Thursday, July 16, 2009

Weak heroines--an endangered species

Little Red Riding Hood was seduced by a wolf and saved by a burly woodcutter. She wouldn't make it into print these days. I'm not sure why. Is it because we think weak females don't really exist? Is it because we believe nothing of importance ever happens to them? Is it because we don't want to hear their stories? Do we think we're canonizing them by giving them words for their pain?

Perhaps we are afraid that if we give them ink, an entire generation of females will be seduced into becoming like them.

Our impatience with weak fictional females is undoubtedly a reflection of our view of the real-life kind. It's too bad. We oughtn't trod on the down-trodden.

Women trapped in abusive relationships can attest to the stigma they bear. They aren't eager to share their stories. We're not eager to hear them. So, the story remains untold.

In my adult crime novel, 'Noraebang', I explore a strong woman's descent into subservience. It sometimes takes a lot more strength and courage than we realize for a woman to put her soul on hold in order to survive. And, perhaps even more courage, to gain it back. "Noraebang"--the story of a weak heroine's courage. A story that ought to be heard.

Eileen Schuh,
Canadian writer

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