Posted by on 12th November 2018

Beta Male Characters are Popping Up in Movies, on TV, and in Romance Novels

Just the other day I read another article discussing the many virtues of the young actor, Timothée Chalamet, as a new age, sensitive guy. He wears floral suits. He’s not afraid to show his feelings onscreen. He’s polite and intelligent and thoughtful and speaks multiple languages, and all the young ladies (and quite a few older ones) are swooning.

Then Jonah Hill was on Seth Meyers talking about his new film, the first he’s both written and directed. The story behind it was a heartwarming tale of wanting acceptance, and he didn’t hide that these were feelings he’d dealt with in his own past. He was frank, and thoughtful and sensitive and intelligent.

I find it endlessly fascinating that at a time in American society when many of the loudest voices are the white alpha males, we’re seeing more of a push towards men being something other than in control, angry, or domineering. Towards men being sensitive, and willing to talk about their feelings.

Certainly, part of it is just the way the pendulum swings from one side to the other regarding just about anything. But at the same time, I’ve noticed the shift coming for a while.

If you look back at any of the stoner comedies from Seth Rogen, or Kevin Smith, you’ll find funny movies – sometimes stupid funny — but always with a thread of heart running through them. The friendships are sweet and the love stories thoughtful even if many of the jokes are crude.

Watch any of the reality contestant shows (Project Runway, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, etc.), and you’ll regularly see talented, artistic, sensitive men crying. They cry talking about their children, or their families, or the parent who’s passed away. They cry because they’re finally getting the recognition they’ve worked so hard for. They cry when they don’t make it to the next round. And nobody slams them for it.

These are men who act like humans, instead of some cartoon caricature of a superhuman who never shows he has any feelings other than pride, anger, or possessiveness. These are beta males in all their glory.

Beta Males in Romance Novels

Most of my life, I’ve been best friends with men. They were always men I could really talk to about anything under the sun– thoughts, feelings, fears, dreams. The man I married is no different.

Maybe because of that, I love reading and writing stories about two people connecting on a deeper level. Not that there’s anything wrong with sexytimes, even just for fun, but I like there to be something more than just physical attraction in my romances. And all too often that’s all you get with alpha heroes.

Lucky for me, many great romance novels nowadays feature strong beta male leads. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Parks, pretty much anything by Colleen Hoover, even some m/m romances like Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy feature a sexy beta male who spends time thinking/talking about his feelings and emotions.

We need more examples of men who are in touch with their emotions on a deeper level. Because, I believe what everyone wants most in a partner—regardless of gender—is someone to really talk to about our hopes and dreams and fears. Someone who will support you and stand by your side no matter what, and hold you when you cry.

We want someone who is straight up, that we can have faith in, who will do what they say and say what they do. And we want someone who feels something and isn’t afraid to talk about those feelings.

That’s why I say, all hail the beta male.

Do you prefer beta males or alpha males? And why?


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