Once upon a time in the land of fiction there were heroes. And those heroes would be smart and brave and resourceful, because that’s what made them the hero. They were expected to be handsome, honest and full of ingenuity in the face of the trickiest of situations. Of course, they would be men. The heroine only had to be beautiful, and be awarded to the hero at the end. Then some ground shifted in the narrative topography, and the qualifications for these jobs changed. In order to be a good enough prize the heroine now had to be brilliant and fearless and inventive. The hero, on the other hand, dwindled into an everyman figure. The result is a whole solar system-full of stories about girls who are the hero in every aspect, except that they’re not. Some nondescript dude, standing in for the reader, still gets to be the hero, while his prize exhibits all the qualities that should make the story about her.
–On Arthur Dent versus Trillian.