Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Trending... Dominant Men

So I posted a couple of weeks ago about the 50 Shades phenomena and why this book in particular was such a success. Recently I was watching an episode of Girls which is a new HBO show about twenty-something girls growing up in New York and a lot of it seems to be focused around their sexual lives.

One of the girls is in a committed relationship and has been for years – I think since high school. We see her getting frustrated with how sensitive her partner is. She’s clearly getting bored with the sex. Then along comes a co-worker she’s been flirting with and suddenly at a party he pulls her aside and basically tells her he’s going to f*** her and she’s going to like it. This sends her absolutely over the moon with excitement.

Forgetting the sex element, what surprised me about this episode was how once again we see this dominant, man taking control over woman, scene being played out. And I definitely think we need to take notice because I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a trend that’s going to dominate (no pun intended) stories, in particular romances.

Uber alpha males are on the rise. Certainly not starting with JR Ward’s Brotherhood series, but there we see it being taken to new extremes. And now he’s becoming even MORE dominating. We all know that millionaires/billionaires have always been popular. But their alphaness seemed to be defined by buying things for the heroine (like her car which no longer works) and protecting them and being fiercely jealous of any man who looked at them.

But now it seems we are taking this further so that in the bedroom the hero is turning her over his knee and spanking her. I don’t remember any Harlequin Presents like that!

I have my theories. I think we’re seeing a reaction by women who have broken or at least severely cracked the glass ceiling. Women can chose to work or raise a family. They can buy their own cars, pay their own taxes and make their own decisions. Let’s face it in the last 10, 20 years our dependence on men financially has changed radically. And more people are single now than they were before, mostly because in cases where women have divorced they are not rushing back into second marriages like they used to in order to be supported.

I’m no social psychologist. I don’t even pretend to think I might be right in my theory. I just think it’s not a coincidence that the stronger women are getting, financially, politically, etc… we’re seeing some trends in fantasy land (and let’s face it that’s where all of this stays) where women want to be f*** by men who are strong and dominating.

I might have offended people with this post. Not sure. But comment away!


Stephanie Doyle said...

Note - I have extra spaces in my paragraphs - but I screwed up the schedule and posted this too early!


Maureen McGowan said...

I was just talking to a group of women YA writers about this tonight. Most of that group was really disturbed by the trend in YA fiction to have readers swoon over male characters just because they're physically attractive and are alpha dudes.
I was trying to make a case that in adult romance fiction the men aren't all brutish, but I finally gave up.

I've always thought that romance readers like reading about heroes they wouldn't necessarily want to be with in real life... But I'm not sure what that says about our culture or women...

Oh, and I'm loving that Girls show.

Eileen said...

Here's the thing, though. WHy does an Alpha male have to be a physically abusive ass? Look at the heroes in Alyssa Day's series? Totally Alpha. Totally kick ass. Would sooner die than abuse a woman.

Maybe it's just that my own personal kinks don't run that way. I don't want to be spanked or tied to the bed or forced to crawl on my knees. A real guy can totally take a girl without resorting to abuse.

Those guys aren't Alphas. They're assholes. Totally different 'a' word.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Eileen I get what you're saying. And I think in real life very few women would tolerate that type of treatment.

But let's face it - 2 million people aren't buying this book because they think the guy is an asshole. They're buying it because they are turned on by it. Whis is fine/cool. That's the fantasy.

What I'm wondering is what is it about this type of fantasy that's seems to be suddenly more appealing to women - young and old - because as Maureen said we're seeing it in YA as well.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, because I'm reading a book where this dominant guy - not taking no for an answer - is not working at ALL. AT ALL. the heroine is not into this guy - at all. So it just comes off creepy.

It works in these books because the heroine is turned on. There might be some moral push pull but most of the time the women like the idea of getting bent over some guys knee.

I think it's also got a lot to do with someone "forcing" orgasms on a woman. Between the glass ceiling and the do-it-all nature of being a mom/wife/career woman/cook/housecleaner etc etc... it would be awesome if someone could handle the sexual pleasure part for all of us. Someone just make that happen.

Anonymous said...

Blogger hates me

The alpha thing can work really well if the writer skiller, but if the writer fails, it can come off as insulting..

such a fine line to walk...

Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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