Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Alpha Male = Chauvinistic Pig?
Hi! I'm Adriana Ryan, and I'll be posting monthly on Tabitha Blake's blog.
For this month, let's look at what romance writers have been blamed for since feminism came around: writing strong males and weak females, essentially setting the feminist movement back a century or so.
So, what they're actually saying is, an alpha male is always an ass. But is that really true?
Let's look at the traits that would make a man a chauvinist:
- Belief that a woman is 'below' him, or a second-class citizen
- Making comments or jokes about women being less intelligent
- Unable to be in a healthy, committed relationship with women
Okay, so these are traits that most women (and men) would find undesirable, and even anger-provoking, right? But is there even one modern romance novel that portrays the alpha male in this light? Is there a heroine in any modern romance novel that would put up with and forgive such behavior? After extensive reading of contemporary romance (hey, someone's gotta do it!), I'd have to say no. Which mentally healthy woman living in the 21st century would actually put up with this day after day (and I'm not talking about truly abusive relationships - that's a whole another ball of wax)?
What romance novels do is create a picture-perfect love scene. They show you a man who is not afraid of his masculinity, is so secure in it that he can fall in love and sustain that love through trials and tribulations. Can he protect his love interest? Sure. Will he put her down and make her think of herself as 'weak'? Absolutely not. Romance novels are simply an escape for the reader; a sort of paradise in this stressful, imperfect world of ours. They are easy to read, but hard to write. But most importantly, they come from the writer's utopian ideal.