I think the argument has not been well-stated. I think what's equally true for male and female 'heroes' is that there must something...not likeable, perhaps, but something that strikes a chord with us somewhere - and not necessarily for the best of reasons.
But yes, I agree - why should the female counterparts of, I don't know, Flashman, always have to get their comeuppance? do women always have to go on a journey and come out the other end of their troubles somehow purified by suffering? Is this really what we want to read about? Grr.
Hah! The post by ?Jaytee? reminded me of 'The Fall' in which Gillian Anderson plays a very strong, uncompromising character. Any bets it's not going to end well for her?