Alpha heroines, where are you? The top protagonists to admire and emulate in books, films, graphic novels, television, and video games are overwhelmingly male.
Alpha heroes abound throughout fiction in all media. These talented and dedicated characters are too numerous to list comprehensively, although any mention has to include contemporary mega favorites Batman, Harry Potter, Spiderman, and Superman. From the past there’s Dick Tracy and Flash Gordon, the Green Hornet and The Shadow. All of them terrific, and all of them are male.
Can’t a woman be an alpha hero, too?
To be sure, a handful of females hang out in the alpha heroism pantheon. They include Lara Croft, X-(Wo)Man Jean, Nancy Drew, Wonder Woman, and Xena the Warrior Princess. By and large, however, the ranks of alpha heroines are thin, and the reasons for this dearth have changed as women’s social role has evolved.
In the past, the creators and consumers of heroic fiction simply could not imagine women as courageous, strong-willed, and pro-active. Females were strictly to be rescued from peril, not do the rescuing themselves. Women provided eye candy and screams of terror-distress at appropriate moments to heighten the tension and help make the alpha hero’s exploits all the more remarkable. Females also could be the source of the alpha hero’s one weakness or play the ever present role of evil temptress (the ongoing rerun of woman as Eve).
Women have a lot more options and a bit more power in some societies today. So now alpha heroic fiction offers its primarily male audience an escape back to presumably happier times (at least for men). In these good old days, men were manly, a few were top heroes, and women knew and remained in their (subordinate) places. Much of today’s alpha heroes and their worlds are a tedious exercise in gender power nostalgia.
How tiresome and boring. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Bring us some alpha heroines!
It just so happens that alpha heroines inhabit the pages of the Green Stone of Healing® speculative epic. First-generation heroine Helen Andros, a “formidable protagonist,” according to Kirkus Discoveries, is an alpha heroine to the max. She is so tall, brainy, opinionated, and accomplished that she scares many men. She’s also dedicated to her calling as a physician and willing to take risks despite her fears to help patients who need her.
Helen is an alpha heroine in a society that is male dominated. Women are strictly second class in Azgard, the lost island nation where she lives. Helen is especially vulnerable in her world because she is a presumed orphaned, illegitimate half breed. Her long lost mother was a Turanian, the subjugated race in Azgard; her unknown father a member of the dominant Toltecs. In every sense, Helen sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb, and struggles to find a place in a society hostile to her very existence for numerous reasons.
The public unmasking of the identity of Helen’s father sets the tale in motion, and Helen’s dangers only continue to grow even though every now knows her father’s identity as one of the most powerful and highest ranked Toltec lords. The state-sanctioned, powerful Temple of Kronos wants Helen dead because its leader fears the mythical gifts and abilities of half-breeds as a challenge to his institution’s authority and prestige.
But Helen grows, too, picking up skills to defend herself and heal others by wielding a spiritual energy known as kura. She and her descendents, who will be alpha heroines as well, hold out a loving, inclusive alternative to theocrats who persecute anyone who does not look or believe as they do.
The priests’ drive for dominance ultimately destroys Azgard. But a descendent of Helen meets the challenge of preventing the total destruction of her people, leading them to a new beginning in what remains of a world shattered by the unloving lust for total control.
C.L. Talmadge is the author of the Green Stone of Healing® speculative epic. The fourth in the series, Outcast, will be published Oct. 1. Vote for the first book, The Vision, by midnight Sept. 25 and get a free e-book on healing, love, and spirituality. Details at her blog: www.healingstonebooks.com/stonescribe
The series features four generations of strong-willed female characters who inherit a mysterious green gem ultimately revealed to mend broken bones and broken hearts, protect against missiles, and render its wearers undetectable.
For more information about each book, please visit http://www.greenstoneofhealing.com/