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Dear Ann: The Double Standard

11 May 2012

Every couple of months, I receive e-mails from readers telling me my heroines are too accomplished, skinny, smart, self-sufficient, whatever, and therefore, don’t represent the average woman and are un-relatable. I’m told my heroines should be more realistic. They should be average. Okay, the average woman in the US is 5’4″, is 162.9 pounds, wears a size 14, has only a high school education, and in 2004, made $17,629.

Hmm.

No complaints, though, about my alpha heroes who are intelligent, either wealthy or scarily efficient in combat (sometimes both), and always physically fit. If these readers want average heroines, shouldn’t they also want average heroes? In the US, the average man is 5’10”, is 189.8 pounds, wears a size 44 regular jacket, and in 2004, made $30,153. But no, they don’t want a paunchy hero who can’t give them perks, such as their own house.

From my completely unscientific study, I guess a lot of women still harbor the Cinderella fantasy. I’m sorry, but I’m not one of them. I think women (and men) should strive for more, especially in education, and improve that average.

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