At the risk of sounding like a raging feminist seeing as I've posted on this subject before, I have to admit that the subject of 'alpha femaleness' has been on my mind today. While waiting for my morning latte (short and skinny) at the local coffeehouse this morning, I came across this article in today's paper. I was drawn to it for two reasons: the first that I'd written about alpha heroines before, and the second that it echoed my recently ended relationship of six years. Not that I consider myself an alpha female (I'm far too laid back) , and the break-up was very civilized - but then the BF wasn't a true gamma either.
The truth is I can't really tell who or what an alpha female or a gamma male is. The newspapers seem to be frantically trying to create labels for the latest sociological phenomenon - if it exists at all. I think we're all much more complex than that. We're not all alpha, just as we're not all gamma. I believe there are aspects of both in everyone, although in some people one aspect obviously predominates.
By all accounts, society is in a state of flux as gender roles are being re-assigned. We haven't gone as far as scrapping gender roles altogether and I can't see it happening in my lifetime. And to think that it all started with the invention of the birth control pill.
My ideal will always remain the society of Anarres in Ursula K Le Guin's The Dispossessed, a novel which in large part is a commentary on male/female roles within differently structured societies. When the protagonist Shevek is questioned whether the women in his society are treated exactly like men, he replies that a person chooses work according to interest, talent and strength, and what has sex to do with it? And he ponders the obsession of superiority and inferiority in Urrasti social life.
Of course Le Guin is making a feminist statement about society in the early 70s, but it's still valid today even though the word 'feminist' has fallen into disrepute. Apparently we can't be feminists now because that's a word now reserved for lesbians and the rest of the female population have all moved on. I beg to differ. Women are still fighting every day for equal pay for the same job the men are doing. Romance is looked upon with scorn because women write it. Until this kind of thing is resolved, I'll consider myself a feminist.
The fact that we can now write about alpha females without being accused of "feminism" - and the fact that romance readers are avid to read about them - is one large step in the right direction.