When I think of heroic women I think of them as heroes, not heroines.
For one thing, the name Hero has been a woman’s name far longer than the English language has been around. And for another, any time a word that means a single thing is divided up in spellings to denote sex or gender there is a danger of making the word mean less when applied to women. Or even worse, it might tell women they can’t be heroes at all and better look to men for the heroism.
Both are reason enough to use the word “hero” for women and men both. That way you can recognize a hero when you see one no matter what she or he might look like.
To illustrate, I made this:
Happy Women’s History Month. I plan to celebrate by reading a bunch of articles about heroic women over the next 31 days. Here are a couple to start you off:
Molly Pitcher (Mary Ludwig Hays)