She Writes on Fridays: The Heroine Meme
In which Deborah Siegel starts the first-ever She Writes meme (scroll down!). “It is not megalomaniacal to want to be significant; it is only human,” writes once-professor of mine Rachel Brownstein in Becoming a Heroine, a study of the 19th-century British female-oriented novel. On May 12, modern heroines are the theme of a reading She Writes will co-sponsor with novelist Teri Coyne at KBG Bar here in NYC (85 E. 4th Street, 7pm). And it’s got me thinking: just what is a modern heroine? How do we recognize her when we see her—in literature and in life? According to our press release (thank you Stephanie Gregerman!), the authors reading at the KGB “Ordinary Women: Extraordinary Heroine” event are part of a growing legion of writers creating a modern identity for the female protagonist that’s transformed from the stereotypical supporting player or romance-driven damsel to a more modest, often damaged female that is imperfect and unapologetic. Often they are liberating themselves from the past, their families or a culture that dismisses them. These are ordinary women leading extraordinary lives; they defy convention and show courage under fire even if it looks like they are fumbling to the finish line. Los Angeles Times crime and mystery blogger Sarah Weinman has said of the trend in female characters: “They don't let the baggage of brutal childhoods and emotional damage keep them from their quests.” Chicago Tribune cultural critic Julia Keller has noted, “They're not meek. They're not mild. They do as they please and they don't play well with others. They're misfits with moxie.” Moxie. You’ve got to love that word. But I digress. So there you have the literary version. For more (much more! including a goofy outtake from me and Kamy), check out the video at the bottom of this post, and I hope the locals will join us in supporting She Writers Diane Meier, Terese Svoboda, Virginia DeBerry, and Donna Grant as they read from their novels at KGB on May 12! Now, let’s turn to…life. For kicks, let’s try an experiment. Let’s create a meme (blogger tag, for those not yet in the know). Here’s how it works: If you have a blog out there in the universe (and if not, you can use your blog here on your She Writes profile page), post an answer to this question: “Who are the women in your life who exemplify the traits of a modern heroine, and why?” Then, tag as many other bloggers as you wish to do the same. Please include a link to my post here or to the She Writes mainpage ( And post the url to YOUR post in comments so that we can all find it, right here! Ok, I’ll start. 1. My friend, Purse Pundit, and She Writes Advisory Board Member Jacki Zehner, because she gives so generously of her time, treasure, and talent to make a difference in this world--and because she is secretly Wonder Woman, for reals 2. My comrade in arms, feministing's Courtney Martin, because she moves beyond the comfort zone and writes with moxie 3. My sister by proxy Rebecca London, because she models the integration of motherhood and professional identity in a way that's nothing short of heroic 4. My friend, and fellow Girl w/Penner, Virginia Rutter, because she taught me--and continues to teach me--the psychology of abundance 5. My colleague, and fellow Girl w/Penner, Alison Peipmeier, because she went into and is recovering from brain surgery with so much wit and bravery it knocks my socks off, daily Your turn. And psst pass it on! (Don't forget to post a link to YOUR post in comments here.)

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