Thanks to everyone for their thanks. I promise I'll at least post a link here when the webpage and new journal are up and running.
I mentioned a few days ago that I had a discussion with Elizabeth Bear that I thought was interesting. And it touched on the subject of alpha males in romance.
She was trying to understand the appeal and have them explained. She's not a romance writer, and had heard about them and didn't get why they were used in the genre. I'm paraphrasing, and I'm not sure I gave her the best answer. What I said was that I thought it fell into the realm of reader fantasy. That romance readers like to read alpha males because they like to see strong, unbending, dominating and maybe even sexist males being shown that his new partner/interest does not belong only in the kitchen or delivery room, but that she has a brain and deserves respect and to be an equal partner.
She thought that perhaps that translated to the heroine being content to be the special one while other women still suffered the brunt of the Alpha's bad behavior and chauvenism and didn't feel all that comfortable with the idea, herself.
There was a comment in that discussion made that perhaps the concept of "changing" the alpha male fed into dangerous illusions about romance that might be translated to the real world, too.
So how do you feel? Do you like alpha males? Do you feel they do a disservice to the genre or to our readers?