The Alpha male = asshole

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RookieWriter

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I'm posting this blog because it's exactly how I feel about so many of these novels that have the alpha male, yet to me the alpha male should not be an abusive dick wad. I'm sad to see so many of these novels with men who in real life would be flagged as abusive and women should run the other way from.
Quote from the blog.
"The alpha male is confident. Brave. Fierce. Unwavering. Protective. He’s a sexual powerhouse. Sometimes cocky and his ego can get the better of him. He’s in great physical shape. He’s a natural leader, and someone people find themselves drawn to. When he tells you he loves you, he means it. The alpha male is a man’s, man. He probably eats a shit load of steak and loves beer, scotch and whiskey. The alpha male has purpose and drive. He has values, he knows how to treat a woman and above all else – he is true to himself no matter what because he knows who he is. He’s the kind of guy that most often gets described as smelling like tobacco and cologne, or smoke and spice or…whatever bonkers but super masculine scent combination us writers like to come up with."

Here's what he's become.
Quote from blog
"Moody and brooding almost 70% of the time. Hyper jealous, insanely possessive and controlling. Complete assholes…oh, to make up for some traumatic event in their life most likely. They disappear only to reappear and the woman takes them back…because he’s just an alpha and that’s what they do. Ego’s bigger than Texas, and acting like overgrown babies when another man even dares to speak to “their woman.” I’m surprised some of them didn’t toss the heroine over their shoulder cave-man style and carry them back to their lair so they can have over the top sex, and she doesn’t complain because he’s just so darn irresistible."


https://alynehart.com/2017/08/06/the-problem-with-the-alpha-male/

It's just something that is driving me crazy in the genre. And what is even more disheartening is sometimes I'm blindsided by it mid novel after enjoying the book and then half way through the guy I really like turns into a possessive creep.

So if any of you have read some great alpha male romance novels where he isn't an asshole and doesn't treat the woman like a child I would love to gather a list so I don't waste any more of my precious reading time on losers.

Ok vent over.

I don't know any book character examples because I don't read those stories but I am willing to believe you and I appreciate your rant about this. I'm so burned out on this alpha male obsession we have in America right now. It's the current wanna be trend, to be the loud, rude, obnoxious, attention seeking person in the room because it makes you look alpha. It's embarrassing to watch how so many men are trying to be "alpha" because the misguided seem to believe that being disrespectful and controlling is somehow going to make you look confident and important. If that is who you are, then that is one thing and hopefully those people are aware that their behavior is damaging and seeking to fix that. However for someone to strive to be more like that and take pride in how big of an egotistical, disrespectful, self righteous, loud mouthed, arrogant douche bag they can become is just shameful.

One way I like to respond to these people is look at them and say BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS!!

Rant over :tongue
 
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triceretops

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Yo! Very well put. Men, stop being master of the universe, and women stop worshiping the master of the universe. This ain't no fracking stage play going on here. This is real life on planet earth. Leave predation to the animal kingdom.

Enhance your G--damned calm, citizens, and be kind to each other.
 

morngnstar

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I think one thing that gets left out of consideration of the appeal of these kinds of very domineering heroes is catharsis.

I have thought that as well.

I agree totally. I think it's the same with readers who like intense horror or porn.

The problem with both horror and alphaholes as catharsis is that it can be a conservative impulse. Horror has lots of conservative tropes: don't be slutty or the serial killer will get you. And fear is a strong tool of conservatives.

These catharsis alternatives say, you can't change society; here's a coping mechanism for dealing with it. So a woman might read a satisfying romance about taming an alpha male, and stay in a real life relationship with an abusive or controlling man who will never be tamed.
 

veinglory

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I would take a much simpler view. That is, in fiction you can have a hugely powerful and feared mate, and be 100% certain they will not hurt you or act in objectively anti-social ways. That is a culturally based fantasy but arguably has little or no sociological importance. It is enjoyed by self-actualized people with a firm fantasy/reality boundary.
 

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Caveat: perhaps these are women's page where much is mulled that's not really meant. If so, stipulate it!

"Alpha males are arseholes." I'm stunned by the statement's originality, and then shamed and utterly humiliated, imagine!

'Imagine' all you want.

The love of a great men can only be earned by a great women, whose powerful heart he will worship. Being male is fabulous in so many ways, which would take me more than 4 mere pages to elucidate, so that I won't bother. Although, if one wants to appreciate the mightiness of being male, just think of this thread backwards. The thread itself is actually backwards, so that would mean thinking forwards.


I don't expect praise that I find this thread laughable - not contemptible, because the thread requires minor consideration, so that 'laughable' is more applicable.


'Praise' is said in so many ways. Even contempt and hatred are forms of praise, both flavoursome, even Shakespeare said as much. The hate could be for yourself and for what you can never, ever, be; oh sorrow, ladies few. Nursing resentment for continuing failures in the shadows of vitriol - spiteful at the bitterness of truth that daily smirks in minds fearful, because they are absent of the protection of the unmitigated power of the alpha male.


But alas hornets, pesky little beasts. One truly resists the temptation to poke their nests, but boys will be boys, haha.
 

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But alas hornets, pesky little beasts. One truly resists the temptation to poke their nests, but boys will be boys, haha.

QED
 

lizmonster

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Caveat: perhaps these are women's page where much is mulled that's not really meant. If so, stipulate it!

I know some of the terminology used in this thread is probably odd to people for whom English is a second language. We're discussing a specific romance novel trope, its cultural significance and desirability, and the various ways it can and cannot work. I'd suggest, if you're interested in the topic, that you reread the posts you found confusing, and ask clarifying questions as necessary.
 

SLake

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...terminology... is probably odd to people for whom English is a second language. We're discussing a specific romance novel trope... reread the posts you found confusing...

You infer that I don't understand English and that the thread confuses me, a curious assessment.

The irony of Fiction is that if it doesn't portray life's actualities or present tangible facsimiles it fails. As writers, daily we seek new, novel and dynamic ways to thrill and stun our audiences, which I hoped would be conveyed in my post.

It's a pity you didn't understand my pitch, in which I was portraying the gusto of an alpha male who carves himself relentlessly through the tedium of many platitudes, often regardless of the sensitivities of the heroine and even the reader, who may understand or may not, depending upon the writers' skill to portray him.

Hereafter I'll try my utmost to explain myself in easy and simplistic terms, just for you.
 
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lizmonster

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You infer that I don't understand English and that the thread confuses me, a curious assessment.

I'm pretty sure my point was clear. In fact, as I read the rest of your post, I'm quite certain my point was clear.

The irony of Fiction is that if it doesn't portray life's actualities or present tangible facsimiles it fails. As writers, daily we seek new, novel and dynamic ways to thrill and stun our audiences, which I hoped would be conveyed in my post.

Do you? Because I strive to bore people. Go figure.

Also, "fiction" isn't capitalized in this context.

It's a pity you didn't understand my pitch, in which I was portraying the gusto of an alpha male who carves himself relentlessly through the tedium of many platitudes, often regardless of the sensitivities of the heroine and even the reader, who may understand or may not, depending upon the writers' skill to portray him.

You and I both know I knew exactly what you were saying. But biased assertions do not an argument make. If you want to defend the Alpha Male trope, defend the trope. "No it isn't" isn't an argument, as some very educated blokes made clear a few decades back.

Hereafter I'll try my utmost to explain myself in easy and simplistic terms, just for you.

If you'd explain yourself at all, that'd be a start. Use whatever Big Dictionary Words you want; I can look stuff up if I have to.
 

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Hereafter I'll try my utmost to explain myself in easy and simplistic terms, just for you.

Yeah, don't bother. Really. You've been here since 2005. You've flounced. You've been repeatedly rude and condescending. You've been warned. You know better.

You're being rude and condescending, again, and abusing your fellow members and the English language, while endeavoring to be snotty about someone else's English.

You're no longer welcome.
 
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morngnstar

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Methought maybe he was performing an alpha male asshole character.
 

morngnstar

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Hemingway is the pickle, obviously, and Shakespeare is the smooth, creamy iambic peanutameter.
 

Spicyqueso

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Soooo alpha males are my weakness and I often look for them in romance. However, I can not stand the asshole characterization or the cheating phenomenon that seems to have occurred. I don't know if you would be interested but Kresley Cole is my favorite author. Her Immortals After Dark Series is my jam and it has alpha heroes that can be assholeish but the females are usually incredibly badass and don't put up with it. I guess I like that dynamic. I don't know if you would like to check that out? I think I remember "The Duke of Sin" being a good one too but I'm not sure if it fits your preferences. X.X
 

Roxxsmom

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I think one issue is that the cultural concept or meme of an "alpha male," in a human sense at least, is really a parody of strength. Actually, parody isn't the right word, it's more a personification of toxic maleness. The societal perception of an alpha male represents the futile posturings of someone who is deeply insecure, both in his maleness and in his own competence and appeal, so he attempts to aggressively control those around him. With humans, the best leaders (of any gender) tend to be competent, persuasive, and good at motivating others without fear or intimidation.

As for the concept that alpha males hide their emotions (except anger) and never show any emotional vulnerability, that's more an exaggeration of a particular cultural concept of maleness, one that is not universal.

In romantic fiction, alpha male characters often have a wounded core, or a secret fear. His stoic exterior is hiding a frightened boy who had trauma that forced him to grow up too fast, perhaps. This probably represents a female fantasy as well, but that doesn't mean that guys who exhibit a more neurotic, extreme form of stereotypical maleness aren't frightened or insecure. What's more debatable is whether or not the love of a good woman is necessary, let alone sufficient, to bring them out of that shell. At best, love of someone who challenges you can encourage self introspection, but it takes work and long-term motivation to change an entrenched behavior pattern.

Of course, not everyone means the same thing when they use the term "alpha male," even in the context of romance plots. To some an alpha male is any guy who is basically competent, successful, confident, and good looking. These traits don't require that he also be a control freak or out of touch with his gentler emotions.
 

morngnstar

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To some an alpha male is any guy who is basically competent, successful, confident, and good looking.

I think not just successful, but in charge. It's possible to be very successful in an individual effort, but not really be considered an alpha male. For example, a scientist. Or you can even be an elite follower, like a musician in a world-class orchestra, and it's unlikely you'll be considered an alpha male. They need to be successful in some field that involves authority over others, like business or politics. Sports stars and military heroes also qualify, because success there implies dominance over other men. Though I suppose firefighters probably qualify, despite firefighting not intrinsically involving dominance over others. My guess is they qualify based on similar traits to dominant men: strength, bravery.
 

triceretops

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I realize that the typical representation of the alpha male is a fantasy fulfillment type thing, because, considering the above, there can only be so many bosses to go around, if indeed, the order givers are the sought-after figures. What I have a problem with, and just a single man's opinion, is when this selective feeling involves or approaches masochism, it's gone too far for me. Twilight and 50 Shades left me with a disturbing feeling. Such a woman, to me, is too simplified, too easy, uniformed, unmotivated, and totally lacking self-confidence. She's about as sexy as a wet sponge, having little or no pride or decision-making capability. These women are ripe for being stepped on by the WRONG guy. I think most men like a woman that can hold their own in the intelligence department and demonstrate individualism. Let's face it, women outnumber men in attending colleges and universities and they are scoring higher grades all across the board. THAT is attractive.

So I applaud the theme/message of the OP in this thread. I don''t think feminism should be knocked back 100 years. There are plenty of dom men out there. What you don't want to attract is the guy who hides behind a machismo, cruel and insufferably controlling exterior, only to hide a real coward and phony, who is so uncertain of his manhood, that he will overcompensate for it with a huge stage play. If you go into a relationship too sub, you can actually cultivate and create such a f....king beast. Then moral turpitude goes completely out the window, along with kindness and respect. Take the Napoleon complex and size the man up--now you have real problems. A great character balance can always be reached, regardless of gender.
 
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Elle.

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I realize that the typical representation of the alpha male is a fantasy fulfillment type thing, because, considering the above, there can only be so many bosses to go around, if indeed, the order givers are the sought-after figures. What I have a problem with, and just a single man's opinion, is when this selective feeling involves or approaches masochism, it's gone too far for me. Twilight and 50 Shades left me with a disturbing feeling. Such a woman, to me, is too simplified, too easy, uniformed, unmotivated, and totally lacking self-confidence. She's about as sexy as a wet sponge, having little or no pride or decision-making capability. These women are ripe for being stepped on by the WRONG guy. I think most men like a woman that can hold their own in the intelligence department and demonstrate individualism. Let's face it, women outnumber men in attending colleges and universities and they are scoring higher grades all across the board. THAT is attractive.

So I applaud the theme/message of the OP in this thread. I don''t think feminism should be knocked back 100 years. There are plenty of dom men out there. What you don't want to attract is the guy who hides behind a machismo, cruel and insufferably controlling exterior, only to hide a real coward and phony, who is so uncertain of his manhood, that he will overcompensate for it with a huge stage play. If you go into a relationship too sub, you can actually cultivate and create such a f....king beast. Then moral turpitude goes completely out the window, along with kindness and respect. Take the Napoleon complex and size the man up--now you have real problems. A great character balance can always be reached, regardless of gender.

You are not the only one to feel this way. Even though I can accept that not all women are assertive or extrovert and all types of women should be represented one of my main issues with the particular series you mentioned is the "passing abusive relationships and unhealthy behaviours as romance/love" through a skewed alpha male. I have no issue with novels portraying unhealthy relationships for what they are but not as a romance. No, someone who is controlling, possessive towards their partner is not romantic or a sign of how much they love you. In my opinion, this can send the wrong message to impressionable girls and women that if you love them long enough you can change them and that love is enough. It's not years of therapy is what's required. I guess what's where my alpha male = asshole for me (those particular situations). Of course those are all my opinions.

***SPOILERS***For example, I'm currently reading Sofka Zinovieff's Putney which centres around the relationship of a thirty year-old alpha male with a teenage girl, and although they both think of their relationship as love the book clearly shows that it is an unhealthy (and of course illegal and immoral relationship).
 

triceretops

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***SPOILERS***For example, I'm currently reading Sofka Zinovieff's Putney which centres around the relationship of a thirty year-old alpha male with a teenage girl, and although they both think of their relationship as love the book clearly shows that it is an unhealthy (and of course illegal and immoral relationship).

That's a good point. Another area of concern. The Pretty Baby complex, in regard to men--just as extreme and unhealthy. Yo, illegal.

Serving as a federal protection officer, I was often called to friend's houses to quell out-of-control arguments and domestic violence. I did this as a friend to help sooth some wounds, and also avoid the county and city law jurisdiction, which could result in jail terms and/or fines and misdemeanor or felony charges. In nearly every case, I knew these guys to be heady-handed controllers, oft times violent and under the influence. Their histories of spousal or girlfriend abuse went back years. This was not the case all the time, but it happened often enough for me to sit up and take notice.
 

Marian Perera

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What I have a problem with, and just a single man's opinion, is when this selective feeling involves or approaches masochism, it's gone too far for me. Twilight and 50 Shades left me with a disturbing feeling. Such a woman, to me, is too simplified, too easy, uniformed, unmotivated, and totally lacking self-confidence. She's about as sexy as a wet sponge, having little or no pride or decision-making capability.

This refers to a niche in the romance market rather than anything mainstream, but I was talking to another romance writer who told me she was working on an "omegaverse" story.

What's omegaverse? I asked.

She told me it's a type of M/M romance where there are omegas, meaning men who can get pregnant. It fascinated her because she wanted to explore the consequences of this, such as the power dynamics involved in such a relationship, but she also said that the majority of omegaverse romances didn't work for her because the omega is often infantilized - e.g. called "Little One" or carried around and fed by his powerful alpha partner.

And one particular story really irritated her because the omega had escaped from an abusive alpha, and he made a remark about how alphas didn't know everything. This earned him the nickname of "Firecracker" from other characters, and some reviewers complained about the omega's "brattiness". I guess when the lesser partner (be that a woman or an omega) is so very powerless compared to the alpha, one snarky remark is as shocking as if the character fired off a ballistic missile, and it probably deserves as proportionate a reaction.
 
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Jan74

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Wow some excitement while I was gone :)

I'm happy to see the thread still going. I love reading others opinions and points of view on the topic....even the ones that seem to veer off into the twilight zone, although I'm glad to see that member appears to be banned. We can disagree without being condescending and insulting.

And I've learned something new today....I now know what omegaverse is :)
 

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