If forty is the new twenty, does that mean two-hundred is the new one-hundred? Well, why not? We no longer live in a world where all men, even the evil ones, wear suits and hats, and all women have perfectly coiffed hair, and a string of pearls around their necks. Oh, and they all wear dresses. June Cleaver types we aren’t.
I remember when I first began reading romance novels, and heroines seemed to come from the same mold. Unlike real women, they were perfect, dainty little creatures who always appeared helpless, and needed to be taken care of. The kind of heroine who stood by ready to swoon while the hero is fighting the villain to the death. Think of Barbara Cartland books. I loved reading her books, and almost cut my teeth on them. However, they all had the same ring of similarity about them with regard to the type of heroines. I’m in no means belittling her books, I read so many of them in my early twenties that I probably paid a mortgage or two for her.
If you are like me, most likely you put yourself in the heroines place while you’re reading a romance. What women doesn’t want to be fought over or rescued, and then taken into the hero’s arms and kissed senseless? Course back then, and I’m talking thirty years easy, it was hard to picture myself as the heroine. I’ve always been curvy, voluptuous, or fat as it was most commonly called. You know, before the world became politically correct, and we started using phrases that didn’t, hopefully offend anyone. Think of the debate over something the CEO of Abercrombie & Fintch said that he recently took heat over. Yeah, I was right there!
I’m here to say that heroines have gradually changed into the real women of today. It began with our heroes. They now come in all shapes and sizes. Some are bald, have long hair, tattoos, piercings. Some drive trucks, ride motorcycles, or fly. They are tall, not so tall, and come in all shades of color. They have fangs, claws, scars, and most of them all have one thing in common. They are sexy as hell to the heroine in some way.
Heroines have evolved, too. Yeah, baby! Today our heroines are tough, sassy, can take care of themselves and their men, and are comfortable in their own skin. They’re not perfect. Who is? Writers quickly figured out that readers want to read about real heroines. And those are short, tall, curvy, sassy women who aren’t dainty and weak as they’ve been made out to appear in yonder years. Real women! We can so relate to the curvy, girl next door who covets the sexy fire-fighter across the street. Right now they’re friends, but can they be more? Hell, yes!
As a woman with curves, I wrote A Perfect Fit deciding my heroine would be a plus-sized model. So, what is plus-sized? I had one reader comment about the book cover because she said the heroine was definitely not plus-sized. Well, I did my research and found that the modeling industry perceives a woman the size of twelve and over as plus-sized. My heroine is a size sixteen. So I guess it all depends on your perception.
People carry their weight differently. Duh! I used to carry my extra pounds really good, I actually had a figure. But as the years added up my curves began to re-shape themselves until I began to look like a lumpy potato with arms and legs. We all know if you’re six-feet tall and weigh two hundred pounds or five-feet tall and weigh two hundred pounds your body shape will be a lot different.
Plus-sized doesn’t always mean fat, or voluptuous as I like to say. But a size sixteen, one hundred and sixty pound something model is considered plus-sized. Does my six-feet tall, big as Texas hero care? Hell no! As soon as he saw her walk the runway, wearing a sexy corset, he got a serious itch that didn’t go away, until he did something about it.
This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Tory Richards is the author of erotic, contemporary and paranormal romance. Content of Curvy is the New Skinny is the author’s personal opinion gained from her knowledge of what readers are looking for in heroines of today. For question, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website, toryrichards.com.