So Where Are The Thick Romance Heroines?

This is is Part 1 of a series.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent rash of images on Facebook and elsewhere, of gorgeous women, who are in no way, shape or form, slender.  There’s a motivational poster out there called “Thick women” that has four not-slender women in various sexy poses, that encourages people to celebrate women in all their sizes.

It’s a laudable sentiment, and I encourage it.  Women should be appreciated for their inherent beauty, regardless of their current size.


Heroines in romance novels aren’t “thick”.  Every Hollywood A-List actress you could name is not “thick”.

When you read romance novels, do you ever image the heroine to be carrying the same excess weight as you?

I know I don’t.  The heroine is always the perfect weight I have never been.  She is my mirror image perfected.  She is me as I’ve never managed to achieve.

There was a short-lived attempt to portray “realistic” heroines, about fifteen years ago.  The Rubenesque romance line lived a short life and died quietly, unremarked.  These days, any romance heroine who is less than perfect is usually only found in chick lit or romances with a high comedic element, like Bridget Jones’ Diary, where the excess weight is part of the humour … as pathos.

We don’t like our heroines to be less than perfect.  I don`t believe Hollywood will be allowing their actors to gain weight any time soon, because the box office receipts will drop as the actors’ weights soar.

For the same reason, I don’t believe I would be willing to experiment with an overweight heroine in one of my romance novels.  I’m sure it would tank, just as my novels that feature non-Caucasian heroines do.

So while we’re saying we should celebrate the “real” shape of women, why do we cling to this perfect – and slender — image in books and movies?  I know I do it.

Next:  Slender Is A Status Symbol


2 thoughts on “So Where Are The Thick Romance Heroines?”

    1. Good to know, Vanessa. I’ll have to try some of her titles. I haven’t got around to Langlais yet, but I keep seeing her name pop up.


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