Stereotypical chic-lit heroines

Some might find the adjective "stereotypical" I chose to use in the subject line interesting since it appears that the whole point of heroines in chic-lit (let’s say, Hunger Games, Divergent, etc…) is to avert the traditional female character profiles in literature. However, as far as contemporary chic-lit books go, the heroines actually seem more stereotypical than ever. They go through battle combats, or training processes that used to be considered only for man. They break gender roles usually at the cost of the abandon of their own characteristics as a female: sexuality, physical beauty, obedience (or, rather, the willingness of submitting to others’ decisions without perpetual argument), etc…
For me, such characters do not contribute to a solid, independent interpretation of contemporary female identity.

  • Hear hear. Critical feminist interpretations open now. Agreed 100%. We are exchanging one stereotype for another. One TV show that deals with this is Drop Dead Diva. I find TV offers more character development. Movies though have wholeheartedly embraced the new badass stereotype of womanhood. While I do appreciate the change in some ways, in others ways I would prefer to see more variety among female movie roles. – Munjeera 8 years ago
  • A big problem with the stereotyping of women is that if they're not the feminine ideal, they're often portrayed as a masculine ideal: unemotional, strong, good at fighting, etc. I think it's a reason why a lot of people like Harley Quinn (I know this isn't literature exactly, but it's the first reference I could think of). She's definitely very capable at what she does, but she's still flawed: she's goofy, she's madly in love but in an abusive relationship, she's violent, and no one of those things defines her entirely. Because she's not supposed to represent an ideal or be a role model, she's allowed a lot of space to make mistakes, whereas the clearly heroic Wonder Woman feels kind of like a standard or optimal type of womanhood that could never be achieved. – chrischan 8 years ago
  • Agree with chrischan. The contemporary female literature is greatly affected by latest feminism waves that believe being equal means the abandon of one's own feminist characteriatics. Not only are people encouraged to devalue or neglect the physical beauty of a female, many are also stigmatized by radic "feminists" when if they put focus on the female body. From movie auditions to literature characters, we often hear how it is the inner that matter and those who look for physical beauty are superficial sexists – are they? Recommended reading, Mina Loy on feminism – Chiharu 8 years ago
  • I agree wholeheartedly. It might be interesting to look at why these female characters are extremely unlikable too (such as Katniss from the Hunger Games; most people I talk to either hate her, or just like her because she's the protagonist). I would also suggest that you look at characters that break the stereotype in order to draw attention to the frequency of the stereotype (a character that comes to mind is the protagonist from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landeau-Banks-- which is also debatable) – ainjelwings 8 years ago
  • to ainjelwings. It is almost impossible for me to think about any exceptions in American productions except for maybe the girls in RWBY. But for Asian especially Japanese animes there are tons. KANAME MADOKA in Magika Madoka, for example,would be an interesting character to look into. – Chiharu 8 years ago
  • Legally Blonde is another examples that does fit either female stereotype. – Munjeera 8 years ago
  • I love and embrace the idea that a heroine going through combat has become stereotypical. I have found myself discouraged as a woman, especially as a single thirty-something, because of a narrative that says, "Men want women who can do anything they can, but do it better." Where did all the feminine heroines go? It's discouraging that more authors are not attempting to create feminine heroines who are not also simpering damsels. As a woman crying out for a happy medium, I would love to see this topic written (and may explore it myself, although I'm pretty new here). – Stephanie M. 7 years ago

Want to write about Literature or other art forms?

Create writer account