No? Good. Because you don't have to.
This entry comes from a recent Twitter conversation I had with Teri Harman and F.J.R. Titchenell. Take a look; it's brief because, hey, it's on Twitter. ^_^ But it brought up something I didn't realize I'd done until I thought about it.
In The Accidental Warlock, I don't describe the two heroines' body types. I say that Shiloh has blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin; likewise, I say that Alexi has copper-brown skin, dark eyes, and black hair with a purple sheen to it, as well as a red mark on her forehead. (A desert deity claims Alexi's people as her own, hence her hair and the mark.) And Shiloh describes Alexi as being a few inches taller than her. But that's about it.
When I started, I didn't know how to have Shiloh describe Alexi's figure, and Shiloh describing herself felt strange to me. So I skipped it, figured I'd add it in later. But I gave it some thought and realized it was better that way.
Modern culture has some ridiculous image issues when it comes to women. I'm a guy, so I'm subjected to this less, but... seriously. It seems that any woman who's in the spotlight in any way will have her appearance picked apart at every opportunity, and two different women will be criticized for opposite things. I see and hear this everywhere - someone is too tall, too short, too thin, too heavy, too dark, too light, wearing too much makeup, not wearing enough makeup, dressed too sexy, not dressed sexy enough...
Just typing all that up makes my head hurt. And I decided not to subject my characters to that.
Fictional characters aren't free from all this; I've seen the same barbed comments directed at women across multiple fandoms. So I decided to not describe my heroines' body types, and let the readers picture them however they want. This wasn't easy for me - I do a lot of description because I want my readers to see what I see in my head. But I read something once, where a reader said that they were overweight, so they tended to imagine the characters they read about as overweight. I gave it some thought and decided I was fine with that.
For the record, I picture Shiloh as skinny, and Alexi as athletic with some curves. But if someone, for example, wants to picture Shiloh as chubby and Alexi as tall and willowy, that's okay. It's a little weird to me to give something like that up to the reader, but if it means my characters won't get saddled with other issues just because of how I describe them, I'm fine with leaving that out. And it won't affect how I picture them, or how I write them.
Next entry: probably something about rewriting an ending, because that's what I have to look forward to this week. Grr. Arg.