Discussion: Badass Heroines ~ Real Badass or Brawling Bitch?

Sorry WoW peeps, I put the wrong link in: WoW is here

The Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Futuristic, Sci-Fi = Totally awesome Badass Females


  • What makes a heroine a genuine–bonafide– Badass vs just a Bitch or a teenybopper badass?

Erika: She has to have attitude, like AH says, and she has to have a style. My fictional Badass Heroine has to have snark, be humorous, and be a hardass. She has to kick ass first, apologize later. She has to not let a man dictate her decisions, and she has to be her own person and follow her own code of morals. She cannot say one thing and do another. Badass knows no hypocrisy.

AH: It’s all in the attitude and the props

Lethal: I agree with Erika & AH. I want to add that a true Badass in my opinion is one who knows when to ask for help when she’s in over her head. A Badass without a plan is one that not only puts herself, but the people around her in danger.

  • What does a REAL badass heroine wear, and what does she avoid?

Erika: A real Badass heroine should be comfortable. Jeans (even nice designer ones!) Shirts that she can move in, shoes that are comfortable and that she can run, kick, stomp and bust things down in. A Real Badass Heroine does NOT need to wear leather (unless she really wants too, or is riding her motorcycle) because really, leather is pretty stiff, I find it hard to believe that you can do martial arts wearing tight-ass leather pants. Wearing any type of halter top is a No-No in my book. Two words–Boob popage. Unless you want to stun your opponent for a second with some nipple so you can get a better kill/maim/arrest shot.  Then I’m all for nipple exposure =)

AH: According to the cover of pretty much every UF and PNR book I’ve read, the badass heroine is dressed in tight leather pants, a leather halter top or bustier.

Lethal: I think a Badass heroine is able to wear most anything as long as she’s confident. Would Kate Daniels be less badass if she ran around in a plastic bag? No, you’d just be able to hear her coming. That being said, stiletto heels & mini skirts are a definite no-no. I think it’d be hard to convince others you’re a force to be reckoned with if you’re constantly flashing your bad “ass”.

  • Does smack talking and swearing equate to badassness? (I’m talking to you Jenna Black…)

Erika:  I swear. Sue me. Do I think it makes me look tough?Nah. It probably makes me sound and look stupid, but it is often necessary in books because you aren’t watching something live, so words have to add the drama and magnitude of the situation. Nothing says We are up shit creek without a paddle, like Fucking Shit, I can’t believe we are in this fucking situation. Fuck!

Lethal: I think swearing in moderation definitely equals Badassness. A heroine who’s always exclaiming “What the french, toast?” “Oh, heavens!” & other juvenile euphemisms is one I’m not going to be able to take seriously, Badass or no Badass.

  • Does a Badass heroine NEED flaws? Addictions? Mommy issues? Is it Hardness we see or is it strength?

Erika: A person needs flaws. In any genre, world or story. There are no perfect people. If a character is written too perfect, without any flaws, they are not real people and the story would ring false. Just think about Austin Powers for a second. He thought his lady love was the most perfect human being ever. She was gorgeous, her skin was flawless and she never took a shit (I don’t know that for sure, but…) turns out? She wasn’t human. She was a *gasp* FEMBOT! (Now, how cool would it be to shoot bullets out of your breasts?)

AH: Look, nobody’s perfect. I like my heroines flawed. It makes them more human, I imagine. Take the case of Chess from Unholy Ghosts. It’s a wonder that woman was even able to function with her addiction to little pills. But her addictions let her into a world that she probably would not have had access to.

Lethal: I definitely think a Badass heroine should have flaws. It makes her more relateable. More like us regular people and less like a trigger-happy Mary Sue. If they, in all of their screwed up glory, can save the world, than so can we, right? Isn’t that a part of the fantasy, after all?

  • Is there a man behind every badass heroine? What’s love got to do with it? Can there be too many men opening the oven door?

Erika: Damn right the man is BEHIND the woman. Because the woman rocks! Seriously though, I believe every badass woman needs the love of the right man. The right man for her.  Would Kate be happy with Ethan Sullivan? Fuck no. She would wulp that vampire into submission. Would Cat be happy with Clay? I can’t even picture it. For reals, I can’t, but you get my point right? Kate and Curran are perfect…for each other.  Cat and Bones? You guessed it… perfect for each other. They balance one another out and bring out the best (OK, and worst) in each other. To the betterment of those around them. Or as the case may be, to the deaths of their enemies!

~ I can’t STAND love triangles, squares, will they or won’t they drawn out for ten books, followed by fuckfests of 25 or more men at a time (yea Anita Blake, this is for you.)

AH: I love when there is a man behind the heroine. Cat and Bones, Kate and Curran, Merit and Ethan, Elena and Clay, Kitty and Ben. Aside from the romantic interludes and sexy times, these men serve as a means to ground the impulsive natures of some of these ladies. Most of the time it’s the foreplay that counts. I enjoy reading about the chase, not their happy ever after. Once one of these couples has their sexy times, the story has nearly ended

~Oh yes. Love triangles, squares, pentagons are not appreciated by the reader. *cough* Anita Blake *cough*

Lethal: I don’t think there has to be a man behind the Badass. It’s nice, sure, especially if you crave the romance & sex of paranormal romance without the sappy bullshit. But I personally don’t need romance in my UF to enjoy it. I hate it when the badass heroine is a “hollow shell” until the hero comes in to “complete her”. A badass heroine doesn’t need a man to complete her.

~ I hate love triangles. I never know which guy to root for & the guy I do inevitably gets left behind.

  • What Gear does a badass heroine need? Motorcycle? Fast Cars? Guns? Bombs? Sword? Magic Vagina’s?{Yea, that one is aimed at you Anita…} Is there something that makes you say “Yea, she’s a badass because she’s got a..

Erika: She needs what she works best with. Knives, swords, magic, claws, teeth, feet and hands. Whatever works. She also has to be adaptable and use whats available.  I like fast old cars (1970 Dodge Challenger hemi 426 Baby ROAR) Jane Yellowrock drives a Harley. Kate Daniels? A pack Mule. Still badass…

AH: Gin Blanco had many Silverstone knives, Kate Daniels had her Sword, magic, and Marigold the Mule along with some sort of jalopy.

Lethal: I think she needs some kind of a weapon, even if it’s just her kickass karate chop. I do have a soft spot for heroines who use knives or swords. Guns give me the creeps. It seems like such a cold way to go out.

  • Is a real badass heroine ever…Needy?Whiny?Woe-is-me? Schlepping off into danger alone? Too Stupid to Live?

Erika:  NO. NO. NO. NO, NO. Occasionally she might think she needs to go at it alone, but in the end she realizes that the Cavalry is a good thing. Death sucks

Lethal: Hell no! I expect the heroines in my paranormal romances to be a little stupid. Unfortunately, dumbing down the heroine to make the hero look good is entirely too popular these days. But that should not be the case in UF if the heroine is truly badass.

  • What are the qualities you LIKE in a badass heroine?

Erika: I like vulnerability tempered with a spine of steel. She has to be able to take what she dishes out. A strong female knows when to back down and try again later. There is no shaming in running and regrouping.

AH: Well, she has to look good in leather. She has to know her weapons of choice – knives, guns, bow and arrow, magic. She has to be tough and able to withstand a beating. She needs to be strong and brave on the outside and a touch vulnerable on the inside. She needs to think fast and move faster. She has to have a good support system – either a significant other or a team behind her.

Lethal: Totally agree with Erika & AH. I also like badass heroines with a sense of humor. One’s who don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s easy to get caught up in the complete hell of one situation or another, but if you can joke about it, it makes it less severe. This too shall pass, ya know?

  • What makes you grind your teeth, open up your palms, and gear up for a wannabe badass chic beat down?

Erika: I agree with AH. Too much sex, or sex when you are on the run/in danger and after only shaking hands and saying “Hi, my name is_____ wanna screw?”

AH: Too much sex, too many sex partners, too much sex with way too many species (that would be you, Anita Blake)

Lethal: I also agree. One of the reasons I quit Jenna Black’s “Morgan Kingsley” series after the first book was because the heroine focused entirely too much on wanting to & having sex with her boyfriend. I also want to beat a bitch down when she’s extremely prejudiced. You don’t have to like everybody but hating a whole species/race because of what a few did to you is unacceptable to me. Not everyone is all bad, just like not everyone is all good.

  • Ultimately, what makes a heroine a badass vs just a whiny, brawling bitch?

Erika: Whiny, Brawling Bitches are those who talk the talk, but cannot walk the walk. When shit hits the fan, they blame everyone else. It was never them. It was this, it was that. Also, it doesn’t help if they aren’t as proficient with their skill set as they claim, and they get their ass handed to them.

AH: Faythe Sanders and Mackayla Lane are two examples of whiny bitches. Both are the same age and both start their series being girly girls. Interestingly enough, by the end of their series they are kickass. A true kickass heroine softens by the end of her series.

Lethal: I agree with Erika & AH. I also think a badass heroine is able to see everybody’s side, not just her own. One who’s willing to take advice. Who does what needs to be done to protect her own. Most importantly, a badass heroine should have fears but shouldn’t let them incapacitate her. Ambrose Redmoon said “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”


Here is our list of Totally Badass Heroines:

Kate Daniels, Eve Dallas, Cat Crawford, Gin Blanco, Elena Michaels, Chess Putnam, Merit, Mercy Thompson, Jane Yellowrock, Katniss Everdeen (except book three in Erika’s Opinion) Mac Lane 4.0, Faythe Saunders (Erika doesn’t think so) Dorina Basarab (Lethal’s pick) Rachel Morgan (AH) Elena from Nalini Singh’s Angels Series, Allie Beckstom, Kitty Norville, Sin from Demonica, Xhex, Riley Jenson (when she’s not having lots of sex ~Erika), Karen Murphy From the Dresden Files, Pam from Sookie Stackhouse, Andrea Nash, Annwyl The Bloody, (All of Shelly Laurenston and G.A. Aiken’s females)

And here is our list of Tried to be Badass but ended up just Bitchy:

Eugenie Markham, Faythe Saunders, Zoe from House of Night, Cersei from Game of Thrones, Cassie Palmer (Erika thinks she’s a whiny bitch), Mac Lane (1.0, 2.0, 3.0) Morgan Kingsley, Georginia Kincaid

Who else should be on the lists? Who’d we miss? What are your thoughts on the discussion.

Stay Tuned for our Next Group Discussion: Badass Book Covers

Eve Dallas


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://badassbookreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/red-sonja-outracoisa-logo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Erika: I’m a book escapist. As a mom to four hellions, I mean–spirited little ones– reading is one of the only ways I can get away from the titter patter of little feet–the sounds of fighting and yelling–and the craziness of trying to maintain a clean household. Which let me tell you is as impossible as trying to out run a tornado… on foot. It’s not all bad. Being a mom is a badass job. It’s just a 24/7 365 job that never ends. Ever. So… books are my Calgon. They take me away–to a place only I can go. Every mom needs an escape, this just happens to be mine. My Dream when I grow up and the kids are all in school is to own a small book and coffee shop. Someday! [/author_info] [/author]

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