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.


Tabitha Blake said...

I agree totally. I write very strong alpha males with dominate personalities but not abusive in any way. They respect their women and are very protective. In fact most of the arguments they have are because the alphas want to protect them so much they try to hold them back. Now with that said I also write very strong heroines. So they are very set in their ways and let these males know that treating them like china dolls isn't going to work. As far as them being jerks...I don't see them that way. I see a very strong and passionate male deeply in love that couldn't live without the heroine and this provokes the intense struggle to keep her safe. We all want a man that can protect us, provide for us, love us and treat us like the most important person in their life. Well that is what you get with an alpha. Total devotion. Well that is just my two cents on the issue. Great Blog!

Brenda said...

Great blog! I'm so tired of some thinking that to be an alpha male the hero has to be a jerk. That is so not true.

Sara said...

So very true... My heroes tend to be strong, passionate men whom sometimes the heroine doesn't always agrees with, but can't help but to fall in love with him. She may call him a jerk, may even think of him as one, but again it is exactly this determined stance of trying to protect her that she falls in love with.

And I always do, too...

Victoria said...

From a reader's point of view--I like a strong, 'alpha' male, but would NEVER put up with one who was neg, mean, abusive to any woman or in general a jerk. Even when strong and prosessive, alpha males are suppose to be caring. That's why we like them, the best of both worlds.