Why is it that so many protagonists have attractive hips, a strong jawline, full lips and breasts (What does that even mean? "Full breasts"? Full of what? Are they going to breast-feed someone soon? How is this helping me to understand this character's motivations?), strong arms, eyes shaped like almonds and the colour of deep mysterious pools of dark water? Why are so many protagonists either extremely attractive or passably pretty at the least? And why despite all the pretty, are they such well-rounded, humble, non-arrogant, moral people?
Will we not connect with or care for a heroine (or hero) if she has a figure like a over-ripe pear, upper arms with the jiggly bits underneath that you have to hold onto when you wave goodbye, tiny myopic eyes and unrelenting adult acne? What about if they are only of average intellegence?
I wrote in an earlier post about how I avoid writing about my protagonist's clothes. I've found that I'm just as reluctant to write physical descriptions for them too! I don't want to make them attractive and perfect, and I don't want them to be hideous so what does that leave?
"She was of average build, brown hair, with one of those faces that you recognise, not because you know her, but because so many other people have the same generic features as her uninspiring face." What's the point? I may as well say: "She's looked like a woman, ya know wha' I mean?"
Maybe it goes back to Greek mythology with Helen of Troy, beautiful goddesses and handsome gods. Their beauty, grace, powers made them awesome and facinating. Beautiful people are muses aren't they? They inspire adoration? They are the stuff of songs and sonnets.
Or maybe we just don't want our precious protagonists to be blighted with pain of having to squeeze into waist to knee control knickers or the distraction of having to comb their dense monobrows out of their eyes.
What do you think? How would you describe your protagonist? Does anyone have a supremely ugly hero/heroine?