Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Unfatally Flawed



I recently read an article online called Real Woman, Real Beauty. In it six women embraced their ‘flaws’ of excessive curves (kind of guilty), flat chests (nope), scars (yup), booty (yeah, I guess, but I’m no J-Lo), wrinkles (some), and a gap-toothed grin (no, but I was born without permanent teeth in two spots which makes me look slightly hillbilly). I applaud Barbra Streisand who kept her nose and her unique beauty. I’ll always remember a girl in high school, who had a lovely, long Modigliani face and ruined herself with a pugnose nose job.

Writers are encouraged not to create perfect, unrealistic protagonists, that imperfection itself can be a mark of character. Whether physically or psychologically flawed---or sometimes both---we root for romance to transform our heroes and heroines. Loretta Chase’s Dain springs immediately to mind. Can you think of others whose defects are delicious? If you write, what’s real about your characters? Do you have a flaw that awes? Would you ever consider plastic surgery?

12 comments:

Tessa Dare said...

Oh, I've had this topic in mind for a TMI Tuesday... As a kid, I always wanted an ear job. I have these pointy, elfin ears that were/are the bane of my existence. I always wanted to get them clipped and pinned. Sometimes I still do, but then... alas, I've given them to my daughter, and that hardly would seem fair. If she's stuck with them, I feel I should be. And then, as I age there are more pressing - or should I say, sagging - needs. I think I'd go for a tummy tuck instead. :)

But yes, I love flawed heroes and flawed heroines. Like Hamlet. My high-school senior heart still bleeds for Hamlet. But I especially love it when characters are aware of their flaws and actively trying to overcome them. That's what I'm striving for with my current hero, Gray.

Stephanie said...

This is always such a problem for me! I have to force myself to write some sort of flaw because I'm one of those who tends to be drawn to the "perfect" (even when reading). I'm sure that's strange. Maybe there are "flaws" that I don't ever pick up as flaws. Who knows. Either way... when it comes to my own personal life I'm different. I like when people don't get surgery because I feel like it's something special to share the features of your face with other family members. It's a history of sorts! I also like when people can recognize aspects in their life that they can work on and improve.

beverley said...

Gosh, so many where do I start? I always want to have my boobs lifted (still do). Hmmm, flawed heros. I love the guys who aren't classically good-looking, but it all fits together just the way it should.

terrio said...

I've had plastic surgery but I had them reduced and not enhanced. I'd have little stuff done but nothing like a face lift or a chin implant. Though I'd have the fat sucked out of my upper arms in a heartbeat.

I think of Josie from Pleasure for Pleasure. So much of her character was based on how she saw herself. How she saw flaws that didn't exist. Also, the idea that she saw those flaws because she compared herself to other ladies in society so fits life today.

The heroine of my single title thinks she's too thin, cheek bones too high, eyes and hair dull when really she's quite beautiful. In the new novella I'm developing, the heroine is 35 and slightly overweight. But when she spends an incredible weekend with a 23 yr old hottie, she learns there is *nothing* wrong with her body. *g*

Maggie Robinson said...

Ooh, Terrio, you naughty minx. Sounds like a good plot. I'm way too chicken for lifts, reductions, etc, but every now and again I can understand why people mess w/ their eyelids and chins. And I just don't wear sleeveless tops even when I'm sweating to death. My upper arms have a life of their own.

Tessa, Sadie has elf ears. I bet you're as cute as she is. Can't wait to read Gray's story.

Steph, there are a lot of people who don't like the "unhandsome" hero. Some found Elizabeth Hoyt's RP less than satisfactory because of the hero's imperfections. To each his own!

Beverley, every time I look at an alledgedly gorgeous male model (or even most book cover guys), I am less than thrilled. Gibe me a real man with, as you say, everything fitting together as it should!

irisheyes said...

I use to think my hair was my fatal flaw! I have red curly hair. I hated it. I wanted to be blonde and beautiful. I would curse at my mother every day and swore when I was old enough I would die it blonde. She smiled and said one day I would appreciate it. She was, as always, right. Now my hair is my favorite thing about my appearance (and I'll probably have to start dying it soon to keep it this color!).

In my opinion, it's all perception. One man's garbage is another man's treasure. The same goes with physical beauty. I have commented time and again how hot some guy looks and all the women around me give me a raised eyebrow look! I don't think there is one way to be beautiful and to try to achieve what you perceive to be that one way is such a waste of energy.

Another very important fact is that beauty is strongly connected, in my mind, with personality. I've seen so-called gorgeous people who weren't so gorgeous once they opened their mouths.

BernardL said...

Imperfection is the well-stone of attractiveness. No, I wouldn't get plastic surgery. If something on a person can't be changed with diet, exercise, or will power, maybe it ain't meant to be changed. :) Seriously though, my sister-in-law had breast reduction; and in her case, it was a physical necessity due to back and neck pain.

Maggie Robinson said...

Bernard, I'd never deny plastic surgery to those who want it for self-confidence/health reasons, but I wouldn't consider it unless I was disfigured by an accident...so I'm just going to droop and fade away...

Irish, I always wanted to be a redhead, and have been one---twice in my life. Both times with nearly fatal results. We're talking evil orange. I'm meant to be a blonde and all that implies.:) But I do have an auburn-haired daughter, so I get to play with her beautiful, curly hair.

BernardL said...

...so I'm just going to droop and fade away...

LOL! You won't be alone, Maggie. Even the surgeries for such things have to be repeated over and over. No Thanks.

Elyssa Papa said...

Didn't Clark Gable's child that he had with Loretta Young have her ears clipped as a child? I thought I'd read that somewhere...

Tessa, I'm with you on Hamlet but my heart always beat a little bit faster for Hotspur from Henry IV, part I... there's just something about a man who's passionate and a bit of a bad boy but loves his wife to pieces. Of course, it's not good when he's killed by Hal, but I still love Hotspur.

And I think Scarlett O'Hara is pretty flawed---I definitely think if she were alive, especially today that she would be like one of the Desperate Housewives on Bravo: Botoxed, Breast Enhancements, etc.

Maggie Robinson said...

LOL, Ely, on Scarlett O'Hara. I caught an ad on Bravo last night (while finally watching the finale of Project Runway) for that Desperate Housewives show and thought some of those women looked like drag queens!

Keira Soleore said...

I do wish I had flaws that drew whistles instead of boos or indulgent sighs. Plastic surgery for anything? No way! Have had enough real surgery to not want to undergo pain for uncertain gain.

I love heroes and heroines who are not wax statues. There was a time when I liked characters like that. These days, they just make me roll my eyes, and depending upon how perfect they are, they might be the reason for another dent on my wall.