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'Alpha-Male' Role in Hollywood Is a Dying Trend, Experts Say

Is the changing face of action heroes a sign of the times?

The masculine, alpha-male movie star – brought to life in films such as “Rambo,” “Die Hard,” and “Rocky” – is becoming extinct in Hollywood, according to actress Michelle Rodriguez.

“The alpha man is dying in film, the warrior is dying,” she told us. “Hello geek.” 

It may seem like an outlandish statement, considering the success of recent action films, but Rodriguez's claims begin to take on new weight upon closer inspection.

While audiences have been flocking to see Sylvester Stallone’s undeniably man-friendly film “The Expendables,” which grossed $85 million domestically, is the success of the flick a reflection that such strong male characters are becoming few and far between? After all, the top five films at the box office so far this year have been “Alice in Wonderland,” “Toy Story 3,” “Shrek Forever After,” “Twilight Saga Eclipse” and “Inception”– not exactly representations of the ultra-masculine man.  Fifteen years ago the number one film was “Independence Day,” five years before that it was “Terminator 2,” and some five years before that it was the action-packed “Top Gun.”

So, while Rodriguez’ claims may seem outrageous, does the actress have a point? Some pop culture experts seem to think so.

“The success of ‘The Expendables’ is likely attributable to a carry-over nostalgia from Stallone finishing off his ‘Rocky’ and ‘Rambo’ films, as well as the novelty of having that many notable action heroes in one movie,” Andrew Hunsaker, a pop culture expert at Fancast.com told Pop Tarts. “The alpha male in movies these days is much less in the burly blood-soaked ‘Rambo’ vein than it is the slick smooth operators like George Clooney’s ‘Danny Ocean,’ or the thinking man’s fighter like Matt Damon’s ‘Jason Bourne’.”

Furthermore, Hunsaker added that while “The Expendables” did win at the box office two weeks in a row, it was in mid-August, a notoriously weak month for movie-going – thus it was nowhere near the level of success that action heroes in that vein enjoyed in their heyday.

So, is this shift in Hollywood’s leading men from macho to meek a reflection of a changing society in which women are becoming more independent, earning more money and perhaps don’t want a more dominant partner? It could be so, according to an article published earlier this year by the Wall Street Journal, based on studies by FaceResearch.org, the online psychology laboratory of the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. The study concluded that the majority of the 4,800 female participants were more attracted to the more feminine-featured males.  

“In America today, we’re seeing a lot more boys disconnected with their own sense of masculinity, due in large part due to higher divorce rates, dad’s working longer hours – the strong father figure is often not around and that’s why the ‘geek’ has become much more mainstream,” explained psychiatrist Dr. Paul Dobransky, author of “Masculinity Code.” 

However, Dobransky doesn’t believe the ultra-masculine man is endangered – he’s just evolving.

“Hollywood makes its movies to appeal to women, they’re the prime consumers. Women want to see what empowers them, and the ‘Rambo’ type of film is not exactly food for the soul for ladies who can’t really relate to it. [This] is why it’s not made much anymore,” he said. “These days, the superhero film is a substitute for the super-masculine action film.”

And according to dating/relationships expert and author of “The Chase,” Samantha Brett, Hollywood’s ever-growing representation of girls going after “geeky” guys may demonstrate that Tinseltown is indeed out-of-touch with reality.

“Innately, women feel most safe, protected, secure, sexy and at their peak when they are with a man who makes them feel feminine and like a woman,” she added. “It’s in our DNA!”  

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