04 January 2010

Don't You Make My Brown Eyes Blue

Early last year the lovely Kati of Katidom wrote a wonderfully articulate post on plus-sized heroines...or the lack thereof....in romance novels. The post got me to thinking...not just about the lack of plus-sized heroines but also about how heroines appear to reflect (and yes, I'm generalizing) those traits currently considered (not quite sure by whom) fashionable rather than what actually is in the real world. For example, how many of the heroines you read about are slim? And how many have thick curly hair? But I think my biggest beef is with eye colour...

I was tempted to go back through all of the books I have read since January 2008 (when I seriously started reading romance novels) and tally the eye colour of each heroine to provide you with some measure of proof that I'm not completely mad. Unfortunately, I haven't had time, but if you can cast your mind back through your most recent reads...how many of the heroines had eyes of blue, green, grey or hazel and how many had brown eyes? Is brown a bad colour? (And no, I'm not talking about hazel with flecks of green, etc. but brown....just brown.)

If I believed every romance novel I read, all heroines would have curly hair and light-coloured eyes. As a gal with baby-fine (yeah, I have serious issues about my hair) brown hair and the dreaded brown eyes, my chances of a HEA are obviously seriously reduced *grin*

So, I guess what I'm asking is this: is it just me or is there a serious disparity between the incidence of various eye colours? And if this disparity does exist, does anyone know why? Or am I going to have to suck it up and keep reading about flawless aquamarine eyes etc.


  1. That's right! Where are all the Brown-eyed girls? Haven't they ever listened to Van Morrison?

    I think blue is the predominant color is heroines..and the heroes get the brown eyes so they can "darken to black" when lust takes over ;)

  2. Exactly! *wipes brow* So glad it's not just me :) And snap! (Was thinking of using the Van Morrison song title as the title for this post :) I love the Van Morrison song because it reminds me that someone out there loves brown eyes, because the majority of authors sure don't seem too!

    And yes, blue as far as the eye can see. LOL on the hero's eyes being brown! It doesn't help that I'm the only member of my family with brown eyes. Brown is dominant, but you wouldn't know it looking at my family. Supposedly someone four generations back had my eye colour...

  3. LOL. Whenever someone in my family hears that Van Morrison song it's always "Kris, they're playing your song again".

    I'm with you on the eye and hair colour. It's amazing how many blue or green eyed chicks with blond or red curly hair there appear to be in the world.

    One of the reasons why I've basically stopped reading m/f is because I found it too difficult to relate to the skinny, blue eyed heroines that dominate the genre. At least with m/m I don't have the same issue.

  4. :( I have to admit I haven't noticed. I have an issue, where if I remember the name, not the description; or if I remember the description, not the name... so in all honesty I don't remember what most of the heroines I've read have looked like.

    In my family there is usually the 1 person with green/blue eyes in each familial unit. That's me for my house (green), my daughter (blue) and my nephew for my sister's unit (range from green to blue to violet); but all my siblings have beautiful brown eyes. My brother's are a brown so gorgeous I can't describe, I love looking at him. Both my sister's and my mom are so dark a brown they look black... which I find fascinating. My dad's are almost amber they're such a light brown. When I look at their pictures, I always look at their eyes the most.

    It's a shame that more writers aren't using such a range of browns, when they can be so much more beautiful than green or blue sometimes. Hopefully, the trend will shift. :)

  5. I haven't noticed too much the eye colour of heroines - except for lavender - I'm always envious of heroines with lavender eyes.
    And there is hope for you. I had brown eyes all my life and noticed a year or so ago they were changing colour!!!! They went from brown to hazel and now they are kind of green. Freaks me out I tell you!! I mean eye colour is something you kind of identify yourself with. Hair colour we can changed - and I have - but eyes are supposed to stay the same!!

  6. Oh yes, the eye color thing!

    It would seem that most of the female population of the planet should have light-colored eyes, doesn't it?

    On the other hand, it makes it very effective (IMO) when an author takes that unspoken convention and makes her/his brown- or dark-eyed heroine shine over all the vapid conventional beauties :grin:

  7. Hmm I haven’t really noticed this problem. I’ve read a lot of books with brown eyed main characters. I’m always reading about how they look into their perfect amber eyes. But I’ve read a lot of green and blue eyed books too though. I honestly haven’t read a lot of books with hazel eyes. What an intriguing topic. It makes me want to go back through my books and take inventory lol.

  8. Eve Dallas has whiskey colored eyed. There are lots of blue eyes. And lavender.

    Me? I'm a brown-eyed girl and love reading about heroines that have the same color.

    Thanks for the shout out, Orannia!

  9. GRRR! That's the third time I've posted a comment and had it vanish. Apologies Kris & Mariana - I just reply yesterday. I'll try AGAIN!

    Kris - I love that Van Morrison song!

    It's amazing how many blue or green eyed chicks with blond or red curly hair there appear to be in the world.

    Exactly! There's a saying...that variety is the spice of life. I just wish that variety would be reflecting in romance novels! And I'm so with you on the relating...am finding it VERY hard ATM to relate to the majority of heroines. And if they're fiesty... *holds hands up in abject surrender*

    (((Mariana))) Thank you. I adored the following part of your comment: My brother's are a brown so gorgeous I can't describe, I love looking at him. *SIGH* That's what I want in a book. To read such a response and not feel that brown eyes are lacking...

    It's a shame that more writers aren't using such a range of browns, when they can be so much more beautiful than green or blue sometimes.

    *crosses fingers* From your lips to authors' ears :)

  10. Kristie - you're eyes are changing colour? WOW! I didn't know that could happen! I'll have to keep an eye mine then :) The only thing weird about them ATM is the black outer ring.

    It would seem that most of the female population of the planet should have light-colored eyes, doesn't it?

    Exactly azteclady! Oh, please point me in the direction of that book :)

    LeeAnn - which books had brown-eyed heroines please as I'd love to know :) Amber...I don't know if I'd classify amber as brown...probably because it is described as amber *grin* Plus, using amber as a descriptor automatically makes them (IMHO) something other than brown. It adds an exotic flavour. I guess I just want to read somewhere that brown is beautiful...because the amount of avoidance of brown when it's a dominant eye colour makes me think that, for the majority of authors, brown isn't beautiful...

    You're welcome Kati :) Your post was amazing. I'm just so sorry I took to long to write my thoughts down in a coherent manner :) I'd forgotten about Eve. But again, for me, her eyes aren't described as brown but like the colour of whiskey. I'm not explaining myself very well. It's just that authors seem to go out of their way to avoid using the word brown, as though it's second rate. And no matter how often I look at my eyes they are just brown :)

  11. I'm always startled by the fact that all the characters notice eye-colour. Maybe I'm just wildly unobservant, but I don't think I could provide details of eye-colour for all of my cousins, say, or my co-workers. Immediate family yes, and friends where I've thought about it or where it's come up in discussion.

    Possibly this is like when I have trouble remembering if a particular person has glasses!

  12. Apparently I'm horribly unobservant, because I haven't really noticed heroines' eye color. But you're probably right; I HAVE noticed a lot of heroes have dark eyes. Like every freaking one.

  13. cyphomandra - I think I notice because I have a complex :)

    heidenkind - from where I sit it does seem like almost every hero has dark eyes, particularly in contemporary romance novels.

  14. I don't know about this, orannia. I could not name ONE book off the top of my head that features a blue-eyed heroine.

    .... *still thinking* ...

    I wonder. Is it because I have blue eyes and so reading of a blue-eyed heroine doesn't sound extraordinary or different so I just pass over that detail? Or is it because I happen to prefer looking into brown eyes, so I skip over the blue-eyed descriptions because it's not what I want?

    My husband's and our daughters' eyes are brown. I NEVER get tired of brown eyes. In fact... I PREFER looking at brown eyes. Especially theirs. :)