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There’s No Such Thing As Good Masculine Male Characters In The Woke World Of Book Publishing

Man and woman in field
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In today’s romance novels, the leading male character can’t be a normal, grounded, masculine man. He’s either emasculated or demonized.


In a world of man buns and declining sperm counts, the last thing we needed was four men gracing this year’s red carpet at the Met Gala in flowing gowns. But like it or not, this is our culture. So as a conservative author of romantic comedy books, how do I develop likable characters that today’s female readers want to root for?

I can do it and believe I have, but have I lost touch with today’s mores? Is there anyone left who still wants to read about two seemingly normal potential lovers caught in funny or interesting scenarios? My job is to create entertaining plots that don’t betray my core values. Such a task for a conservative author in the romance genre feels as futile as trying to sell a fire extinguisher to an arsonist during a BLM riot.

An author striving for success does not dare depict the leading male character as a normal, grounded, masculine man. That won’t fly in today’s leftist publishing world. I know this truth well enough that I didn’t exert an ounce of energy seeking a traditional publisher for my latest book. Conservative publishers do exist, but they are few and far between. They tend to publish nonfiction books by movers and shakers on topics such as culture and politics.

The trend in romance books is to either emasculate or demonize the male characters. Too often, in this leftist book world, the one-dimensional male character’s only discernible traits are those needed to successfully abuse, objectify, and degrade the lead female character. This is surprising, especially when over 80 percent of romance or romantic comedy readers are white women buying books published by mostly white liberal women. So much for the triumphant matriarchy.

The bestselling romance book of all time is not Pride and Prejudice, it’s Fifty Shades of Grey. It has sold more than 150 million copies, and its main appeal is bondage, sadism, and masochism. If that doesn’t make me want to jump off the ledge of a tall stack of books, nothing does.

I wrongly assumed that readers want characters they like and root for. Characters who overcome obstacles as they deal with interesting and humorous scenarios on their way to a happy ending.

These days, a book with a male character worth looking up to is tantamount to surrendering to the patriarchy. That’s not what today’s female reader wants. Not by a long shot.

The elite publishers push only a handful of tropes. And in those few tired storylines are primarily two types of men. If you’re guessing the most popular male character type is a handsome man with conventional values who must win her over with charm and wit, you’d be wrong.

Today’s leading male character fits into one of two categories.

The first category features the male character appearing on the cover of countless books as the shirtless, ripped, stubbly-chinned male hunk (he’s not actually a masculine man; he’s an overgrown boy with too much testosterone). Often, he’s the grumpy boss or the billionaire jerk who is condescending toward the female character.

Where did this idea come from? Most billionaires look like Bill Gates. No one wants to see him with his shirt off. Anyway, the male character usually despises and demeans the female lead. She hates him because, after all, she’s a liberal woman.

But something about being treated like garbage is too darn irresistible for today’s enlightened woman. She must have him. Yes. She’ll win him over and change him. The male hunk might continue to mistreat other women, but not her. She’s the object of his lust. Charming.

In our culture, men watch pornography, and women often get their pornography through books. Many of the bestselling romance books are nothing more than a collection of explicit sex scenes loosely strung together by thin plot lines.

If that’s not disturbing enough, the newest trend is mental and physical abuse. One of today’s bestselling books tantalizes female readers with the vicarious experience of physical abuse by a bad boy-type who is so irresistible she marries him despite her bruises. It’s Fifty Shades of Grey redux, but the physical torture is no longer playacting. Gee. Another giant step for womankind.

The second male character type is “the best friend.” He leans metrosexual and doesn’t have the nerve to confess his love until the final chapter. He’s too spineless to make a move, so the reader spends most of the book wondering if he’s gay. He’s not a take-charge guy and is most likely not the one who leads on the dance floor.

In my new book, Retraining Him, I tread in dangerous waters. My male character owns a big sporting goods store, loves deep-sea fishing, and enjoys hunting. These activities could soon be illegal in blue states. The female lead meets a high-profile woke psychologist who convinces her the male species is the root of all evil and she must retrain the man she loves. That’s the inciting incident.

If I had stopped there with the storyline, I would’ve had a book a New York City publisher might have considered. But I have to live with myself. The female character needs to learn it’s the differences between men and women that help make for a happy marriage.

So I ask myself, do I persevere as a writer in this genre? It seems like 15 minutes ago “You’ve Got Mail” was an acceptable romantic comedy for Americans. But those days are gone. Long gone.

My other option is to be a sellout. Maybe my next plot will feature a grumpy billionaire male hunk who abuses his woke lover until she convinces him to lose his masculinity. Only then, within the confines of their open marriage, will they reach enlightenment and freely explore their proclivity for dangerous, unconventional sex — which I’ll describe in explicit, delicious detail.

And of course, they’ll surround themselves with like-minded friends with diverse skin colors and undefinable “genders.” The male character will come to the obvious realization that the matriarchy is all that matters and fittingly leap to his death from the NYC corner office of one of the big-five book publishers. My book will be entitled A 2024 Love Story.

Hey, New York Times bestseller list, here I come.

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