Annoying heroines

Rebecca Ganetzky rganetzk at
Tue Aug 20 14:41:14 EDT 2002

--On Tuesday, August 20, 2002 12:29 PM -0600 Melissa Proffitt 
<Melissa at> wrote:

> 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
> 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.
I've been noticing this about myself in real life.  Namely, I have very 
different standards for males and females.  For example, I currently have 
two co-workers.  One is female and one is male.  Although they're about 
equal in terms of competence, I find the female one far more irritating. 
Additionally, as a general rule, I will fault females more for being 
stereotypical females than I will fault males for being stereotypically 
male.  I'm not sure why this is true, except that I work as a programmer 
right now, and I feel like there are so few female programmers that we 
should all be very competent, because each one of us is that much of a 
proportion of the female programmer population.  But I have this issue 
outside of programming too.  I was discussing this with one of my friends, 
who's Chinese, and she said that she feels this way with Caucasians vs. 
Chinese.  She holds Chinese people to a much higher standard, and gets 
annoyed much more easily with them if they don't meet her standards.
Is this just a quirk in me and her, or do other people tend to judge others 
of their gender/religion/ethnicty/fill-in-the-category more heavily than 
those not?
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