Well really, no. I thought it was because there’s little old me, page one, line one, paragraph one, blackmailing men into having sex with me, so as I can guarantee, not just my future, but that of someone who is everything to me, by providing an heir.
But, if you’re going to tell me, it’s because I may or may not have murdered your lover and my husband is well… never going to speak again….
I would be shocked.
It all stems from my friend Lora, who first introduced me to Frenchman’s Creek. The blurb said this was a heroine who was sure to make countless friends, despite her questionable behaviour. ‘Ooooh,’ thought I.
Maybe we just weren’t into this ‘place-holding’ thing. Females who get jealous when the fictional heroine rivals them for the fictional hero’s affection, so she must be nice. Apparently…. yes….. Being sixteen we both agreed the only questionable thing was the heroine was having a damned good time of it with a sexy French pirate… At 29…..
Shouldn’t she have hung up the hanger? Him too.
The rest, an affair, a ponce about the Cornish coast in breeches, nicking boats, wearing her lover’s gift beneath her hubby’s nose and murdering some Rockingham dude, frankly, we took Rhett Butler’s attitude.
We liked bad women. They got the guys. At 29 in restoration times too, when it was hardly the new sixteen.
On the page and on the screen, I still like bad women. I’m not talking the Snow White ‘eat my apple’ queen bitch, though maybe she had her reasons. I’m not talking gung-ho, splay the fire over these aliens there. Or an Anna Karenin, who has an affair because her marriage is suffocating. Or a D’Urberville Tess who plays for the jugular never mind the heart strings, when it comes to gaining the sympathy vote.
I’m talking a woman who, on the surface just isn’t likeable. One who yet has some redeeming feature. Some crack in the façade, that gives us the glimpse beneath the veil.
They’re hard to write. They’re even harder to sell, especially in romance where the heroine frequently has to be first cousin to Miss Goody Two Shoes, or at least in her family tree. Although – trust me – just because I read about a woman…like that…it doesn’t mean I’m going to run screaming for the valium.
Let me tell you, when it came to writing this post, they were even hard to find.
But here it is. No nicer bitch. No special order. Look away now if you’ve delicate sensitivities. And please feel free to tell me your own.
Obviously I have to start with Dona because she does all these bad things, although I’m wondering why I’m featuring Dona. Not only does she look soppy here when as a character she is horribly stuck up and bossy. Of course she’s bored – convenient. In the fearfully white-washed film I’d be bored too, what with all this guff about her not doing anything improper. Hey. Come on. With a sexy French pirate about? And I’m sure the fact she kills Rockingham can be explained away by the fact it’s self defence, although there might be a moral argument here. But she comes under unhappily married. So. However, while the fact she chooses her children over the sexy French pirate makes her likeable, for me it’s the fact that she sees this affair as just that. Or she’d run off with him.
Scarlett O’Hara…Gone With The Wind.
Who can compare with Scarlett when it comes to being a prize bitch? Where to start with the things she does? I just love it when people say she became a bitch because the war did bad things to her. Let’s not pretend. She was queening it before the war even started. Just look at her that day at Twelve Oaks, smacking Ashley Wilkes one and pinching every man in sight to spite him. Why is she sympathetic? Well, she’s a wonderfully motivated creation, even when her motivations are appalling. And she’s good to her father. Does she break when her mother dies? No. As God is her witness, – well, it’s always convenient when you swear to lie, steal, cheat and kill, to have the Almighty on your side – she swears to keep the roof at Tara over her family’s head. What’s more she does. Hell. She even wears the curtains. And it’s not just because she’s poor.
Bree Van De Camp….Desperate Housewives
To me Bree’s hard to like because she’s a neurotic, obsessive, perfectionist, who would hold a dinner party while Rome burned. Certainly she does it while her family do. Let’s just look at some of the other things she does, of which smashing her husband, Oscar’s, dentist of the year award while faking a burglary in her own home, is the very least. There’s covering up her son’s drink driving, hit and run escapade, watching her date die after assuring him she’s called an ambulance, having extra-maritals with a friend’s ex husband. There’s the booze she downs in bars and the men she picks up in them. But there’s also the fact she’s almost too good a friend. The man she lets go off, so he can be with his son. And the rap she’s willing to take to help Carlos and Gabrielle. When it comes to sacrifice no-one does it like Bree.
Maria Von Trapp…The Sound of Music
You don’t think Maria should be here? Oh come on. If you were the Baroness wouldn’t you get fed up of her continually trying to pull the Captain in these steaky clothes? And jigging about with his children, not to mention yodelling with a herd of goat puppets every five minutes? I couldn’t compare with that. Could you? Could anyone? As for poncing about on hills singing, would you want to, when any self respecting person would be off for a fag or a drink… But then she does say nothing when she sits on that pine cone.
The scary, icy blonde is such a scheming little henchwoman of Ben’s to start with. It seems the sneaky creature will do anything for him, no matter she shows Jack a set of idiot boards saying ‘kill him. No-one will ever know.’ And how dare she be the answer to the biggest question on Lost…… Who would Sawyer end up with? Her? Or Kate? But that first glimpse of Juliet taking burnt cakes out the oven and trying to get herself together to face the world to the tune of Down Town, we know this is one troubled woman. And she did make Sawyer happy.
P.S. She also decks Jack.
Lisbeth Salander…The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
‘Now you just might not like her,’ the other half ventured, when we went to see the film. I can’t think why. Her actions, set against all she has been forced to endure, wouldn’t just put her in my top ten any day of the week, when it comes to the tattoo needle and the rapist pig, I’d say, honey, allow me. No questions asked. Except Bloomkvist, why did you walk away from this woman?
Stony-faced and cunningly manipulative, Amanda will do anything to avenge the death of her father, even sleep with the son of those she holds responsible. Indeed the drama opens and we think she has killed him at their engagement party. Also, things happen around Amanda, to innocent people caught in her web of deception. But, when she has the chance to kill the man who actually killed her father, she can’t. She’s human after all. Well, certainly for this series.
Mildred Pierce….Mildred Pierce
I have to adore the book Mildred. She’s awful. Loving one child more than the other, secretly glad when one dies, it’s not that other. Getting herself up the duff to marry Bert. Then there’s the lengths she goes to, to get Veda back, the ones that include screwing Monty and bankrupting herself by stealing from herself, because that is how much she loves this daughter. Like Scarlett she’s a creation and a half. Redeeming? Well, she breaks her back to keep a roof over her children’s head when Bert walks out. And at the end she’s back with Bert, having lost everything else and it actually seems….amicable.
Seeing the chance to jump into her sister’s life, by taking her place, does the recovering drug addict, stripper and abscondee from witness protection, hesitate? Not on your proverbial nelly. No matter what it means. There would be no story otherwise. You might not hesitate either. The lifestyle. The dosh. Doesn’t Bridget’s sister have it all? Or does she? In fact Bridget’s sister is the bitch with secrets galore. Bridget’s the stool-pigeon, it all backfires on her when the truth comes out. A shame, she was a far better wife and step-mother, to her sister’s husband and step-daughter, than her sister.
Oh, here’s another surprise. But let’s look at it from the start and the start is the mess she’s made of Rick, who later quite disintegrates and talks of tinny pianos, after she sashays into his bar on her hubby’s arm. Quite the cool princess. And what is all this about letters of transit, please? You just know she’s used the sardonic sucker rotten at some point and she’s going to do it again to get her stinky mitts on those, and that’s as much as the future holds. But then unfolds the love story and you see she does love him really. Aw….. Well, at least you hope she does. You never know with these cool princesses.
So there you have it. My ten. Oh the heroine at the start wasn’t amongst them? Well, no. That’s because she’s mine. Fury Fontanelli. Hard sell? Oh yes….