The poem Pretty Girl by Semhar Tadesse is one of my very favorites. I found it years ago on YouTube, but it is a poem that can haunt you and today it had me thinking about heroines. One of the hot topics on romance blogs/forums is whether or not heroines in romances should be beautiful and perfect or should authors write books about regular girls.
I’m torn because I love a pure fantasy based romance with my perfect hero and heroine. But sometimes it is refreshing to read about a woman who is overweight or dealing with a physical issue that makes her less desirable in the dating/marriage market. Those stories need to be told too. I believe that readers do want to read about someone they can relate to. And yet, we don’t give the “pretty girls” credit when we say that we can’t relate to them. As the poem above notes, beautiful women have their own trials and tribulations. And the sad part for me is that before hearing this poem, I had never considered what a burden beauty could be—I know, how naïve of me. So perhaps there need not be a debate between beautiful heroines and regular heroines. Maybe if authors reveal the plights of all these women, readers will be able to relate to the characters, whether they are pretty or not.