Annoying heroines

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Tue Aug 20 14:29:25 EDT 2002

On Tue, 20 Aug 2002 10:42:59 +1000, Kathleen Jennings wrote:

>I haven't read the book, so I don't know what makes this particular heroine
>so aggravating - but what are the factors, features that generally make a
>heroine annoying? And why are heros less often so?

My take on this is a little different from Robyn's.  My opinion is that what
makes a character (or a plot type, or a method of description) annoying is
always dependent on the reader.  You could probably come up with some
characteristic that annoys a lot of people, but mostly it's a very personal
thing (just like what kinds of books you like and why you like them).  Hence
my comment that I didn't find the heroine of _Household Gods_ terribly
annoying, even though Robyn did.  If there were some absolute standard about
what was Annoying, one of us would have to be wrong.  :)  Readers'
preferences dictate what kinds of characters they will find annoying, and to
what degree.  Jacob and I argue sometimes about characters who are Stupid;
he dislikes reading books in which the protagonist, male or female, has no
good reason for failing to understand what's going on.  I don't care nearly
as much about that as he does.  But he also likes books in which the heroine
is a woman's fantasy (I can't explain this without being seriously
uncharitable, and no, it's not sexual) and those drive me INSANE.

I don't know if heroes are less often annoying than heroines.  Most of the
books I read happen to have female protagonists, so it stands to reason that
I'd see more annoying females than males.  One thing I noticed is that there
are certain traits I'm more willing to put up with in women than in men, and
vice versa.  I'm sure there's something sexist going on there, but I don't
know what it is.

Melissa Proffitt

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