Monday, December 20, 2010

The Heroine Complex

When I get hooked on a totally awesome heroine, I start to totally channel her.  I get a little nuts about how cool she is... For example, when I was into Twilight, I drove like a maniac (obvs like Alice and Rosalie, not Bella).  Since I am just now coming off a Vampire Academy induced high, I feel very close to Rose- but really I'm much more like Lissa.  I hate breaking the rules, I'm a peacemaker, and I can't imagine fearlessly staking evil vampires.  So the question is- do I like heroines who are like me, or heroines who I wish I could be like?  I'm a little bit obsessed with girl power, but am I really anything like Clary or Rose?

The heroine I am most like all in all is Alice from the Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.  I actually think I am teaching at the school that Alice's school is based on, which is kind of cool.  Alice is very unique- she has strong moral beliefs and tries to make good choices, but trouble seems to find her.  She wants other people to like her, and she often tries to take care of other people.  Alice also tends to be overly dramatic about things.  She has serious fears and worries that sometimes cause her to make bizarre choices, such as serving her brother breakfast with her friends in swimwear.  When I read an Alice book, I see myself as her in multiple ways.  I care way too much about other people being happy, I'm a little bit quirky, and I can be down-to-earth and chill when I feel like it.

My all time favorite heroine is Alanna the Lionness from Tamora Pierce's series.  While I'm not a knight, I'm a lot like Alanna- I have a quick temper, I love being around guys, I have red hair, I have a black and white cat, I am terrified of drowning because of an accident when I was a child, and I hate the cold.  I'm sure that there are other things that I'm forgetting... but I also strongly identified with Alanna and her inner struggle with being a woman.  When I was a senior in high school, I got a job at the National Institutes of Health, and I was suddenly thrust into an academic world where femininity had little value.  I adopted the uniform of my peers- I wore Reeboks, jeans, a t-shirt, and a pony tail everyday.  I stopped wearing contacts, opting for the more functional glasses.  During this time and even through college I really struggled with what it meant to be a woman.  Of course, there is much more to being a woman than clothing choices, but that was an outward reflection of my inner feelings on the matter.  Women have so little power in the world compared to men... in my heart, I wonder... why is that? Are women inferior?  What about in my faith- women are treated differently- does God view women differently than He views men?  Alanna went through a similar struggle.

Whenever I read a book about a physically strong heroine, I get a minor complex because I'm not athletic at all.  I'm decent at yoga, and I had brief success with team handball in the 8th grade, but other than that I blow at all things physical.  Heroines like Alanna, Rose, Isabelle, and the Cullen sisters make me want to learn martial arts.  That's definitely on my to-do list for the future, but at this point I can't because I'm a grad student/full time student teacher.  Girls can be strong, and I want to be part of that.  I hate feeling powerless- at this point, I'm reminded of a Madonna song- "What it Feels Like for a Girl"-

"Girls can wear jeans/ And cut their hair short/ Wear shirts and boots/ 'Cause it's okay to be a boy/ But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading/ 'Cause you think that being a girl is degrading"

I know that I've really digressed- but this just kills me!  And if looking like a girl is degrading- should we play up the girliness like Elle Woods or channel our masculinity like Sue Sylvester or Leslie Winkle?  I don't know...

But anyways-

Are you like or unlike your favorite heroines/heros?  Do you find yourself thinking, "Would SHE do that?"

1 comment:

  1. It's funny, but the two heroines you listed were both from series I loved growing up! Like you I felt I had a lot in common with Alice and really identified with her strongly. As for Alanna, she was the kind of heroine I admired but thought was totally unlike me. And LOL, I'm not really athletic either :D