Alpha? Beta? Whatever.

Maturity begets integrity.

A month into Trump’s presidency and the new American president is causing as much of a wave in the White House as he did on the campaign trail. While I have my reservations about the rash of post-election protests, much as I do sympathise, Trump is certainly a polarising individual. His ‘grab them by the pussy,’ comment, in particular, remains in the spotlight. Not without good reason. It’s hardly a fitting comment for the leader of a major world superpower, with his hands on the nuclear codes. Well, depending on who you ask, anyway… At the time of the leak, Nigel Farage, that paragon of authenticity, passed it off as ‘alpha male boasting’. In the wake of the election of such a personality there seems to be a rise in a kind of red pill style conservatism, revolving around delusional machismo, branding everything unaffiliated with the label ‘cuck’, and attempting to boil all of masculinity down into a rudimentary food chain of sorts.

There’s a sad contingent of people, mostly males, who insist on dividing all other males in the world into categories of dominance. It’s not a particularly expansive categorisation, neither is it particularly in-depth. There are just two columns for the entire 3 billion or so males on the planet: The alpha and the beta. It’s a kind of simplified flat-pack easy-assemble worldview that offers comforting direction to boys who don’t want to think too hard about their actions, perceptions, or their significance in the world, but still want to feel like someone of consequence. The kind of person who will fight you for the first place in front of a mirror, but will chug a stein full of bull semen before taking a long look at themselves.

As expected, we find that the depiction of the alpha males is a parodic example of self-perpetuating gender stereotyping played straight. I don’t want to fall back on a tired cliché, but the image of the grunting Neanderthal lumbers to mind, only with none of the charm. Conversely, the grovelling weedy nerds of the world, again as expected, represent the beta male. It’s a foregone conclusion that each of these hapless oestrogenic wonders secretly aspire to be just like the alphas, if only they could get off World of Warcraft and give negging a chance. Most amusing is that these grossly oversimplified caricatures are held aloft as if they were real. The loud obnoxious character who attempts to hold court, rather than engage in conversation, is held aloft as someone to aspire to. This person is, apparently, revered and respected as opposed to being a massive turn-off. See, the problem with a person, of any gender, who constantly attempts to dominate all social scenarios, is that it quickly becomes apparent how pervasively insecure they are. That’s why they need to have themselves validated at all turns and why all eyes must be centred on them at all times. Unfortunately, nobody goes out for a drink with the intention of babysitting.

Take Trump’s consistent grandstanding. His need to have the attention forever focussed on him is all too apparent. He is so insecure that he has hired people to clap for his speeches. How about photos of him sitting in a golden chair in front of a golden wall? Comedy Central had to repeatedly scrap the jokes they’d written, because Trump couldn’t quite understand the point of a roast – the humour. Instead, he insisted that they talk about his wealth… Naturally, bankruptcies were off limits. Leaving aside Trump and his chronic narcissism, this constant need for validation and attention doesn’t inspire the kind of image that one would associate with an ‘alpha male’.

Five minutes of mild contemplation is sufficient to illustrate how utterly absurd the entire alpha-beta concept is in the first place. It works with other animals because most of them don’t have much in the way of an advanced social structure. It doesn’t work with humans for a number of reasons, but working within this paradigm, let’s examine it:

Do you know any men who are going to actively identify themselves as ‘beta’, given the social implications? Me neither. Not all men can be alpha so there must be some beta men. However, if one man is alpha then the majority of those around him are presumably considered beta. If each of them in turn thinks of themselves as alpha, than the alpha male would have to be beta. They cannot exist in both states at once. All of them, as the self-presumed alpha, are betas in someone else’s perspective and so they cancel each other out. The conclusion is, as usual, that a man who brands himself an ‘alpha male’ is merely overcompensating with a psychological crutch. Within that shallow paradigm, you’re not an alpha in that case. An alpha wouldn’t need that crutch.

People talk. About you. People you hate, people you like, people you love. Your enemies, your friends, your family. Whatever your social presence or connections, people talk about you. Braggadocio is the spurious pup yap of the immature boy who never left the playground: A loud, limp cover for feared impotence. It’s as facile as the alpha-beta nonsense. Alpha male boasting doesn’t happen. They don’t need to. Other people talk for them.

I know, I know. The only reason I’m writing about this in the first place is, of course, that I am simply an angry beta male. Constantly friend zoned, blue balled, whining about it on the Internet to a disinterested handful of faceless strangers. Meanwhile I spend my time kowtowing to the looming feminist matriarchy that is slowly taking over the world because of a surge in regressive left leaning “cucks”. I do this with the shrivelled hope that, upon their eventual dominance and the overthrow of all Y-chromosomes, one of m’ladies will favour me enough to grace me with a pity fuck. Any day now.

Let’s dispense with the alpha beta rhetoric. Social power dynamics in human relationships, even among creatures as simple as us menfolk, are somewhat more complex than a binary sorting hat. It’s not solely about chest thumping and flaccid bragging. As with all human social hierarchies, the variables work on multiple levels are affected by any number of external and internal factors, and the points of dominance and power shift depending on context. I’m not well read on animal social group dynamics, but I wouldn’t be surprised if those too, were slightly more convoluted than the proposed alpha-beta model. Of course, the reality is simply that none of this exists. It’s the psychological equivalent of homeopathy for the pitiful and puffed up.

Perhaps it would simply be more effective to take an honest look at yourself every now and then. Perhaps go so far as to actively do the hard work to improve yourself, rather than simply shouting about how great you are, despite nobody, not even you, believing it. Of course, that requires somewhat more work than constantly trying to bark the loudest and inflate your chest like a cheap helium balloon. Perhaps that explains why these types desperately cling to the chest thumping. There isn’t the stamina, tenacity, or mental alacrity to work on anything more difficult than a two-dimensional binary system more concerned with the volume of the bark than the power of the bite.


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