Wanted: heroine indifferent to her looks.
March 23, 2015 § 11 Comments
Tonight* a coworker and I made an exception for a young female patron – probably seven years old – and allowed her to check out books when normally policy would forbid it. (Shh, don’t tell…) Her father was pushy, but the girl was so polite and cheerful when we told her about the limit, that we felt bad saying no. As my coworker walked away, leaving me to finish checking the books out, the girl’s father whispered to her, “See? It’s because you’re cute.”
I tried to hide my irritation and temper his remark by smiling at her and saying, “We’re letting you check more out because you were so nice about it. We didn’t like to have to keep saying no to you, because you were so polite!” But I couldn’t help thinking the damage was already being done. At seven years old, she is already learning that her looks are what make her exceptional, and they will get her what she wants.
I am not going to rant about our culture’s obsession with body image and beauty in general. I’m not going to vent my frustration at the way girls are taught at such a young age to value their looks above their character. I’m going to stick to the book theme here, don’t worry.
I will simply be keeping an eye out for (fictional) heroines whose looks are not important, to them or their authors. Heroines who are barely described, who spend no time detailing their clothing or hair, whose love interests don’t fall in love with them because or in spite of their physical beauty. These heroines may be attractive or plain, but the important thing is that their looks are not significant.
If you know of any (fictional) heroines who fit this description, please let me know! I think a list of such protagonists would be so useful.
*I originally wrote this post on a weeknight after work.