Friday, March 5, 2010

Feminine Feminists

By Fiona Jayde (Guest Blogger)

As the role and power of women in society has been changing, so have female heroines. More and more we see instances where the heroine rescues the hero as well as apprehends the bad guy. More and more we see kickass women not afraid of danger while at the same time not afraid to show their softer side to their families, their friends and their lovers.

I always wonder how this role of feminism applies to our romance heroines. If a strong woman is aroused by a sexually alpha hero, does that mean she secretly craves to be "mastered"? Is she seen as weak by the reader? If a strong woman refuses to get into a fight with her assailant, choosing instead to give him her purse and safely get away, will the reader consider such action as weak? In real life, I'd call that smart, but would we expect extraordinary feats from our fictional heroines? On the other hand, if a heroine is too strong (mentally or physically), is the reader no longer able to identify with her?

Recently I saw a comment about Yancy Butler - who played the tough detective Sarah Pezzini in Witchblade, The Series. The comment was that the portrayal of Sarah was too masculine. These were all of course opinions, but considering that Butler was often shown in tiny tank tops which showed her belly and outlined her other assets, I had a feeling that the word "masculine" came from her behavior - tough, no nonsense, swaggering motorcycle riding asskicker. And this made me strongly question my own writing and my own heroines.

My favorite novels and shows features extraordinary kickass heroines: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Eve Dallas from In Death series, Maxine from Dark Angel with her genetically bred "super powers", Starbuck the Hotshot Pilot from BattleStar Galactica, Detective Sarah Pezzini from Witchblade. These are extraordinary women, most of them living in extraordinary times. They have loved, have lost, and have a soft spot under a hard shell exterior. And they kick major ass - as do the female characters I naturally gravitate toward writing.

In Pas De Deux, I was faced with a challenge of writing a very feminine heroine - since a ballerina would think twice about kicking someone for fear of hurting her feet! Lynn Kovaleva is determined to get back her reputation, despite the pain and discipline of arduous training. She is probably the most feminine heroine I've written (there's no punching bag in sight anywhere in the novel!). And yet I would still consider Lynn to be a kickass heroine - due to her immense inner strength and discipline. And her smart mouth:)

I did include a small kicking scene in Pas De Deux, but even that was done in a smooth motion resembling a dance.

Pas De Deux © Fiona Jayde

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She smiled, serene and beautiful. And Mateo barely missed a pink-shod foot aimed at his jaw.

He caught it just before she clocked him, felt a short tremble when he gave in to the urge and rubbed his thumb over her skin.

Those dark eyes flared wide and soft and brown.

“Let go.” A firm no-nonsense voice. More color on her cheeks.

“Say pretty please.”

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To The Readers: Who are some of your favorite feminine kickass heroines?

***

Fiona is a space pilot, a ninth degree black belt in three styles of martial arts, a computer hacker, a mountain climber, a jazz singer, a weight lifter, a superspy with a talent for languages, and an evil genius. All in her own head. In life, she is an author of kickass, action packed, steamy romances, possesses a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and blue belt in Aikido, a web developer, scared to death of heights, loves jazz piano, can bench-press about 20 pounds — with effort, speaks English and Russian fluently, and when not plotting murder and mayhem enjoys steamy romance novels, sexy spy thrillers, murky mysteries and movies where things frequently blow up. Her website is: www.fionajayde.com .

5 comments:

  1. Welcome to Beyond Romance, Fiona!

    You've made some interesting points here.

    I wish you lots of luck with Pas de Deux. I'm getting closer to being able to start Cold Victory -- I have a big to-read stack (even if it's virtual!)

    Warmly,
    Lisabet

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  2. Some of my favorite kickass heroines include Eve Dallas from the In Death Series, Anita Blake from the Anita Blake series, Catherine Crawfield from the Night Huntress series and Mercy Thompson from the Mercedes Thompson series. Mercy is a little more laid back but has alot of personal inner strength.

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  3. Eve Dallas- In Death Series is the only favorite I have.

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  4. Hi Lisabet - thanks so much for having me on your blog!

    I'm all about Eve Dallas:) I haven't checked out the Night Huntress series - sounds like a terrific read! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Favorite feminine kickass heroines?

    Gee, I can't think of one....sheesh...

    I need to check out this Eve Dallas though!

    I look forward in reading Pas de Deux.

    Thanks,
    Tracey D

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