her SYMPATHETIC. I'll be more inclined to do so if she's dyslexic, can't do math, and gets lost the second she leaves her house. Now there's someone I can identify with. And if she loses her car in the parking lot, I love her already.
Anyhow - back to the hullabaloo. Three or four times a year someone starts whining about fat heroines and the lack of or dearth of or whatever...I say, what about the fat hero?? There is something very depressing about the readers squealing they want fat heroines and hunky, slim, athletic heroes. Why do men get to stay fit? Can't they be chubby? Can't they have a fat tummy too? WHY DOES THE HERO HAVE TO BE PERFECT? It does not make sense to this reader.
The fuss says 'we want imperfect heroines (real life people - I like that) but the fuss never spreads to the hero, who stays firmly rooted in the fictional fantasy of the prince on the white horse.
Hello! Why can't the fat heroine have a fat hero? Why can't the slim heroine have a fat hero? (If he's rich and drives a fancy car, this is very realistic. He can even be twice her age and a Scientologist to boot...)
Anyhow, think about it. It could be an interesting story. Really.

16 comments:

Jaci Burton said...

Good question, since we all know real life men are imperfect *g*

Probably because we want to see our imperfect selves swept away by the perfect man who sees through all our imperfections and loves us anyway.

That's my take on it ;-)

Sam said...

You're exactly right!
But still - it seems unfair to expect the hero to see past our imoperfections, if we can't see past his...

Karen Scott said...

Sam, if more men read romances, then I'd be with you, but the fact is, romance books are written for women by women, so I think it's our perogative to demand the perfect hero, and keep the fantasy element intact.

Tara Marie said...

I don't think it's unfair, it's actually realistic. Romance is about fantasy and since the vast majority of readers are women, we want to see attractive men interested in all kinds of women--short, tall, fat, thin...

Besides, heros come in some different packaging--average, tall and really tall, lanky, built and muscular, blond, brunette, red heads...or are these the heroines?

I'm giving myself a headache.

Bonita said...

Quite simply, the reader (usually a lady) identifies with the heroine so she can have imperfections, but the reader fantastizes about the hero, so he needs to be larger than real life. Not fair, but oh well! *shrugs* I am guilty as well as many in wanting the "perfect" hero.

Virenda said...

I agree w/ Jaci.

I love books and will read anything and you know I like imperfect heroines, I really do. I don't mind what they look like as long as they are smart, interesting, caring and funny.

As for the hero's? Um, not big on the girth myself but I wouldn't mind as long as he was lovely. Although maybe I would. Geeze, I'm horrible...

I think because most of those books are written by women and we want gorgeous men to find us "normal" girls attractive since high school sucked! Or something like that.

Patrice Michelle said...

I think it boils down to the fact that people want to be able to identify and sympathize with the heroine (so she can have imperfections), but romance books are an escape from reality and they want their heroes perfect. :)

Lori said...

A fat Scientologist? Ummm.... thanks, but no thanks. I'll take my fantasy of the perfect guy loving me, imperfections and all.

medusa said...

i think we want fat heroines because when you think of romance recreational as a specific female activity and therefore a kind of a sovereing domain , it gives us the power to identiyf with whoever we want and therefore make the cat of identification easier by choosing images that seem to reflect us.
and anyway, it is much more difficult to be a fat woman than a fat man.
so let the men. atleast in my fantasy life, do all the exercise and let the women have all the fun.

medusa said...

also, can i add you to my blogroll?
and also, i really appreciate you talking about romances, coz that is what my research is about.

Sam said...

Thanks for chiming in everyone!!!
So the consensus is that heroes have to be perfect (physically, that is - I have read stories where the hero is a perfect asshole, lol), while heroines can be physically imperfect (which is fine by me - I can identify with a fluffy tummy...)
I will have to think about this for my next blog post which will be...
Do romance books raise expectations too high, or, what happens when readers lose touch with reality?
:-)

Bonita said...

Oh, that will be an interesting topic! I can not wait to read it and the responses. However, I am going out of town (to visit Bree and the baby), so I will not get to read anything until I return (probably Monday night after work).

Jona said...

Lol, you've got me thinking now! I've read books where the heroine is less than perfect - but you're right, the man they end up with is perfect!

But in truth, I think I like your way of leaving descriptions out as I once dated a very heavy chap, and if the woman is skinny it can lead to...(dare I say broken ribs?) I'll just say, unforeseen problems ;o)

Gabriele C. said...

Same here. I prefer to read and write about attractive men.

Though the few women who play a major role in my books are usually on the prettier side as well. :)

December Quinn said...

My people are always highly attractive but imperfect, because I do believe it's fantasy but don't want to go too crazy. Besides, the important thing is that they're incredibly handsome or beautiful to each other.

That said, I do avoid description as well. A general hair/eye color and build are plenty, with something like "handsome" thrown in, then I might mention the flaw later-a couple of crooked teeth that show up in the smile, maybe, or a nose larger than average that gives a face character. (But then, I like men with big noses.)

mizfit said...

hey there! quite a funny post u got here!

for me to identify with a blogspot heroine, she must b plump, cute, poor at maths, with no sense of directions and passionate about ice-creams:)