I read fiction across all genres, and I am disturbed by this whole "alpha" male concept. If the hero is a man that most women would find repugnant in real life, female readers drool over him. Why? The same doesn't seem to be true in reverse; male readers are generally attracted to heroines that they would find attractive in real life. Can anyone explain this?
I think women are attracted to the "alpha" male concept in real life. At least initially.
I never have been... perhaps it's because there were so many alpha males around when I was growing up...
In books my favorite male characters seem to be the nerdy angst-ridden outcasts... they also tend to be my favorite characters in movies and the men I am most attracted to in real life.
I'm not sure that the typical male hero is an alpha male. Or, for that matter, a beta male. He seems to be a composite of both, something that is very rare in real life.
It must be one of those evolutionary things, harking back to caveman-cavewoman stuff. An atavistic impulse, still not evolved out of their systems. Survival of the fittest, yadda yadda.
The attraction to a real alpha male is primal. They are exciting, powerful, winners. You have the sense that here is a man at the top of his game. The one who can provide, protect, and defend you. Who says alpha males are jerks or repugnant? The jerks are those who act like bullies and tough guys, the insecure alpha male wannabes .
I never needed or wanted a man to provide for, protect or defend me. I know that sounds snarky but it's true. At best I would see such a guy as comically sweet... at worst he would annoy the crap out of me for getting in my way when I was doing just fine for myself.
Powerful doesn't impress me... nor does winning. Exciting for me is a challenging debate... which has nothing to do any of the listed qualities.
Now if he can make me laugh, quote Monty Python/ Douglas Adams/David Eddings and/or Terry Pratchett, find the g-spot and pour a bubble-bath just barely shy of causing third-degree burns then I will swoon at his feet.
nothing wrong with 'alphas'....i'm an alpha woman...an alpha man is basically the only one that can keep up with me....i'd 'run over' any other personality type....so it would be a problem for me if a partner was not of similar personality.
as for reading romantic type of fiction....i've never really been into reading it anyway...unless of course there is an 'alpha' woman on the scene to match the 'alpha' man...
I think you answer your own question in your first statement. You read "fiction" and that is your answer. It's fantasy. Just because a woman might want to read and/or fantasize about Mr. Macho Man doesn't mean she wants him in her real life. I know lots of men (and women) who watch porn but that doesn't mean they want their girlfriends or wives to be out there screwing the world. Women enjoy fantasy alpha males because they offer adventure, romance, and an escape from laundry, dishes, taking care of the kids, and maybe a husband who has become Mr. Not-So-Hot for her anymore.
It is the alpha-male thing and maybe the "I think I can change him". She soon learns "he is what he is" and the relationship falls apart or she takes his verbal lashings.
Why does a man breeze in here and tell us what women are supposed to be reading?
Why do men assume that if women are reading a book, the book must be all about the guy?
Why do publishers make this same mistake, so that we're forced to read the "alpha male" "male hero with a thousand [Hollywood cliche] faces" drek they've decided we like?
Why do women get pigeonholed, whereas men are allowed to read all kinds of things?
I don't know either.
Pass me that Terry Pratchett book. You know, the ones with Granny Weatherwax (an OLD WOMAN, gasp!) and Nanny Og as the main characters.
I like to read books that have a strong leading male character as long as they aren't all attitude, and the author combines compassion, intelligence, and humor into the mix. It seems to me that authors are more and more using this type of character--at least in the books I read. I don't read romance books anymore, so I don't know whether they've changed with the times or not, lol.
The "alpha women" in some books drive me crazy--and there seems to be more of those than "alpha men", at least as far as bad attitude goes. I absolutely hate when an author builds them up like it's a positive thing that they have such disdain for men. That these woman will punch men in anger--ONLY in anger--not because of dangerous situations they find themselves in. Or refusing to even listen to what a man says--because he is a mere male, and she is all-knowing, all-powerful woman...ugh, spare me.
You sure don't see men punching women in anger in books--at least, not when they are the main character. That's not permitted, but women punching, hitting or kicking men is...go figure.
I don't see the attraction for women like that. I don't see the attraction for men like that, either, but like I said--you don't see that near as much as you used to in books.
I guess I'm confused by what everyone seems to think is the "alpha" type personality. Why do so many people think alphas are abusive? Alphas are simply "born leaders" the ones in the group who can make up their minds while everybody else stands around saying "I don't know" and scratching their heads. I'm sure we all know people who seem to stand out and rise to the top. Alphas are not bullies or rude, abusive losers.
Personally, I was going by the OP's comment "If the hero is a man that most women would find repugnant in real life, female readers drool over him"...
I was assuming, by repugnant, that he meant that these "alpha males" were bullies, or rude and abusive. And I objected to that statement, and explained why--or tried to, anyway, lol.
And I agree with you, that real Alpha males are not any of those things...
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