Hi all! So…that wrist injury turned out to be a bit worse than I thought, and I’ve been working on a new book proposal, and what with one thing and another I’ve been AWOL from this here blog for a while, haven’t I? Pretty soon I’ll do an update post with links and book news and all that, but right now there’s something I want to talk to you about, and that’s beta heroes.
I love beta heroes. I love alpha heroes too, of course, but beta heroes have a special place in my heart. And two things today really brought home to me why (or part of why, anyway–there are so many reasons!).
1. I am reading Meredith Duran’s Wicked Becomes You. I am about halfway through and I love it, as I have loved all her previous books. I got to the part where the hero tells the heroine, “In this world, there is nothing more wicked than a woman who is unafraid to acknowledge what she wants.” And unexpectedly I found myself tearing up at the power of that statement, of that whole scene.
2. I read this blog post by a woman whose five-year-old son dressed up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween and got shamed by other mothers at school. She writes, “I hate[…]that my baby has to be so brave if he wants to be Daphne for Halloween.”
It’s that word, “brave.” Because men are supposed to be strong, right? Men are supposed to be confident. Men are supposed to acknowledge what they want all over the place. But the thing is, they are only supposed to want certain things. And a guy saying that he wants to let a woman take charge, or stay in middle management for the rest of his life, or avoid a fight—that guy immediately gets hit with a whole lot of shame. Girls have a hard time if they’re too alpha (it’s usually called “bossy” for them, of course), and guys have a hard time if they’re too beta.
But “alpha” doesn’t mean “strong.” It means “dominant.” Those are different things. Sure, being good at being dominant is a form of strength (and it’s hot!) but being good at anything is a form of strength. “Beta” doesn’t mean “weak,” either. It just means not needing or wanting to be in charge. It’s a different personality type, that’s all.
Spock, for example, is a “beta.” He doesn’t want Captain Kirk’s command. That doesn’t mean he’s wimpy.
But a lot of people forget that. So for a hero to openly be beta is actually really, really brave. For a guy to to defy expectations, to be willing to be seen as weak or vulnerable, to be himself and to be unafraid to say what he wants from life, takes a heck of a lot of courage and strength. And yeah, that’s hot.