I'm still talking Alpha males today but I keep getting distracted by the picture. Wasn't Clint a hunk back in 1971?
Anyway, Dirty Harry always epitomized the ultimate Alpha hero to me. Cold, handsome, smart, willing to break the rules to achieve a goal. And yet he still knew the difference between right and wrong. While he embodied much of a sociopathic personality, he always knew what evil was and dedicated his life to fighting it.
He was also very two dimensional. And that was okay. In real life, I'd run far from a guy like this. He has the emotional range of orange juice. But for a two hour movie, he's just fine. The same goes for novels.
I remember back in the '80's when I started reading romance novels. I went in for (and don't get offended) the "bodice rippers." The men in these books were hardcore jerks who walked all over the heroine until she stood up to him. Yeah, they were a little cheesy, but they were a helluva lot of fun. I remember in those days we'd been bombarded by the "sensitive man" thing. Remember Alan Alda? Remember "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche?" Anyway, these rough men fulfilled a fantasy. Women's rights were a real hot button issue back then. Believe me, I was one of those women. Those were great times. I was also reading Rosemary Rogers, Shirlee Busbee, Jennifer Wilde and Johanna Lindsay. All of those authors at the time wrote Alpha heroes.
The pure Alpha hero is a rare thing these days. Even if he is a macho guy in a studly profession, he does tend to have a sensitive side. It seems the Alpha is hiding out in the erotica genre and he is growing in popularity. One of the few authors I can think of who really writes the Alpha in mainstream romance is Angela Knight and her paranormals. I am sure there are others, I'm just not that familiar with them.
Has the Alpha outlived his usefulness in today's romantic fiction? What makes an Alpha hero today?
Tomorrow let's talk Betas and Monday we'll examine the Gamma.
Thinking about doing a website? Wondering about your web presence or lack thereof? My friend Becky is doing a workshop on websites and web presence over at the Romance Central Forums. She's a sharp cookie and knows her web stuff, so it might be worth a look-see. Besides, its free. Oh yeah, and yours truly is going to do a segment about blogs.