The Alpha male = asshole

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Lil

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I've been thinking lately that the only real difference between Harvey Weinstein and the alpha hero/alpha-hole/player/duke of slut in romance is that the guy in romance is better looking.
 

ElaineA

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I am still puzzled that alpha males are a new thing. Aren't all romance novel heroes alphas, in nature if not in name?

Oh, they're not new, nor are alpha-holes. (Think of who was ripping all those bodices to earn the horrible nickname. It wasn't grieving mothers.) I think the OTT alpha depiction crossed over in time with a substantial number of readers realizing they no longer think rapey heroes are all that heroic. There are plenty of readers who still like uber-strong, and "rapey" is still in the eye of the beholder (thinking again of Jamie Fraser, here), but I think the overall trend is to tone them down and power the LI up so there is less of an extreme power dynamic between them.

Whether all romance heroes are alphas in nature, that's an interesting observation. There's definitely a trend toward "beta" heroes, although, again, what makes a "beta" is in the eye of the beholder. There's a writer I follow on Twitter who has compiled a list of what she calls Cinnamon Roll heroes. Soft, squishy, and sweet. Does that make a beta? I read one book with a supposedly "beta" hero who had a past as a guy who'd bar-fight, but now he knew better, and he's nice to stray animals and damaged women. He's also a modern blacksmith and martial arts instructor's assistant. I wouldn't have pegged him as a beta, but he was definitely a big, strong softy. I'm not really sure how beta hero is defined past, they're "not alpha-holes."

(For those interested in the list of Cinnamon Roll Heroes, Olivia's lists are here and here)
 

Marian Perera

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I am still puzzled that alpha males are a new thing. Aren't all romance novel heroes alphas, in nature if not in name?

I guess it depends on how "alpha" is defined, but for me, heroes who are kind, gentle, optimistic and easygoing tend to fall closer to the beta end of the spectrum (and for me, it's a sliding scale, rather than one or the other).
 

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Isn't it a requirement for cinnamon rolls to have many terrible horrible things heaped on top of them, in addition to being too pure for this world?

Can we have more heroines who explore their veto power with the alpha?
 

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I don't know when, in the current era of romance Alphas, we started seeing more "alpha-holes" than simply "strong, masculine" characters, but I do know one reader's SMC is another reader's alpha-hole and vice versa.

I don't know what the statistics are re character types then and now. I remember a number of books when I was younger where the MMC was a rapist, for instance, though it was never called that in so many words. And sometimes the MMC hit, shook, or verbally abused the FMC as well. The FMCs were sometimes physically abusive too--scratching, slapping and so on (often when the MMC had been verbally abusive first), though he always caught her wrists and forced a kiss on her or something, then her rage would evaporate and she'd start kissing him back.

This wasn't just a thing in genre romance. I remember it coming up in plenty of SFF novels as well, including ones written by women where the romantic arc was seen from her pov. Of course many of the male writers back in the day didn't worry if their male protagonists were too dark and edgy, because they were catering to male fantasies anyway, and any women in the story were plot devices, not characters in their own right. The only one I can recall written by a guy where the rape by a MMC had consequences was the first Thomas Covenant trilogy.

The thing with genre romance, and romantic arcs in other genres that incorporate rape (usually, though there are some exceptions), readers didn't define it as rape, because the FMC's body always reacted to him, even if her mind was saying no. She *really* wanted him, even though she was too proud or stubborn to admit it, so he was *really* doing her a favor. Today, more women know that this is a dangerous message to send, but the whole "Baby, it's Cold Outside" dynamic, where men push and women put up at least a token resistance, is so ingrained in our culture. Until recently, women often didn't feel like they had permission to be sexually assertive. Some still don't. I'm no psychologist, but I wonder if that's one reason why rape fantasies and so on are still a thing. They allow allowing her to explore her sexuality in a way that prevents her from feeling like a "bad" girl or whatever. When I was in college, I had friends (and one relative) who got pregnant, because they "couldn't" carry condoms or be on the pill until they had a sexual relationship going. If they acted like they were planning on or prepared for sex the first time or two with a new guy, he'd think she was a "slut."

I know it's more complex than that by itself, and some people are acknowledged and self into BD/SM, or milder forms of dominance and submissive role playing, who enjoy fantasizing and role playing with force in situations that are set up to be safe. I don't know how many of the women (or men) who enjoy alpha male or rape arcs in romance fall into that camp. It's not just a M/F thing either.
 
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Marian Perera

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The FMCs were sometimes physically abusive too--scratching, slapping and so on (often when the MMC had been verbally abusive first), though he always caught her wrists and forced a kiss on her or something, then her rage would evaporate and she'd start kissing him back.

IMO, there's an interesting double standard sometimes applied here. Any resistance on the heroine's part can transform her into either a bitch who deserves whatever the MMC does (worst case scenario) or an incredibly powerful person who stands up to whatever he hands out.

For instance, he can kidnap, mentally abuse and rape her, but if she decides she's not going to crumple and cry...wow. She's just as tough as he is. She's his equal! No wonder he falls for her. The fact that she's overcome by Stockholm Syndrome to the point where she doesn't try to escape doesn't count as much as the time she actually snarked back to him!

The thing with genre romance, and romantic arcs in other genres that incorporate rape (usually, though there are some exceptions), readers didn't define it as rape, because the FMC's body always reacted to him, even if her mind was saying no.

And it's still happening. In too many novels, wetness = consent.

There's actually one author whose rape scenes don't involve the heroine climaxing or even enjoying it the first few times, but the MMC is still absolved of blame because he uses "cream" on her. As SBTB put it, "He ain't hating cause he be lubricating".

Today, more women know that this is a dangerous message to send, but the whole "Baby, it's Cold Outside" dynamic, where men push and women put up at least a token resistance, is so ingrained in our culture.

Agreed. I can't count the number of openings I've critiqued where a man harasses a woman who's clearly not interested, but this is just as clearly meant to be romantic, with the writer stressing how hot the guy is. It's a huge turnoff for me.
 
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Roxxsmom

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Agreed. I can't count the number of openings I've critiqued in SYW where a man harasses a woman who's clearly not interested, but this is just as clearly meant to be romantic, with the writer stressing how hot the guy is. It's a huge turnoff for me.

It is for me too, but it's often framed as a guy "not taking no for an answer" or "knowing 'what' he wants and stopping at nothing to get it." Instead of harassment and disrespect, it's couched as a "can do" attitude paired with "true love" where he "knows he is her destiny, even if she doesn't see it yet."

The problem is, there are potentially relatable stories where someone loves someone but is afraid the object of their affection won't notice them, so they come up with clever and subtle ways to cross paths or set up situations where they can ask the person out. It can be hard to know if the person isn't responding because the methods are too subtle and they don't know they are admired, or if they're politely ignoring the overatures in the hopes that the other person takes a hint and stops it. I suspect many of us have been on both sides of this scenario.

I think there is a definite line beyond which such things become creepy and obsessive, but we don't all draw them in the same place.

IMO, endeavoring to get to class early so you can get a seat near someone you like so you can ask to borrow their notes and then (possibly) invite them to the party this weekend if you don't chicken out is not the same thing as grabbing or mashing or harassing them or repeatedly asking them out after being told "no" very clearly.

But one thing with romance novels is you can't ever just have a simple path to love where one initiates, the other reciprocates, and it's settled after a few pleasant dates (or meetings or whatever is period appropriate). There has to be some kind of obstacle, and sometimes the writer chooses to make the woman hate him for some reason. His being an arrogant jerk (or abusing her in some way) is certainly one way to engender that hate. It's a tough obstacle to surmount.
 
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morngnstar

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But one thing with romance novels is you can't ever just have a simple path to love where one initiates, the other reciprocates, and it's settled after a few pleasant dates (or meetings or whatever is period appropriate). There has to be some kind of obstacle, and sometimes the writer chooses to make the woman hate him for some reason. His being an arrogant jerk (or abusing her in some way) is certainly one way to engender that hate. It's a tough obstacle to surmount.

Yeah, but making him pull her pigtails because he likes her is the cheapest, most obvious way to make sure there's enough conflict for 200 pages. It's more fun to see any original way to keep them apart.
 

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Yeah, but making him pull her pigtails because he likes her is the cheapest, most obvious way to make sure there's enough conflict for 200 pages. It's more fun to see any original way to keep them apart.

No argument from me on that.

I don't want characters to be perfect, and I found messed up characters to be intriguing if they work things through (and that can be an obstacle to overcome too). But nasty for the sake of nasty, ergh. When I was young, I dated a guy who was (I realize now) somewhat sadistic. He liked upsetting people (especially me). He'd say or do things that hurt, worried, or even scared me (like swinging ski lifts or gondolas when he knew I was scared of heights and was terrified of falling), then get upset I got mad because "I had no sense of humor." There was plenty of manipulation, gaslighting and domineering stuff going on too.

I'm very sensitive to sadistic or domineering behavior pattern in literature for this reason.
 
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Anna_Hedley

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Tangentially related but I find this particularly egregious in romance with a BDSM element. The Dom can't just be dominant in the bedroom. He has to be a rude, mean-spirited, controlling piece of work everywhere else too. And there are often consent issues that are glossed over because he's just being "dominant". It doesn't happen to me often because I'm an extremely picky reader and the publisher in question is usually very good at warning for things that might set me off, but the last book I nearly threw across the room had that issue. The "Dom" in question ignored his sub's safeword and then berated the sub for safewording when he didn't need to. I can't remember the last time before or since a piece of fiction's angered me to that extent.

But all of the BDSM books I've read without stereotypical Doms have inevitably had reviews that complained he "didn't seem like a Dom". So who knows?
 
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Jurné Ends

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I love, love an alpha male. I like a male who when he enters a room, commands the attention; who is protective of all those he encounter; a go getter but not a sh*t starter; who is true to his word even when it's easy to run. I do love a good alpha male ...it's just unfortunately a thin line between a good alpha male and an arsehole both in real life and in fiction. When I was less discriminating in novels I purchased, I own a multitude of romances where the hero was such a massive arsehole to the heroine, it made me begin to dislike romances. As a womanist, it perplexed me as to why a genre with a huge female base would promote such heroes in such quantities. It frustrated me so much I took a hiatus from romance novels for about five years. I cleared my shelves and donated all my romances to the local thrift store (always looking for a tax write off lol). But I love love and eventually made my way back. I began to read more women lit, where there was a romantic element to the stories -there still are arseholes in those stories too, however, the heroines are generally less submissive and roll over types. Slowly, romance novels found it's way back into my life but I became more discriminating about which books I would willing purchase and allow on my bookshelf.

Now as I am re-writting my current WIP, I realize just how difficult it is to find the balance to create a good alpha male without turning him into an arsehole or my heroine into some submissive who caves at an orgasm or one night of groveling. I can't say I have it down pack -there are many instances where I find myself ditching a paragraph or two where my hero went all cave man on me and I have to force him to use that sexy cerebrum of his. It's an uphill battle but I figure by the fifth revision, I will have him civilized enough to charm my heroine into a happily ever after ...otherwise it may end up being a horror story with my heroine serving his corpse to her hoard of puppies.
 

Marian Perera

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It is for me too, but it's often framed as a guy "not taking no for an answer" or "knowing 'what' he wants and stopping at nothing to get it." Instead of harassment and disrespect, it's couched as a "can do" attitude paired with "true love" where he "knows he is her destiny, even if she doesn't see it yet."

Exactly. It's as though this is taken for granted : men smirk, swagger, and make sexually suggestive comments when they're with women they like, the hero is a man, he likes the heroine, therefore it's normal and expected for him to behave this way. Plus, he's hot! So why should anyone object?

The saddest moment for me was when the entire scene was written from the POV of the heroine, clearly showing that she was uncomfortable with the harassment, especially since it was happening at her workplace. She kept trying to stay professional and make the man leave her alone.

A comment from a female reader was, "Playing hard to get." :Headbang:

The problem is, there are potentially relatable stories where someone loves someone but is afraid the object of their affection won't notice them, so they come up with clever and subtle ways to cross paths or set up situations where they can ask the person out.

Subtle is fine with me. I don't even mind overt, as long as the man is able to take no for an answer and the woman is able to hold her own. One of my favorite historical romances is Pamela Morsi's Wild Oats, which begins with the hero nervously approaching the heroine (who's five years older than he is, and a divorcee) to suggest that he paint her fence, make repairs around her house, and provide her with a "modest stipend" for her "discretionary use". She finally realizes what he's hoping to get in return, but he was so uncertain and polite that it ended up being the most endearing indecent proposal I've ever read.

But one thing with romance novels is you can't ever just have a simple path to love where one initiates, the other reciprocates, and it's settled after a few pleasant dates (or meetings or whatever is period appropriate). There has to be some kind of obstacle, and sometimes the writer chooses to make the woman hate him for some reason. His being an arrogant jerk (or abusing her in some way) is certainly one way to engender that hate. It's a tough obstacle to surmount.

Something that works for me, and which I use in the romances I write, is when the antagonism or conflict at the start is based on something other than (apparently unreciprocated) attraction.

So for instance, if the man invades the woman's personal space because he feels entitled to her attention or because he can't stand the prospect of a woman being uninterested in him, ugh. It doesn't matter if the writer assures me the heroine, despite saying "no", is tingling and quivering and manifesting Niagara Falls in her panties. I still won't read any further.

But if he invades her personal space because, say, he saw someone secretly put a tracking device into her purse, and he's trying to get that off her before anything goes wrong, that's much more palatable. Quite a few of my romances start out with the heroine disliking the hero, but it's never because he's expressed his attraction to her through overbearing or abusive behavior.
 

Roxxsmom

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As a womanist, it perplexed me as to why a genre with a huge female base would promote such heroes in such quantities.

Not all women are feminists by any stretch. Many are hostile to feminism, in fact. I don't get it. Even granting that feminism is a multi-faceted movement, and different women will have different priorities, it's odd (imo) to be against a movement that strives to give one equal rights and autonomy. It doesn't appear that other marginalized groups have the same percentages of people who are hostile to their own rights movements. Maybe it's because the economic well being and emotional lives of women is so intertwined with that of the men in their lives (in a way that members of other groups aren't with their oppressors).

With tastes in literature, I suspect some women who love the arsehole alpha male types like it because it allows them to indulge in fantasies about conquering patriarchal assholes in their own life, if only via love. With most of these arcs, the guy respects the woman (even if she's the only woman he ever has and ever will respect) by the end of the story. Being "different from most women" and being respected by a difficult man could make one feel special in a misogynistic world.

There's also the heady sense of power, if only by association, that can accompany being associated with a powerful (or simply difficult) man. Throughout much of history, this was the only socially acceptable way for a woman to embrace power or notoriety. It's probably why some women develop long distance relationships with criminals who are in prison. The idea that men are supposed to protect women (and not vice versa) is also deeply rooted, to the point where I've been told that not allowing a male main character to be cast in the role of sole protector/rescuer (because the FMC can usually protect/rescue herself and even protect or rescue him sometimes) is emasculating.

I'd rather not have to be protected by others, at least any more than I protect others, because it puts me in a one-down position. Who are men protecting women from anyway? Speeding trains? Airplane crashes? Charging lions? Death in childbirth? Cancer? No to all of these. It's from other men.

I've found romance writers who don't tend to create typical alpha male types and relationships that don't reinforce typical power dynamics, however. I think there are more than there once were.
 
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Some readers like alpha-holes in fiction. That doesn't mean they like it in real life. It's a fantasy not a life plan. I've noticed a real uptick in places like twitter where people are shaming other people for non-PC fantasies, which seems to me like puritanism just with a new set of rules.
 

Roxxsmom

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Some readers like alpha-holes in fiction. That doesn't mean they like it in real life. It's a fantasy not a life plan. I've noticed a real uptick in places like twitter where people are shaming other people for non-PC fantasies, which seems to me like puritanism just with a new set of rules.

Maybe. *puts on prim, white headdress*

Seriously, feelings aren't right or wrong. They simply are. Some women (and probably some men too) even enjoy being subordinate in their relationships for real, which is their business as long as they don't try to force that pattern on everyone else. As for the alpha hole plot lines, as long as people don't use the existence of these stories, and the fact that some women enjoy them, as justification for being jerks to women in real life (or for insisting that women don't like nice men or that women really want to be dominated and abused), it's not a problem.

I think one reason some of us may go overboard sometimes in terms of being critical of the stories and fantasies that aren't "pc" is because we have felt pressured to be submissive in real life, or because we feel threatened by the fact that so many people are still trying to reinforce patriarchy via legislation and so on (or are still preying on women in work, politics, entertainment, social settings and so on).

I don't know how to reconcile all these conflicting feelings, none of which are wrong, but which aren't always compatible.
 
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Jurné Ends

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I agree everyone is entitle to indulge in whatever kink's their fancy if they are consenting adults and no one should be shamed for their personal desires. Kinks doesn't disturb me but rather the abundance of romance novels published featuring arseholes heroes. It could be as Roxxsmom stated a push back on the societal climate where women (and some men) are often subjugated and not treated as equals that is why there are such outcries on social media when someone discuss a fetish versus people being purely puritanistic. Of course, I didn't read any of the tweets so I could be very far off the mark. It's my hope there will eventually be a shift in romance where there isn't so many areshole heroes dressed up as alpha heroes.
 
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mccardey

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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that arseholes are just yanno arseholes. And alpha is just an excuse.
 

Roxxsmom

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Oh, it does persist, it does.

Just two days ago I was at a film and there was a preview shown for an upcoming movie called (cringe) “Alpha”, blatantly a fictionalized account of how wolves became dogs (More cringe: It was a single cave boy who heroically rescued and tamed a single wolf so they become A Boy And His Dog, which is far from how it really happened, but conveniently fits modern pop pseudoscience.).

Yeah, that model is very out of date, but I had a feeling the movie would perpetuate the myth.

The more current hypothesis--that dogs self domesticated, at least initially, by hanging around our midden heaps--is a tad less romantic.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that arseholes are just yanno arseholes. And alpha is just an excuse.

I think this pretty much sums it up.

I think people tend to get dismissive and nasty about other people's preferences and tastes when they feel threatened or pressured themselves. Not an excuse, but with patriarchy still so much the norm, I know I feel sort of kicked in the gut by all the guys who are apparently still out there who still think women are weaker, softer, more submissive and generally prefer men to be forceful and not take no for an answer (or think that women are simply objects to be used). When I encounter women who appear to concur with these opinions, it feels a bit like a betrayal. And I suppose that a woman who prefers traditional arrangements might feel threatened by a potential feminist revolution that could make it economically or socially harder to live as she chooses--hence all the criticism of women (or men) who are not traditional in some quarters.

When people poo poo books that aren't to their taste, it's sometimes because they feel like they're not finding enough that are to their taste, and again there's that creeping anxiety--wondering if one's tastes are, in fact, so much in the minority that hardly anyone bothers to publish to them.
 
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Jan74

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I've been thinking lately that the only real difference between Harvey Weinstein and the alpha hero/alpha-hole/player/duke of slut in romance is that the guy in romance is better looking.
This made me laugh :) Yes if you replace Harvey with let's say Brad Pitt, does the narrative change? It shouldn't, in a "justice is blind" world, however we def don't live in a blind world.

Oh, they're not new, nor are alpha-holes. (Think of who was ripping all those bodices to earn the horrible nickname. It wasn't grieving mothers.) I think the OTT alpha depiction crossed over in time with a substantial number of readers realizing they no longer think rapey heroes are all that heroic. There are plenty of readers who still like uber-strong, and "rapey" is still in the eye of the beholder (thinking again of Jamie Fraser, here), but I think the overall trend is to tone them down and power the LI up so there is less of an extreme power dynamic between them.

(For those interested in the list of Cinnamon Roll Heroes, Olivia's lists are here and here)
Thanks for the links, I'm going to check them out.

I love, love an alpha male. I like a male who when he enters a room, commands the attention; who is protective of all those he encounter; a go getter but not a sh*t starter; who is true to his word even when it's easy to run. I do love a good alpha male ...it's just unfortunately a thin line between a good alpha male and an arsehole both in real life and in fiction. When I was less discriminating in novels I purchased, I own a multitude of romances where the hero was such a massive arsehole to the heroine, it made me begin to dislike romances. As a womanist, it perplexed me as to why a genre with a huge female base would promote such heroes in such quantities. It frustrated me so much I took a hiatus from romance novels for about five years. I cleared my shelves and donated all my romances to the local thrift store (always looking for a tax write off lol). But I love love and eventually made my way back. I began to read more women lit, where there was a romantic element to the stories -there still are arseholes in those stories too, however, the heroines are generally less submissive and roll over types. Slowly, romance novels found it's way back into my life but I became more discriminating about which books I would willing purchase and allow on my bookshelf.

Now as I am re-writting my current WIP, I realize just how difficult it is to find the balance to create a good alpha male without turning him into an arsehole or my heroine into some submissive who caves at an orgasm or one night of groveling. I can't say I have it down pack -there are many instances where I find myself ditching a paragraph or two where my hero went all cave man on me and I have to force him to use that sexy cerebrum of his. It's an uphill battle but I figure by the fifth revision, I will have him civilized enough to charm my heroine into a happily ever after ...otherwise it may end up being a horror story with my heroine serving his corpse to her hoard of puppies.
I think you can have the arshole in your wip as long as we know he's an arsehole and not disguised as an alpha. A womanist, what exactly is a womanist? I too like womens fiction and have tossed more than one romance novel because the FMC is such a wuss to the alpha who becomes and ass.

Exactly. It's as though this is taken for granted : men smirk, swagger, and make sexually suggestive comments when they're with women they like, the hero is a man, he likes the heroine, therefore it's normal and expected for him to behave this way. Plus, he's hot! So why should anyone object?

The saddest moment for me was when the entire scene was written from the POV of the heroine, clearly showing that she was uncomfortable with the harassment, especially since it was happening at her workplace. She kept trying to stay professional and make the man leave her alone.

A comment from a female reader was, "Playing hard to get." :Headbang:
Ughhh yes that situation is a total turnoff. However that is reality for many women(minus the good looks), many women are harasses sexually in the work place by men who are indifferent. But I'm willing to bet most women who read this in novels are still against the Harvey's of the world.

Not all women are feminists by any stretch. Many are hostile to feminism, in fact. I don't get it. Even granting that feminism is a multi-faceted movement, and different women will have different priorities, it's odd (imo) to be against a movement that strives to give one equal rights and autonomy. It doesn't appear that other marginalized groups have the same percentages of people who are hostile to their own rights movements. Maybe it's because the economic well being and emotional lives of women is so intertwined with that of the men in their lives (in a way that members of other groups aren't with their oppressors).

With tastes in literature, I suspect some women who love the arsehole alpha male types like it because it allows them to indulge in fantasies about conquering patriarchal assholes in their own life, if only via love. With most of these arcs, the guy respects the woman (even if she's the only woman he ever has and ever will respect) by the end of the story. Being "different from most women" and being respected by a difficult man could make one feel special in a misogynistic world.

There's also the heady sense of power, if only by association, that can accompany being associated with a powerful (or simply difficult) man. Throughout much of history, this was the only socially acceptable way for a woman to embrace power or notoriety. It's probably why some women develop long distance relationships with criminals who are in prison. The idea that men are supposed to protect women (and not vice versa) is also deeply rooted, to the point where I've been told that not allowing a male main character to be cast in the role of sole protector/rescuer (because the FMC can usually protect/rescue herself and even protect or rescue him sometimes) is emasculating.

I'd rather not have to be protected by others, at least any more than I protect others, because it puts me in a one-down position. Who are men protecting women from anyway? Speeding trains? Airplane crashes? Charging lions? Death in childbirth? Cancer? No to all of these. It's from other men.

I've found romance writers who don't tend to create typical alpha male types and relationships that don't reinforce typical power dynamics, however. I think there are more than there once were.
I found this post very interesting. You touched on some very real topics. I would agree that many of these romances allow a woman to indulge in her deepest fantasies which do include dominance/abuse/rape etc. I myself have enjoyed some twisted stories that delve into the dark side of things, however there are always warnings for these stories that tell a person there are triggers of a graphic nature. I know when opening up these stories this is not a "romance" and there is no prince charming. I only get pissed off when I think I'm reading about a "good alpaha" and he turns out to be an asshole. I see nothing wrong with women indulging in reading about fantasies that are not ok in real life. I don't condone rape or kidnapping, however it doesn't mean I can't take pleasure in reading these stories. I would never want to live a life like these FMc and from a few of my own real life toxic relationships I can say first hand there is nothing romantic about it, however reading fiction is just that its fiction. I do think many women want to feel protected IRL with their men, there are def scenarios where most woman need to know their man has their back and will protect them. It's not a day to day thing where the man is swinging from the ropes like Tarzan carrying Jane off, but in general. I agree with you that they are protecting women from other men. It's something that comes naturally to men. For instance when we go to the show sometimes there are drunks etc roaming about if we're heading down the sidewalk and one appears my husband instantly will switch sides so he's between us. It's just instinct and usually happens really quick. He's not a fighter, doesn't go looking for fights but is protective of his family. My father was the same way. When I lived across the street from my parents, alone with just me and my daughter, a salesman showed up at my door, it was late and my father(who is a police officer) came over just as I opened the door and made him leave(there had been complaints about aggressive men in the area showing up at homes in the evening and refusing to leave etc) anyways...the guy left instantly and my friend heard it all since I was on the phone with her at the time when the guy came to my door. Anyways....yes I believe it's very natural for men to protect women, from other men.

Some readers like alpha-holes in fiction. That doesn't mean they like it in real life. It's a fantasy not a life plan. I've noticed a real uptick in places like twitter where people are shaming other people for non-PC fantasies, which seems to me like puritanism just with a new set of rules.
I agree, I don't think twice about what women like to read and its a free world and just because a person enjoys a certain taboo story doesn't mean they would ever condone it in real life.

Some really interesting comments on this thread!
 

Jurné Ends

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To simplify womanism is a broader view in a sense than feminism, it a view more or less in the equalities of not just the genders but also take into cultural and economical equalities. That's a bit simple but it's a bit difficult to sum up and not derail the post lol.

With the exception of Jason Momoa (who honestly can do very little wrong in my eyes when his shirt is off), I don't view arseholes as heroes, disguised or otherwise lol. I definitely wouldn't want to contribute to any more romances (or other literature) promoting arsehole heroes if I can help it. One of the reasons why I decided to write a romance-ish novel is because I wanted to be a part of the solution instead of always complaining of how difficult it is to find stories I enjoy (and the voices in my head wouldn't leave me alone, so it was either write about them or take Clozapine). I don't know if it my novel will sell or be publish as it is a bit different from what is currently fashionable but I love (well sometimes) writing it all the same lol.
 
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Twick

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Do you want to live in a world where there are more arseholes than there is now? You do? Great! Just be part of a literary movement that tells people that arsehole behaviour isn't *really* bad, and that women will really love you for it. That a happy ending will result when women submit to their "natural impulses" to fall into the arms of such "alphas".

Have fun the next time someone cuts you off in traffic in his manly-man sports car and gives you the finger for being in his way.
 

Anna_Hedley

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I've been thinking lately that the only real difference between Harvey Weinstein and the alpha hero/alpha-hole/player/duke of slut in romance is that the guy in romance is better looking.

Jan74 said:
This made me laugh :) Yes if you replace Harvey with let's say Brad Pitt, does the narrative change? It shouldn't, in a "justice is blind" world, however we def don't live in a blind world.


I don't think it is different or the narrative changes at all. For one thing, Harvey Weinstein is a real person causing real harm in the real world. For another, every one of us in this thread seem to be capable of identifying alphahole behaviour as creepy, predatory, and wrong even though they're generally described as the handsomest men ever to cock an eyebrow.
 

kssmith626

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This thread is incredibly interesting to me, because I tend to think of my men as betas, with typically more assertive women. But based on this discussion, I've think I've been conflating alpha and alpha-hole. So maybe my men are just nice alphas. Yay!
 

Jan74

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[/COLOR]I don't think it is different or the narrative changes at all. For one thing, Harvey Weinstein is a real person causing real harm in the real world. For another, every one of us in this thread seem to be capable of identifying alphahole behaviour as creepy, predatory, and wrong even though they're generally described as the handsomest men ever to cock an eyebrow.
Agreed!
 

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