Sunday, August 31, 2008

Alpha Males - The Debate Escalates

In my previous post, I asked if women really wanted alpha males. The subject brought on some interesting discussion on both this blog and on my MySpace blog at One male writer, Pandem, brought up an interesting question. He agreed to let me quote him.

“Beautiful post! I want to see more discussion on this topic! Alpha males are great for fantasy, but in reality, they don't always work out so well, as I gather you, Tina, can attest. I've also been told that women tend to go for the "bad boys" in the hopes that they will be the "special one" that changes him or that they can make him into something different, and more often than not, it's just the women that get hurt. Are romance novelists helping women have false expectations about alpha males? It's something to think about. . .
Personally, I have no idea whether I am an alpha male or a beta male; that's something I leave up to other people to worry about. One story I'm working on now is about a woman having to choose between a tough-guy alpha male and the sweet, sensitive beta male. . .with an interesting twist. . .I'll let you know how it comes out Thanks for the thought-provoking write, Tina!”
The Wild Rose Press

Pandem can’t be the only person to ponder this question, and I know when I should get more info before making a decision, so I consulted writers from the AZ chapters of RWA. They fell on both sides of the fence.

“I think your male writer is absolutely right. In my personal experience with bad boys, they can’t be tamed and don’t want to be tamed. They enjoy who they are because it’s fun. Mind you, my point of reference is young bad boys because I learned early to give them up. They’re usually Mr. Right Now, not Mr. Right. That being said, I think you can still write a strong hero and just cut out some of the testosterone, i.e. the Alpha Beta male. Or make the negative issues part of the plot. Have something happen that makes them rethink their whole view of life, maybe a ‘this isn’t working for me anymore’ moment. Just some thoughts…”

Julie Ellis

“Bad boys are NOT alpha males! They are the bottom rung, not the top. They are bad because they have self-esteem issues and are searching for power in inappropriate ways.

Alpha males are confident, self-sufficient, capable. Their self-esteem is so good, it's over the top. They don't "need" anyone. Richard Gere in "Pretty Woman" is the quintessential example. Or Tom Cruise in "Jerry Maguire."

The reason those movies were so popular is, again, because there was a "chink" that let the women in. Do real-life alpha males have "chinks"? Some do; some deny it.

Are romance writers doing women a disservice by presenting a false hope? No. It's fiction; escapism; it's not real, and women know it.

The counter-question is: does Playboy do men a disservice by presenting unnatural images? No. It's fiction; escapism; it's not real, and men know it.
But we all like to escape now and again! “

Kris :)

"Norway is the new Scotland"
Missouri Territory 1819 -
A betraying husband,the father of her child, a convenient fiancé.
One woman, three very different men.
Life is about choices.

I sincerely hope our readers know our novels are fantasies. My favorite movie right now is Mama Mia and I didn’t leave the theater thinking a man from my past would ever walk in the door and marry me without even a long discussion first. LOL

Whether or not bad boys are alpha is a matter of opinion. I think they can be. At this point we may be debating semantics. In any case, the bottom line, in my opinion, is women want a good man and men want a good woman, whether it is in a book, a movie, or real life.

Next week’s question will be, “Should Men Read Romance Novels to Learn More About Women?” Email me your opinion at suspensebytina @ (no spaces) and you may be quoted on next week’s blog post.

Happy reading,


Edie said...

I never write a book thinking that my hero will be alpha or beta. I assume (I hope!) they'll be a rounded character with all the complexities of real people.

In fiction and real life I prefer a man who is a little of both. Someone who can be strong for you and the family. And also someone who cares for you when you're sick and will pick up the groceries when you're busy. (Of course, we'll do the same for him.)

Anonymous said...

Great discussion, Tina. I think in "real life" a strong Alpha and I would butt heads more than have wild monkey sex, you know?

Great question about men reading romance. Have to give this some thought.

Crystal-Rain Love said...

Alpha males work in books because we can give them that one little quirk to their personality that redeems them. They don't work in real life because they tend to be bossy, arrogant and domineering. We can't see inside a real man's mind like we can the character in a book, so all we see are those annoying traits with no insight as to why they act that way...
We don't want alpha men, we just flat out want the heros we're reading about (who just happen to be alpha)!


Tina LaVon said...

Great comments!
You are all brilliant.