Random thoughts on our impending doom and everyday life, courtesy of a Romance Writer who occasionally feels the need to talk like a Sailor.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

I like big butts... or, diversity in heroines is a good thing.

Bite me.

WARNING: This is a meandery post. Deal with it.

First up, I thought I’d write a post about my size 12 jeans. I love and hate those denim darlings with equal enthusiasm. Love them when I fit into them. Hate them when I don’t. At the moment (as for the past two years) those bastards have been sitting at the back of the cupboard, mocking me. No big surprise is it? Women complaining about their weight is pretty standard, and I’m certainly no exception. Over 50% of women are unhappy with their body size, we all know this. And a greater percent of the adult female population is size 14 or over as opposed to under. Yes, yes, I hear you say. All this sh*t gets bandied about in the press with annoying regularity. Look, *insert latest cool actress’s name here* has put on five kilos!! Oh noes, she’s a heifer! Wait, *whats-her-face* has lost 5 kilos!! She looks horrible! She’s a bad role model! Kill her in a fire! Well, maybe not quite that bad. But still, you get the drift.

Now, there have been some great Romancelandia books featuring plus sized heroines. One of my personal favourites is ‘Master of the Mountain’ by Cherise Sinclair, wherein the plump heroine ditches her mismatched model perfect boyfriend in exchange for a man who can appreciate a larger woman. And discovers kinky f*ckery, yes. But focus, we’re not talking spanking today, sorry. Maybe next week. The hero in ‘Master of the Mountain’ appreciates a buxom girl and all that often goes with a rack like that. It doesn’t take him long to likewise appreciate her keen mind and innate sense of kindness. He appreciates her inside and out, and that’s great.

Women’s bodies, evolutionary wise, were made for making babies. Boobs, hips, butt and belly, they’re all there for a good reason. But at some stage we lost sight of this. Still preaching till the converted? I know, I am. Bear with me. So, curves are cool. My heroine in ‘Room with a View’ (Promo break: It's a short story being released 1st of November which you can pre-order here.) is a curvy girl. I actually based her physically on the singer Adele, who I happen to think is awesomely talented and just lovely all round if what I’ve seen in interviews is any indication. To reward her for this awesomeness, I gave her a hot, young guy to save and seduce during a Zombie-Apocalypse. She’s welcome. But it’s not just curvy chicks that seem to be in the minority in Romancelandia. Whilst seeking realism in our world of guaranteed Happy Ever Afters might seem a little silly, I don’t think it’s misplaced. Are we fully embracing diversity in our heroines? And if not, why not? It’s time we did.

What about tall girls? Don’t they deserve the good lovin’ too? In Amy Andrews ‘Rescued by Doc Dreamy’, our heroine Callie is six-feet tall in her comfortable flats. In Fiona Lowe’s ‘Boomerang Bride’, our heroine Matilda is as flat-chested as they come. Body shape does not equal worth and nor does beauty. Truth is, I can far more easily relate to a homely girl who’ll never see the cover of Vogue than I can to a supermodel. That just makes sense, doesn't it? It might be fun to fantasise about every boy in the room being ensnared by my overwhelming beauty, but winning hearts and minds through courage and generosity of spirit is every bit as rewarding a tale, if not more so. Overcome adversity. Conquer your fears. Rock on.
Lady bits.
How about heroine’s who’ve chosen to go with their differences? Tattooed girls span the spectrum of life experiences these days. There is no one set ‘type’ that rock the ink. I know female lawyers with tatts. Not necessarily ye olde hidden tramp stamp either, but works of art in more public places such as on their forearms. How about geek girls? Go you good things! The brain is the biggest sexual organ, after all. Multi-cultural mammas? Absolutely, come at me! Every woman is a *real* woman. There is no one right female body type that outrules all of the rest.

Lust is an important component of erotic romance. There are many different ways to fantasize about being an object of desire. Different body types are sexy in themselves. They are objects of lust. Breasts are a perfect example. They are extraordinary in all their myriad shapes and sizes, touch and tone. Outside of character and story, each particular body shape has its own allure, its own type of sexiness. Diversity is sexy. A unique character is surely what we’re after when we pick up a book, that experience of slipping beneath another’s skin. Movies and TV tend to show a standardised version of women. In a way this makes sense, stories have to be told quickly, characters established in an instant, the moment they walk on screen. Following the template for female boss, mother, wife, sister etc is easier. Perhaps it’s in books where we can more easily stretch our wings and see life through another’s eyes. Walk in their shoes and hear their thoughts. Experiencing what makes that character feel sexy and what makes other people see them as objects of desire is all part of the joy.
Just out of interest...this vid is of newsreporter Jennifer Livingstone replying to a man who tried to bully her about her weight a couple of weeks back. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you watch it.

Got a favourite book about a heroine that didn't fit the mould? Why not share it in the comments...


  1. Go Jennifer - well said!
    I remember a book from many years past (over 35 in fact)...I cannot remember the author's name, nor the books title... but I do remember the story of a woman who was so sick and tired of being picked on by family, friends and strangers because she was tall, obese and not the standard ideal of beauty. She disappeared and became the guardian of a collection of animals on a reserve in the mountains. When a man (the hero) with a mission to save some animals he had rescued from a govt experiment arrived, they went through dangers, discoveries and life changing moments till she realised that she could be who she was and that she could love and be loved.
    At the end of the story, through all the physical exertion of the trek and rigours of their journey, she had lost SOME of her weight, gained a lot of muscle, acquired a nasty scar and a man who loved her for what and who she was.
    Wheat I loved about this story was that although she did change a little, it happened through circumstances - she didn't change to fit in or to please anyone.

    1. Hi Natasha, the book sounds really interesting. Especially given that the heroine's growth was due to her dealing with circumstances and not changing to fit or please. Which is exactly as it should be. Thanks for commenting. :) Cheers, Kylie

  2. Oh my giddy aunt YES! I know some people like their fiction fantastical, especially their romance, but me, I like people I can relate to. And that includes people who aren't physically perfect. I have yet to meet any person, including the apparently perfect, who doesn't have problems and insecurities or who is universally attractive, no matter how closely they adhere to societal norms. I don't need heroines to be bundles of neuroses but I do like them to be real. Bring on the tatts and the saddlebags and the blokes who can cope with a woman who is more than an airbrushed picture in a magazine!

  3. Brooke Dell-Sewell6 November 2012 at 21:36

    LOVE this post. And not just because I'm a female lawyer with tatts. :P