Years ago, a book reviewer rained praise on an earlier romance I'd written (under my other pen name). She only had one chagrined little criticism: The hero is unnecessarily dominant.
Really?! Any lover of spanking romance fiction is probably chuckling at that, because you know exactly what that statement was alluding to. Yes, amazingly enough, that typically politically correct New York editor had allowed me to get away with a spanking threat.
A threat, mind you. At no point had the heroine actually been turned over the hero'a knee (though, granted it would have made the book more fun!), and he'd made the threat (directed towards the heroine) in passing to a different character. But since it was 1999, long after New York publishing had decided spanking saucy heroines was a Big No-No, my hero was slapped with the dubious title of "unnecessarily dominant."
Recently I read a review on an upcoming film, where the male characters--all but one--were slammed for being ineffectual, weak, and of totally no use to the much stronger female characters. This is pretty much a trend in Hollywood, which as everyone knows has also mostly done away with spankings in movies and television shows. It's no surprise that the Alpha Male--Mr. Strong & Hunky himself--has been replaced by male characters who are considered dumb (or, conversely, overly intellectual Beta Males), and sometimes even afraid of the female characters, taking charge of nothing.
But then, with the advent of the Internet and ebooks, spanking made a comeback into romance novels. More accurately, spanking romance fiction was born. The Alpha Male was back--and that baby has never looked better! An actual, whole new genre was born, starring strong, take-charge AND smart heroes (my favorite Alpha has a sense of humor)....who are also dom when they need to be.
Come to think of it...why can't the Beta male, like ClarkKent, rip off his glasses, tear open his shirt and reveal that he's got a bit of the Alpha in his heart? Now that would be exciting! And what a great time to be a romance heroine!