Monday, April 02, 2007

The Law of Attraction?

Love isn't blind, it's retarded. ~ Don Foster and Susan Beavers, Two and a Half Men

Twice this weekend -- once in a movie and once in a book -- I've had the (dis)pleasure of partaking in a romance story with a snarky heroine and a kind and gentle hero.

I know, I know, the brow-beating, arrogant, obnoxious alpha-males of the seventies and eighties have gone by the wayside (thank heavens... I like me an alpha male, but not the brow-beating, obnoxious kind), but have we replaced them with the female version?

In the movie, I was doubly horrified, because the man was played by one of my favorite male actors: Pierce Brosnan -- completely NOT a beta hero IMHO. But in this movie, he was. The heroine was insecure and took it out on him at every turn. He ripped open his chest and handed her his heart at one point (don't ask me why), and she chopped it up and served it to the dogs.

In the book, which shall remain nameless, it's the same way. The hero is thoughtful and kind, does nice things for the heroine and she slaps him down EVERY TIME. And yet, he spends the book thinking about how wonderful she is. HUH?

I'm all for a strong, self-sufficient woman as heroine. I don't have a problem with snarky heroines (I've got a couple myself). BUT. But don't they also have to have redeeming values that are evident to the hero? Should the reader/viewer want to reach out and slap both the H/H silly? Should I wonder WHAT ON EARTH the guy sees in her (other than the fact that both women were beautiful). Do men really think with other parts of their anatomy to that extent -- so that they fancy themselves in love with these women who abuse them?


Okay, stepping down from my soap box.

To lighten things up a bit, I offer you this:

You Are Cyclops

Dedicated and responsible, you will always remain loyal to your cause.

You are a commanding leader - after all, you can kill someone just by looking at them.

Power: force beams from your eyes

Don't forget to leave a comment and be entered in my contest! Every time you comment this week, you earn another entry. Good luck!


Judy said...

RE: snarky heroine/beta hero. Do you think it might be a reaction to the fact that for so long there were really horrible male characters and submissive women? Kinda like the pendelum swinging? I don't know, I'm just throwing that out. I've not read any books like that, so I'm definitely not saying it's a good thing, but I just wonder for the sake of conversation. From the way you describe them, I would want to slap 'em as well. Also... another contest for you on my BAFABW post. Check it out.

Sonja Foust said...

That is a seriously great quote up at the top there. :-) I might have to adopt it.

I think a lot of people mean to write "strong" women and end up with bitchy ones. It's a fine line, but you're right, it's overstepped often.

Charity said...

Nothing bugs me like the strong woman = bitch paradigm these days. We saw a lot of it with the "kick-ass" heroine, along with the reasoning that the only way for a woman to be "kick-ass" was to come from some horribly dysfunctional background.

Cuz you know, "normal" women just don't up and join the military, or whatever. ;-)

Gah. This is turning into a rant, and I have my own blog for that.

anno said...

I am forever grateful to Carol Shields for teaching me that intelligence can be shown in warmth and humor as easily in snide or sarcastic comments. Personally, I suspect that bitchiness indicates brittleness.

BTW, I'm Jean Grey!

Tori Lennox said...

I got: "You Are Jean Grey
Although your fate is often unknown, you always seem to survive (even after death).
Your mind is your greatest weapon, literally!

Powers: telepathy and telekinesis, the ability to project thoughts into the mind of others, communication with animals"

As for snarky heroines, most of mine are pretty snarky, but hopefully not in a MEAN way. But at least the guys give as good as they get.

Gay said...

I got: "You are Wolverine"... I guess that means I'm his female altar-ego.

I can live with that.

My heroines are usually stronger and more intelligent than they give themselves credit for, and they learn that about themselves over the course of the story. Except for the gritty, in-your-face protags who give the guys the what-for that inhabit some of my short stories.

It's my heroes who aren't run-of-the-mill. They are frequently the guys that most girls overlook: funny, not overly masculine, a hoot to be with, fiercely loyal, often leaning towards "metrosexual" in their younger years but blooming into the ideal man when the other guys become selfish dolts later in life.

Shauna said...

I think a good romance should make you fall in love with both the hero and heroine. Of course they're both going to have faults - I mean who doesn't? - but it drives me crazy when a heroine is constantly slapping the hero in the face...figuritively speaking. Of course, I don't like a strutting, ego-maniac hero either...makes you want to slap him in the face...literally!

Rob said...

Perhaps, if love is always in the eye of the beholder, men and women, heroes and heroines, always see each other as they are not.

Since misunderstanding and mystery arguably lie at the heart of great romance, maybe confused signals must always rule.

As writers, our thoughts, ideas, story lines and emotions twist this way and that like the trees in the wind and we love it that way.

Could it be that romance is the only true spice of life?

However, what would I know? I am a man ...