Sunday, April 22, 2012

Women in Fiction

by Heaven Liegh Eldeen

With the recent release of my novella, The Demon Side, I decided to do a little research into who is today’s reader. Spending hours upon hours speaking with friends, random folk at the library, and reading article after article pertaining to studies online, only one conclusion is clear. More women read than men, especially when it comes to the Fiction genre.

Now, I am sure we can think of a million and one reasons why this is; everything from the obvious differences of gender, to the theory men’s brains are more drawn to mathematical and scientific studies, whereas women tend to be the more literature and creative driven sex. No matter the reasoning, it doesn’t change the facts that women rule the book world.

With this new found knowledge, one question keeps popping up in my head…where are the real heroines at? And, no, I don’t mean bat girl. I mean really, what woman would waste three hours a nightsqueezing into that outfit before she’s off to fight the crime of Gotham City? I don’t believe for one minute any woman can do a round house kick in a pleather cat suit without pulling hergroin.  Trust me, I’ve tried.But that’s a story for a different day.

My personal opinion is, too many novels focus either on a five-foot-nine, hundred-thirty pound, overly attractive, mindless twit of a woman being the helpless damsel in distress, trusting the first guy she meets with her life, then shesuddenly falls in love with her hero, or you find an unrealistic,six foot, hundred-twenty pound, ass kicking broad with an I.Q. far beyond that of Albert Einstein’s, who happens to have an arsenal of top secret military equipment in her underwear drawer next to her four hundred dollar Nancy Meyer thongs.

I’m not complaining, mind you. I love those novels. I am a sucker for super-secret feminist agents and the girl next door survivalist. But, where is the five-foot-five, hundred-sixty-nine pound housewife with three kids, who can swing a broom better than Babe Ruth or Reggie Jackson can swing a bat and knows that running up the stairs to get away from an ax murderer equals eminent death?

Where is the relatable, everyday woman we pass each day in the aisles of Wal-Mart? Why can’t she save the world with a blue light special shotgun and her knowledge of household chemicals? Would it be so bad if the first time she nabs herself a hottie, she forgot to shave and yet he still can’t help but to rub her legs up and down until he finally…well, you get the idea.

Truth be told, the reason we don’t find our super heroes and ultimate victims at the local thrift store is because too often, they remind us of our own realities. What woman wants to spend her hard earned money and few precious moments of free time reading about what may be herself? I definitely do not. I’m reminded enough of this when I walk past my kitchen and see the line of tourists waiting to catch a glimpse of my leaning tower of dishes in the sink.

We buy into these women because they offer us an alternate world, far from the daily charade of keeping up with our responsibilities.  Throughout the chapters, we can choose who we wish to be, depending how the story unfolds. No longer are we the everyday woman rushing the kids off to school, racing to work, arguing about who is picking up Timmy from soccer practice and wondering why our underwear drawer is filled with chocolate and granny-panties instead of a laser sighted mini-gun.

 One paragraph may beckon us to be the woman suffocating her perfect body in a undersized cat suit, when the paragraph after, demands we allow the true hero to take our hand and lead us into the burning building of unavoidable doom.And all it costs is a little of our time, faith in our imagination and a small cover charge.

1 comment:

Barbara Elsborg said...

Speaking as a tall, blonde superwoman - I have no idea what you're talking about!! I save the world every day with a finger flick. LOL
In reality of course, I'm somewhat different but I know how I'd like to be....