Hi everyone! I am YA author B A Binns , writer of contemporary and realistic fiction for teens. My tagline tells you what I am about - Stories of Real Boys Growing Into Real Men - and the people who love them.
I found three definitions for Hero in the dictionary –
- A person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
- One who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal.
- The principal male character in a story.
Only that last definition requires a specific gender.
I know, this is "Romancing the Genres" so we should be about the romance conventions so definition number three should take precedence. And yet, maybe it's because I primarily write YA and things are a little looser in that genre, I prefer definitions 1 and 2. Those do not require a different word to distinguish between the male and female. In the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen is the hero, no feminization of the word is required. Peeta and Gale are love interests or sidekicks, she is the HERO saving the districts from the capital.
Actor Asia Kate Dillon, who plays a gender non-binary character, Taylor Mason on the Showtime series Billions - http://www.sho.com/billions, (and who personally identifies as non-binary) is uncertain whether to be nominated in the Emmy category of Best Supporting Actor or Best Supporting Actress. Dillon wrote a letter to the Television Academy, stating, in part,
"I’d like to know if in your eyes 'actor' and 'actress' denote anatomy or identity and why it is necessary to denote either in the first place?" and that "...if the categories of 'actor' and 'actress' are meant to denote assigned sex I ask, respectfully, why is that necessary?"Why indeed?
It is worth noting that the Academy's answer was that any performer could submit under any category for any reason.
M/M and F/F are both compelling sub-genres of romance. One of my favorite M/M romances, Mexican Heat, has two luscious male leads, Antonio and Gabriel. I assure you, neither played the part of the female in their growing relationship. Both the men in this 2009 Lambda finalist book are heroes in their own right. I found both so compelling I have never forgiven the author for never presenting readers with the promised sequel.
For me, a hero, no matter what the archetype, is the protagonist who goes through an emotional inner arc, and who pushes past obstacles to get the job done. Alpha or beta, any archetype and, yes, any gender, if they see what needs to be accomplished and do not shirk the task but see it through to completion is a hero. Maybe that makes me more of a Woman's Fiction that a Romance aficionado, as you will see by my favorite book hero and series of all time..
|A brief selection of some of the 13 Angelique books|
There are men in her life, many of who would be considered the hero in another book with a different heroine. But Angelique is always the hero of her own story. The men she encounters may be handsome, strong, smart and capable (she deserves no less). In the end, most are little more than her love interests, like Peeta and Gale are to Katniss.
Except for Angelique in Love which turns out to be a larger than life romance between Angelique and Rescator, the pirate who has been after her ever since she left the harem in Book 3. He emerges as a true hero for Angelique, possible the only man in history strong enough to be her match.
See, even I can have have one traditional hero on my list.
If you have any heros (male or female, or other) that you would like to discuss, and books to recommend, I'd love to hear about them. Drop a comment and share the particulars.