I am the unlikeable heroine

18 Jan

I’m not sure when a person realizes they are the unlikeable heroine.

It could be on the playground when they wear bright pink pants to school and everyone calls them: “the pink-pancer”.

It could be the horribly awkward middle school event when it was so hot they sweated like crazy and no one asked them to dance.

It could be the time they fought with their best friend and realized they didn’t have another friend to turn to.

It could be the time after time they trusted and learned they shouldn’t have.

It could be as an adult, when friendships are the hardest to find and keep.

It could be every time they attempt a conversation and the dreaded dead silent pause that haunts and lingers in the days and months after.

I’m not sure when we start telling girls they’re unlikeable. I see it in the media all the time.

The world tells us we must be young, and beautiful, and smart, but probably not too smart, maybe not too beautiful, definitely not too young.

The world tries to tell us we’re not unlikeable heroines, while enforcing we’re unlikeable heroines.

It’s not that I don’t want kickass heroine superheroes who are smart and compassionate and have wicked skills with a weapon. I love stories like this, write stories like this, and I’m happy to see more of them lately. I’m happy we’re being allowed to expand the narrow perception of media.

We aren’t always getting it right, but we can all see the attempts, even as we watch the stumbling.

I stumble.

I know I don’t always get things right. I know I’m not particularly adept at making people feel comfortable. I know my smile doesn’t come across as reassuring (when I’m uncomfortable, I kind of smile like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory when he’s faking it).

I know I’m painfully awkward and shy around strangers.

I know I can kill a conversation in ten seconds flat.

I know I’m jumpy and extremely distrustful of everyone. I know I’m paranoid to an unhealthy degree, and I know I’m not the fun girl, the girl who’s different, the girl who saves the day.

I know these things because I’m the unlikeable heroine. I’m terrible at cooking and keeping the house clean. I don’t remember things unless I write them down, and then I have to remember where I wrote them. I have massive driving anxiety so I guess carpool mom of the year is out.

I’m full of empathy but guilty of not having empathy at times. I can mourn for strangers sometimes better than I can mourn for a friend.

I could attempt to use a sword but it’d probably be more dangerous for me than you.

I am whiny, and dramatic, and annoying as all hell. Half the time I annoy myself, so I’m sure I annoy others.

I try to be respectful of people but catch me in a bad mood, and I might snap.

I rarely get super angry, but when I’m pissed, stand down.

The hardest part about being unlikeable is you know other people have their own quirks, yet they don’t seem so unlikeable. So what is it about you?

Sometimes when I read about unlikeable heroines, I start to feel really bad about myself. Because I am the unlikeable heroine, and I always have been.

It’s important to ones sense of self to be likeable. It’s not even that much of a compliment. It’s just the ability to be liked. It’s not even committing to full on like.

No one should grow up feeling like the unlikeable one. They are the heroes and heroines in their own journeys, and they should get to be who they are, flaws and all.

Everyone has the ability to be liked. Let’s stop taking that away from people.

If you want to read great stories about incredible heroines who are flawed and awesome I’d try Kresley Cole, G.A. Aiken, Victoria Dahl, and Tamara Morgan if you haven’t already. Share more suggestions in the comments if you’d like because that’s just off the top of my head.

-Kinley Baker
-Kinley Cade
@KinleyBaker

If you want to read my rant about millennial news coverage, check out last week’s post HERE.

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8 Responses to “I am the unlikeable heroine”

  1. Jordan L. Hawk January 18, 2016 at 1:37 am #

    Anything by Skyla Dawn Cameron, who writes UF with glorious heroines who have many of the traits you list.

    • Kinley Baker January 18, 2016 at 1:59 am #

      I have not read Skyla. Thanks for the rec!

  2. jolenenavarro January 18, 2016 at 7:24 am #

    I love Cole – she is one of my go to authors. Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes some great female characters. She is one of the best in contemporary when it come to real characters. Gena Showalters is another favorite. I used to think people didn’t want me around – I got over that in my late thirties and in my forties as I creep into fifty? It was been awesome – the awkward middle school girl that followed me around finally realized it wasn’t about her. 🙂

    • Kinley Baker January 18, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

      I love Showalters! I haven’t read much SEP. I will. I’m getting over it, too. Lol. But it was still me for a long time. 😀

  3. evependle January 18, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    Also, Cecilia Grant, and Rose Lerner. Theresa Romain also has some gloriously unlikable heroines. I

    I really dislike the term ‘likable’, where it relates to heroines. Relatable also pushes all my growl buttons.

    You can’t win. A heroine is either to strong, or too feisty, or too sappy, or TSTL. Whereas we (as a romance community) accept heros who are total douche bags. I guess all we can do is write books for people who read for a different experience of life, rather than some idealised romance… oh hold on. 😉

    • Kinley Baker January 18, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

      I have Cecilia, Rose, and Theresa on my Kindle. Great choices! I agree our standards for heroines are different than heroes. I included a section about this in the post, but I took it out to keep the focus. It will no doubt end up in a future post though.

  4. Lisa Kessler January 19, 2016 at 6:49 am #

    First off, as a person who has known you online and met in person, you are VERY likable! 🙂 Yes, I’ll give you that you’re shy, but TOTALLY likable! 😀

    Heroines in fiction are always tough to write. It’s a fine line between strong and bitchy, and between flawed and weak. It’s a tightrope for sure!

    But if I could reach through this screen and hug you, I would! 🙂 Stop calling yourself unlikeable and remember you are WORTH knowing… ❤

    *HUGS*

    • Kinley Baker January 20, 2016 at 3:01 am #

      Lol, Lisa. Thank you! I think I’ve been pretty non-awkward around you, but then you put everyone at ease in the best way. 🙂 *hugs*

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