Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Are SEALS the new Vikings?

I don't write contemporary romance, so I'm only vaguely aware of the elements that are trending these days. (I didn't know New Adult was an actual thing until a client asked me to edit her NA novel.) I am aware that shifters of all shapes and sizes (particularly BEARS, particularly with BBW) seem to be dominating (some would say "cluttering up") the best-seller lists in paranormal romance, and I've recently been made aware of hot alien tentacle sex. (There are some things that can never be UNREAD.) There are also about a bazillion "billionaire bondage" knockoffs of E.L. James' books. Lately though, I've noticed that the go-to alpha male figure is not the cowboy or the cop or the biker bad boy but a Navy SEAL.
I get it. When I think of Navy SEALs, the picture that comes to mind is that scene from Top Gun where all the young, hot, shirtless naval aviators play volleyball. What's not to like? But the new SEAL love is interestung to me for two reasons. One, I've read a ton of thrillers with SEALS at the center, including those by Richard Marcinko, one of the original membes of Seal Team Six. And in those books, there usually isn't even a woman character, much less a romance.  So it's interesting to see the difference in how a male writer and a female writer view the characters.
When a female writers uses a "Highlander' as her protagonist, the result is Outlander; when a male does, it's more likely to be Rob Roy or Braveheart. Love versus war. (And I am not saying here that I don't think a woman can write war stories or that a man can't write romances--I'm talking gender generalities.)
But the other reason I find the SEAL heroes intriguing is that I actually know a SEAL. And he's an impressive guy. But if you lined him up against a wall with say, Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, and Chris Hemsworth and said, "pick the Navy SEAL, he'd be the one you picked last.
Which is, I guess, why they call it fiction and not fact.

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