There has always been something about tough broads in literature that keeps my interest. Keep Pollyanna and send me Scarlett O'Hara. Nancy Drew was one teenage girl who didn't wait for a boy to save her even though the mothers of that time period would have probably advised her to feign a bit of damsel in distress in order to catch her boyfriend's attention. Bring on the Zena, Warrior Princess!
Don't misunderstand. I like a "John Wayne-take charge-kind of guy" for my hero. I just don't think he has to "help the little lady" when she is perfectly capable of doing so herself most of the time. And women with brains are sexier than anything.
I recently read a novel that is selling like hotcakes during a pancake race where the main character is female and supposedly the hero of the story. When she gets into a predicament where I couldn't imagine how she could manage to escape, I was correct. She couldn't. The cavalry arrived in the form of her new and mysterious love interest who "saved" her. I was disappointed and I wondered how many other mystery readers would be also. We'll see if her sequel sells as well as this first book did.
In today's world, equality still doesn't exist in terms of equal pay. Men are still deemed better in combat than their female counterparts. Female roles in movies and television are still less in number than the male opportunities.
That doesn't mean incredibly smart and talented women aren't moving on up the corporate ladder and making their voices heard. They aren't regulated to the kitchen or tea parties in the afternoon unless that is their choice.
Men also have evolved to a new playing field. Men are choosing to become nurses, stay-at-home-dads and airline attendants; choices a few generations ago would have been taboo.
We're changing and I think today's readership enjoys real life women and men as characters in their fiction reading.
I read Johnny Depp will be starring as Nick Charles from Dashiell Hammett's "The Thin Man" series and as yet an uncast Nora. I look forward to seeing who will play that character with a certain bit of sass, brains and sex appeal. What a tough broad she'll be. Can't wait.