The Term Alpha Male Is A Lie. You Might As Well Believe In Santa Clause.

The Term Alpha Male Is A Lie. You Might As Well Believe In Santa Clause.

Before I begin I would like to clear up one thing. I am not here to tear down men that have confidence or look up to this ferry tail to gain confidence.

I want to free you from an egotistical miInclude a caption for your mindset that lowers us to that which is equal to a pack of wolves. On that note I also would like to inform you that wolf packs don’t actually have alpha males and females. The researcher Frans de Waal, who introduced this term tried to clear up what had happened many years ago, but thanks to pop culture and some money-hungry publishers the confusion still persists. it turns out that this is a myth, and in recent years wildlife biologists have largely dropped the term “alpha.” In the wild, researchers have found that most wolf packs are simply families, led by a breeding pair, and bloody duels for supremacy are rare. The same is true across gray wolf packs: Infighting for dominance is basically unheard of in a typical pack.

In nature, wolves split off from their packs when they mature, and seek out opposite-sex companions with whom to form new packs. The male and female co-dominate the new pack for a much simpler, more peaceful reason: They're the parents of all the pups. All of which is to say: Humans who enjoy the idea of "alpha males" might want to keep in mind that there isn't really any such thing. And to the extent the term has any meaning at all, it describes the behavior of captive, lonely creatures.

Now lets talk about the actual social construct that has lead to this: "I am superior", mindset.

The concept of the "alpha male" has been widely popularized, often associated with dominance, aggression, and leadership. However, upon closer examination, we find that the notion of an alpha male in human society is largely unfounded. Throughout history, societal dynamics have been far more complex and nuanced than a simple dominance hierarchy. We will explore why the alpha male in human society does not truly exist, supported by research and observations conducted by the University of California

Fluidity of Power Dynamics:

Power dynamics within human societies are not fixed, but rather fluid and ever-changing. Leaders emerge based on various factors, including intelligence, wisdom, charm, and the ability to influence others. These characteristics do not necessarily align with the stereotypical traits associated with the alpha male. Moreover, individuals may possess "alpha" traits in certain contexts while displaying more Cooperative or empathetic behavior in others, further challenging the notion of a rigid alpha male.

The Alpha Myth:

As the story typically goes, there are two types of men: “Alpha” males are those at the top of the social status hierarchy. They have greater access to power, money, and mates, which they gain through physical prowess, intimidation, and domination. Alphas are typically described as the “real men.” In contrast are the “Beta” males: the weak, submissive, subordinate guys who are low status, and only get access to mates once women decide to settle down and go searching for a “nice guy.” Not only does it greatly simplify the multi-dimensional depth of masculinity, it grossly underestimate what a man is capable of becoming, but it also doesn’t even get at the heart of what is really attractive to women.

when all you have is a hammer, all you see are nails. When we impose just two categories of male on the world, we unnecessarily mislead young men into acting in certain predefined ways that aren’t actually conducive to attracting and sustaining healthy and enjoyable relationships with women, or finding success in other areas of life. So it’s really worth examining the link between so-called “alpha” behaviors (such as dominance) and attractiveness, respect, and status.

The Science Behind Dominance:

Consider one of the earliest sets of studies on the relationship between dominance and attractiveness. The researchers presented their participants with videotaped and written scenarios depicting two men interacting with each other. The scenarios varied on whether the male acted “dominant” or “non-dominant.” For instance, here’s an excerpt of a scenario in which the male was depicted as dominant:

"John is 5’10” tall, 165 lbs. He has been playing tennis for one year and is currently enrolled in an intermediate tennis class. Despite his limited amount of training he is a very coordinated tennis player, who has won 60% of his matches. His serve is very strong and his returns are extremely powerful. In addition to his physical abilities, he has the mental qualities that lead to success in tennis. He is extremely competitive, refusing to yield against opponents who have been playing much longer. All of his movements tend to communicate dominance and authority. He tends to psychologically dominate his opponents, forcing them off their games and into mental mistakes."

In contrast, here’s an excerpt of a scenario in which the same tennis player is instead depicted as “non-dominant” (the first three lines were kept the same across conditions):

"His serve and his returns are consistent and well placed. Although he plays well, he prefers to play for fun rather than to win. He is not particularly competitive and tends to yield to opponents who have been playing tennis much longer. He is easily thrown off his game by opponents who play with great authority. Strong opponents are able to psychologically dominate him, sometimes forcing him off his game. He enjoys the game of tennis but avoids highly competitive situations."

Across four studies, the researchers found that the dominance scenarios were considered more sexually attractive, although dominant John was regarded as less likeable and not desired as a spouse. Taken at face value, this study seems to support the sexual attractiveness of the dominant "alpha" male over the submissive "beta" male.

But not so fast.

In a follow up study, the researchers isolated various adjectives to pinpoint which descriptors were actually considered sexually attractive. While they found that “dominance” was considered sexually attractive, “aggressive” and “domineering” tendencies did not increase the sexual attractiveness of either males or females. There seemed to be more to the story than just mere dominance vs. submissiveness.

Enter a study by Jerry Burger and Mica Cosby. The researchers had 118 female undergraduates read the same descriptions of John the tennis player (dominant vs. submissive), but they added a crucial control condition in which some participants only read the first three sentences of the description (see italics above). Consistent with the prior study, women found dominant John more sexually appealing than submissive John. However, the John depicted in the control condition had the highest ratings of sexiness of them all!

What’s going on? Well, this most certainly doesn’t mean that the extremely brief three-sentence description of the John depicted in the control condition was sexually appealing. Rather, it’s more probable that hearing about either dominant or nondominant behavior, in isolation of other information about him, made him less sexually attractive. The researchers conclude: “In short, a simple dominant-nondominant dimension may be of limited value when predicting mate preferences for women.”

Next, the researchers fiddled with the descriptors of John. In the “dominant” condition, participants read a short description of John and were told that a recent personality test found that his five most prominent traits were aggressive, assertive, confident, demanding, and dominant. Those in the “nondominant” condition read the same paragraph but were told that John’s five most prominent personality characteristics were easygoing, quiet, sensitive, shy, and submissive. Those in the control condition only read the short paragraph but were not told anything about John’s personality.

The researchers then asked women to indicate which of the adjectives used to describe John were ideal for a date as well as for a long-term romantic partner. They found that only one woman out of the 50 undergraduates in their sample actually identified “dominant” as one of the traits she sought in either an ideal date or a romantic partner. For the rest of the dominant adjectives, the two big winners were confident (72 percent sought this trait for an ideal date; 74 percent sought this trait for an ideal romantic partner) and assertive (48 percent sought this trait for an ideal date; 36 percent sought this trait for an ideal romantic partner). Not one woman wanted a demanding male, and only 12 percent wanted an aggressive person for a date and romantic partner.

In terms of the non-dominant adjectives, the big winners were easygoing (68 percent sought this trait for an ideal date; 64 percent sought this trait for an ideal romantic partner) and sensitive (76 percent sought this trait for an ideal date and ideal romantic partner). Not one woman wanted a submissive male for either a date or romance. Other low-ranked non-dominant adjectives were shy (2 percent for dating; zero for romantic) and quiet (4 percent for ideal; 2 for romantic).

This analysis was revealing because it suggests that dominance can take many forms. The dominant male who is demanding, violent, and self-centered is not considered attractive to most women, whereas the dominant male who is assertive and confident is considered attractive. As the researchers suggest, “Men who dominate others because of leadership qualities and other superior abilities and who therefore are able and willing to provide for their families quite possibly will be preferred to potential partners who lack these attributes.”

Their results also suggest that sensitivity and assertiveness are not opposites. In fact, further research suggests that the combination of kindness and assertiveness might just be the most attractive pairing. Across three studies, Lauri Jensen-Campbell and colleagues found that it wasn’t dominance alone, but rather the interaction of dominance and pro-social behaviors, that women reported were particularly sexually attractive. In other words, dominance only increased sexual attraction when the person was already high in agreeableness and altruism.

Along similar lines, Jeffrey Snyder and colleagues reported that dominance was only attractive to females (for both a short-term affair and a long-term relationship) in the context of male-male competitions. Tellingly, women did not find men attractive who used aggressive dominance (force or threat of force) while competing for leadership in informal decision making among peers. This suggests that women are attuned to cues that indicate that the male might direct his aggression toward her, with dominance toward competitors considered more attractive than dominance toward friends or coalition members. To put this study in a real-world context, the guy in high school that all the girls go for is the guy who can dominate a player from a rival school on the football field on Friday night, but who’s likeable and friendly to his own classmates during the week.

In fact, it appears that the prestigious man who is high in both assertiveness and kindness is considered the most attractive to women for both short-term affairs and long-term relationships. This research should offer some assurance that the genuinely nice, passionate kid who learns a culturally valued skill can be immensely attractive.

Further, seeking to become a prestigious man is not only the surest route to success with women, but achievement in any area of life.

Thus, I think a much more effective and healthier route for men having difficulty attracting women is not to attempt to cultivate the traits of the stereotypical, dominant “alpha,” but to cultivate the traits of the prestigious man. This means developing a skill that brings value to society, and cultivating a stable sense of identity. Such a route will not only make you more attractive to women, but will also create the most satisfying life for yourself in general. In my view, attempting to don the persona of the “alpha” is analogous to building a house of cards. There’s no stable foundation supporting your worth.

It’s time we shed these black and white categories, and embrace a much more multidimensional concept of masculinity. The most attractive male is really a blend of characteristics, including assertiveness, kindness, cultivated skills, and a genuine sense of value in this world. The true "alpha", if you must use the term; is a more complete, deeper, and richer version of a man.

The Term Alpha Male Is A Lie. You Might As Well Believe In Santa Clause.
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