No heroic women?

Today I want to talk about heroes. Because today I saw this in a store:

It was the flipside to this:

Clearly intended to be a “boys side” and a “girls side” of one display. Of course, boys and girls (and their parents) are free to buy whichever books they want.

Just don’t expect to see a single female in the “Heroes” book. I looked through it. Not one.

Because, after all, there aren’t any female lifeguards, soldiers, search and rescue workers or police in real life, right?

I didn’t look through every page of every book on the stand, but I did glance through  “Sticker Dolly Dressing Around the World” and there were male characters. I assume “Bridesmaids” doesn’t depict boys, because by definition a bridesmaid is female (though the book might include grooms and ringbearers, I didn’t look through it so I don’t know). Later at home, I found a “Sports Girls” book available from the same publisher, but it wasn’t included in this particular store’s display.

Heroes should not be restricted to one gender. One of my heroic characters is an interstellar news blogger named Genny O’Riordan. When I wrote Stellarnet Rebel, the first book in the Stellarnet Series, I wanted to make Genny something more than a beautiful damsel in distress. She is beautiful, because she lives in a future where genetic modification is selected for her by her parents, who ensure she has perfect breasts, teeth, height and weight. But those qualities become irrelevant when she finds her soul mate in an alien whose standards of beauty are different than ours.

There are times when Genny is rescued, and there are many times when she does the rescuing. She kicks ass and fires weapons, but also uses her intelligence, wit, wisdom and humor to save herself, her friends, and ultimately a world.

Because there’s absolutely no reason why a woman can’t be heroic.

~ J.L. Hilton

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4 Responses to No heroic women?

  1. Jax Garren says:

    Wow. That’s… wow. What decade is it? *shakes head*

  2. Karen says:

    A woman could never be a hero. She could, however, be a heroine. 🙂

  3. J.L. Hilton says:

    Hero: a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act (

    “Usage Note: Many writers now consider hero, long restricted to men in the sense ‘a person noted for courageous action,’ to be a gender-neutral term…” (

    I reworded a few of the sentences in my original post from “hero” to “heroic.” Doesn’t change the point I was trying to make, but hopefully clarifies for those unaware of the gender-neutral usage.

  4. Sarah says:

    I would like to see stronger women in stories. Society sees us as the weaker sex, but we are able to hold our own.