Strong is the new skinny

A friend of mine told me: “Taylor, strong is the new skinny.” I think she might be onto something.

Our idea of beauty as pertaining to women and men is not carved in stone. It’s a concept that changes with time. Check out this great post on what was considered beautiful in the 1700s and 1800s. And things just kept changing. Check out this post on more recent views on beauty.

I think romance books reflect our changing views. Today’s heroines are more active, determined and fit than their predecessors. To match, our heroes have a sharp sense of humour and are also determined, successful and fit.

While I keep thinking that it’s sad we put so much emphasis on the physical, I’m delighted with this new trend towards fitness. Though Romance can’t change a society, it’s so lovely to see it reflect healthier attitudes towards beauty in women and men. Go fitness!



My favourite heroines

Looking back through books, I have to say the ladies I loved the most were the ones I could best relate to. Empowered women, or those who work for a living, those who love their pets were some of my favourites. And I certainly like a heroine who exercises.

Expecting the main lady in a historical to exercise is just simply silly. Back then, not only did women not exercise, they didn’t even study math or science–just in case it turned them into men. I even wonder if men worked out. Certainly not the way we do today, with a focus on fitness. They might have enjoyed riding or walking but not with the sole purpose of developing muscles.

But when I read a contemporary or a paranormal, I hope the lady of the book does more than waltz. I hope she can stand up for herself and not just in a literal way. I don’t want her to be ridiculously built or be a menace to people but if she can hold her own, all the better to like her.

Personally, I exercise when the mood strikes. I love my elliptical and I weight train but I don’t do it every day. Still, I like it enough that when I find a heroine that jogs, or one that lifts weights (I have never, ever read about a woman who lifted weights in a romance story but…here’s hoping), I can relate. In fact, I like her better for taking care of herself. 

Strong, healthy women are truly beautiful.