Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Girl Power

Posted by Christine Wells

Don't you love it when a girl gets nasty? Buffy, Sidney in Alias, Charlie's Angels, Wonder Woman. We love women who can defend themselves, whether it's from the Big Bad or against more human instruments of evil. Perhaps it's because women have traditionally been seen as passive victims--when a sister goes out there and kicks butt, we all cheer.

I, on the other hand, would never pass muster as a member of the Scooby gang. Sorry, Banditas, it's true confession time! A few years ago, I went camping with my boyfriend, my best friend Vikki and her boyfriend on Moreton, which is a sand island off the east coast of Australia. After a glorious afternoon sipping mango daiquiris on the beach, it started to rain. We managed a makeshift dinner and retired early to our tents, hoping the hole the dog had chewed in ours wouldn't let too much water in.

That night, a stranger came into our camp site. No, not the tall dark and handsome type of stranger, the tall dark and scary kind. There were people looking for him, he said. They were going to kill him and could he hide out with us until daylight? Short answer? Uh, no, I don't think so. The boys managed to persuade him to get out of the tent, but they couldn't make him leave the campsite.

Meanwhile, Vik and I stayed in her tent, scared out of our wits. The place was pretty isolated, and cell phone reception wasn't the best. The guy seemed like he might be on drugs and his wild talk of someone wanting to kill him didn't reassure us. I said to Vik, "Do we have anything we can hit him with if he gets violent?" Vikki held up a tin of baked beans with her usual eyebrow quirk. We both giggled nervously. And, I'm sad to report, we left our men to deal with it. They eventually got through to the police and kept an eye on the guy for the hour or more it took for the police SUV to arrive.

But when women show strength, it's not always in the physical sense, is it? What about the sheer courage it takes to love someone and believe in them and hold on to your integrity despite the temptations that lie in your path? What about Jane Eyre? Maddy-Girl of Flowers from the Storm? Soraya in Claiming the Courtesan? Even Lizzie in Pride and Prejudice showed inner strength in going against her mother's wishes and refusing to marry Mr. Collins. There is a lot to be said for a woman who can use wit, faith or integrity as their weapon instead of their fists.

So what about you? Do you like quiet strength or is the kick-ass heroine more your style? And when was the last time you kicked butt?


Christie Kelley said...

Great post, Christine. I have to admit, I don't know how I would react in a situation like yours. Very scary!

As far as my heroines, none so far have been the kickbutt type. Although in my wip my heroine will be murderer but only because of an accident. The book after that, my heroine will have to be much more kickbutt but it's a paranormal so very expected to have a heroine like that.

I can write heroine who are strong internally, but they're not the kickbutt type. How about any one else? Do you find it easy to write that type of heroine?

Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Christine and Christie,
It's TOO QUIET around here! Maybe we better Kick Some Butt!! HAHAHAHA!

Even though Aunty has a rep of kickin' butt and takin' names, I've actually had to do very little of it since I retired and my Lovely Child moved 400 miles away. But -- true confession time -- I was always a lot more talk than action. Luckily, since I have a very LOUD mouth, talk usually has been more than sufficient. Yes, it's true, one of my good friend's married a Brazilian and his nickname for me when translated from Portugese was 'razor blade tongue!'

Since my heroines are often involved with nasty bad guys, murder and mahem, they will step up and physically defend themselves (and the hero!) when need be. I have a bit of a hard time 'buying' some of the more physically aggressive heroines, but self-defense is totally believable!


FilmPhan said...

I like the kick ass type. Quiet strength is nice when it eventually comes out as something that knocks you over. I don't like a girl that cowers when we all know she has it in her to fight back.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Christie, AC and filmphan, I like the kick-ass heroine, as long as she is three-dimensional and you can see some kind of vulnerability there, too. Look at Buffy, she's the perfect example. She knows how to take charge, but there's a flipside of enormous responsibility that comes with that and she struggles with it daily. And no, I can't stand wimpy heroines. I just think you can show courage in many ways, not just the physical.

Oh, yes, I can see the tumbleweeds rolling down the streets outside the Bandita lair, AC! It's definitely too quiet. Actually, I thought of having my post today be a test pattern, like they used to have on TV! Can't wait to hear how the bandita raid on Dallas went.

Aunty Cindy said...

Aunty can't BELIEVE you are old enough to remember the test pattern (Aunty of course only read about them on Wikipedia... LOL)!

As for the raid on Dallas, I've heard some unsubstantiated rumors about cheesewire knickers and pimping. I'm sure those can't POSSIBLY be true, but we will have to wait and find out.

Meanwhile, bust out those cabana boys! We might as well kick up our heels here in the lair. ;-)

missing our buddies like crazy

Christine Wells said...

Cabana boys? Did someone say cabana boys???

Helen said...

I like the quiet strength of a hero but if the need arises and kick ass is needed then I am all for it. I am glad I wasn't camping with you Christine it would have rocked me. Have Fun

Amy said...

Hi, all. Just stumbled across this place and already I love it! Kick-ass heroines are my style. I find it hard to write anything else. And just as you said, I wouldn't have the courage my heroines have (at least I don't think I would)which is maybe why I like writing them so much.

One drawback I find in writing them, however, is that not everyone appreciates them and I always get get one judge out of three in a contest that doesn't like her or or think she's acting appropriately for a heroine.