The Perfect Heroine for a Male Dominated Role

Posted for Pamela Varnado

My husband Joe and I had an interesting discussion about allowing females to join military special operations forces like Army Rangers. Studies that surveyed U.S. military personnel found that current males in these commando male-only jobs believe females can’t meet the physical and mental demands of these positions. They fear the Pentagon will lower the training standards if women are included. Is this gender-discrimination?

As an Army veteran, I’m keen to see how this current debate unfolds. It may be the girly-girly part of me, but if the opportunity to join Special Forces during my military enlistment had been presented to me, I don’t think I would’ve, even though I was in excellent physical condition. In fact, I often out-performed my male counterparts. But it takes a special mindset to perform these jobs, a place I mentally didn’t want to go to.

However, in my romantic suspense and paranormal stories I write about fierce heroines who are capable of handling themselves in such positions. Our current political culture seems to demand these types of heroines. I do find ways to soften my female protagonists’ personalities. Doing so makes them more realistic and interesting because women are complex individuals with different backstories.

Inception by Pamela VarnadoWhat do you think about letting females in Special Forces? How do you craft the heroines in your stories?




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15 Responses to The Perfect Heroine for a Male Dominated Role

  1. Lizzi Newton says:

    I agree that it is important to have strong female heroines while allowing them to maintain their femininity. The female protagonist in my book is not only female she is 60 years old, a widow, and a retired school teacher. However when push comes to shove she proves to be strong and quite capable of taking care of herself and those she loves. I think women readers want strong women characters now.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pam, excellent post! Food for thought. I don’t believe women should be in Special Forces, but not because I don’t think they are capable. Obviously some women are just as capable as a man, however, it is the simple fact that they are female that would up the stakes in an operation. It would not be the woman who was the problem, but rather the men’s reaction to her presence. Would they take chances to protect a female, that they would not for a male? I like to write strong heroic males and without doubt, they would throw themselves in harms way to save a woman!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. marymarvella says:

    Pam, this is an interesting post, especially since you served in the military!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. nitethyme says:

    I don’t tend to write the grittier heroine but I enjoy reading them. I think your heroines are very real and interesting, Pam. Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Josie says:

    I believe that strong heroines are a must in every story.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mary Ricksen says:

    Well said…I so agree.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Mary, thanks for commenting. Women have always had to be strong. As a writer, I have to remind myself that women show strength in different ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. bethtrissel says:

    Great post, Pam. All I can say is wow to all you’ve done. I agree with your take.

    Liked by 1 person

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