11 Ugly heroines. Well actually 11 not gorgeous-with-flowing-blonde-hair-and-hourglass-figure-heroines, I should say. That’s the number of heroines discovered by Crystal Paul in her recent post in Bustle just the other day.
Paul recognized what we have learned to take for granted: most heroines in fairy tales or movies are both courageous and drop-dead-gorgeous. Think about it: Wonder Woman, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Lara Croft….you get the idea. But why should that be? Why must these women look like they can easily jump onto the runway from their helicopters or horses? Why can’t we admire women who are, well, ugly? Eleanor Roosevelt was and still is admired, true. But we always seem to hear how unattractive she was too.
Yet not all heroines are actually beautiful. And they are pretty darn amazing figures. Paul found those heroines for us! While I agree with most of the list, I think Paul went a wee bit too far when saying Katniss isn’t beautiful. Yes her hair is dyed brown (um, is brown hair ugly all of a sudden??) and she’s often dressed in scrappy clothes, but I think we can all agree she’s pretty, well, pretty. But the rest of the list was quite interesting. While you can read the article for yourselves, I’m going to quickly list them:
Brienne of Tarth (Game of Thrones)
Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre)
Arya Stark (Game of Thrones, and my favorite character on the show :))
Celie (Color Purple)
Anne Elliot (Persuasion)
Shannon McFarland (Invisible Monsters)
Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games)
Hermoine Granger (Harry Potter)
Mary Bennett (Pride and Prejudice)
Pecola Breedlove (The Bluest Eye — one of the most influential books for me)
I have nothing against beautiful heroines. But I do appreciate a heroine who doesn’t NEED to be beautiful to be admired too. And the more diverse our heroines, the more we can relate to them. And what’s more, the more we will feel able to step in as a heroine from time to time ourselves.