It’s Time to Demote the Alpha Male

With his usual grace, honesty, and wit, Tom Shugart posted a response to my fantasy of a world with a diminished level of testosterone. He mentions that women are attracted to strong, aggressive, powerful men. In other words, Alpha Males. The kind of Alpha Males that Halley Suitt is writing about.
That is something we women should think about. If we value powerful, aggressive, competitive men (and the genes of those kind certainly were necessary in much earlier times to prevent the bear from eating you), then what we are doing is reinforcing the testosterone-driven tendency of men to strive toward achieving those things. If we bring up our sons to strive to achieve those qualities, we are perpetuating the kind of world in which we continue to find aggressiveness becoming aggression and in which competitiveness leads to violence, and not just physical violence.
We no longer need mates who can kill the bears before the bears kill us and who will pass along genes to give us sons who will do the same. This world needs men with different skills, different values, different genes

15 thoughts on “It’s Time to Demote the Alpha Male

  1. Kalilily, I agree with you on this, and I’m glad you’re talking about it!
    Alpha male behavior is so often counterproductive. I read a great quote on the subject yesterday, in a book based on research about the differences between ordinary and great companies:
    We were surprised, shocked really, to discover the type of leadership required for turning a good company into a great one. Compared to high profile leaders with big personalities who make headlines and become celebrities, the good-to-great leaders seem to have come from Mars.
    Self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy — these leaders are a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. They are more like Lincoln and Socrates than Patton or Caesar.
    From Good to Great by Jim Collins.

  2. You know…I can’t remember where, but I swear I just recently heard some sort of study of women that found that women on the pill are more attracted to the stereotypical “alpha male” but that women who are not on the pill (or, perhaps it was any hormone-based birth control…I can’t remember) were more attracted to men who were more nurturing, evidently because they would make better fathers? I dunno. I hesitate to even post this because I can’t remember the source, but I thought it was pretty interesting.

  3. It’s good to post it even if it’s not true, because it’s interesting to think about. And all of this is interesting to think about. I think that the stereotypical male behaviour is just as important as that of the female, as long as the two are balanced. I hate to start saying that one part of the human psyche is any less important than the others, but I do agree with giving other perspectives/modes of communication and action a say. Like say, everyone but the Alpha Male.

  4. yeah im doing a piece on alpha males and personally you have constucted a myth, you can criticise and throw red paint at them but what you are forgetting is that society is like a mob of kangaroos, as when the alph roo is struck by a bullet the group dissapate. you suggest that leaders should be sensative and less confident, but thats the quality of a leader and if you are such a critic of alpha males and all their characteristics then why dont you apply some of this to youself, gain some confidence, get a job and get off the computer and stop wasting your time on deconstructing figures of which are pivotal and the base of mankind

  5. What a load of tripe. Lets get rid of the alpha males and then the rest of us can have a great big love in and make this a wonderful place to live. I don’t think so.
    Alphas play a constructive role in society as well a destrucutive… and sometimes the destructive role is necessary. In order for new life to grow, that which is impeding that progress must be removed. This is often an alpha role.
    Read a bit of Eastern philosphy, gain an understanding of the interplay between Yin and Yang and its obvious that stong alphas play an important role in our society. World wars have been led by alphas but so have UN Peacekeeping missions. We don’t need demotion, we need balance.
    BTW, in order to demote an Alpha, you become an Alpha yourself thereby perpetuating the very problem you think you are preventing.

  6. After reading all of this, I have to wonder, how lonely are the male bashing females who actually think this way? As for wishing that our world would evolve into a world full of men that are pussies,getting walked on by women, it’s not biologically about to happen. When man and women were created, so were the innate traits which drive them. As long as men are attracted to pretty women, and pretty women keep giving up thier bodies, and thier control to thier innate desires. Men, especially the Alphas will ALWAYS bed down those females. As for the “not so attractive” females you can continue to look for the weak, sloppy, out of shape males which you so desire for your match. We all know that the type of women, who make claims they do not desire the alpha males, are the fat, ugly, woman activist type that wouldn’t put down the Vanilla BonBons long enough to get off the couch and bring thier fat assses to a treadmill so they can convert thier blob of a physique, back into the heavenly and desireable form that God created to attract the ALPHA MALE in the first place! So, obviously, speaking from an Alpha position. The main reason we Alpha males, spend so much time making the colors on the ice cream boxes so irresistable to the female eye, is to easily and sucessfully bait and hook the weak, NON ALPHA females. So they can uncontrollably fatten themselves up. Permanently removing themselves from our list of potential lucky females, leaving only the lucky Alpha females to be selected. Oh yes, there are Alpha females too. They are the pretty, young, ambitious, sexy, motivated, females wearing Gucci and Prada. Driving BMW or Mercedes cars paid for by selling thier Alpha female asses, to the rich, confident, Alpha males in our world. OK, enough of this for now. I have to get in my BMW and drive my confident, muscular, financially independent, Alpha male ass down to the casino to pick up my next lucky female. Lucky enough to receive my Alpha male semen, so SHE can contribute to the Alpha male & female rein. P.S. No “NON ALPHA” individuals we harmed or injured during the creation of this comment. If you were, who cares, you’re weak and pathetic anyway. So please all activist NON ALPHAS keep you comments and concerns to yourselves because we ALPHAS don’t care. We were put here to dominate and ALWAYS WILL!

  7. Hmm. I lost track of this conversation until I got a notice of the previous comment.
    It’s interesting to me how frightened some men are of finding a middle ground for themselves, the way that many women have. I retired from a demanding statewide leadership role in a career in education, so I know what it takes to be assertive (but not aggressive) and play a major role in evolving new ideas (without being controlling or violent). I suppose some would call me an Alpha Female. What I say is that I strive to balance out the Yin and Yang in myself rather than separate the two by gender.
    As you alpha guys continue to blow up the world and “weaker” female hearts, I wonder where you’ll be at age 75 — or even like, me — at age 65. I’ve got friends and family (both male and female) who love me, and I look back on a successful career in making the world a education a better place. And I blog because I’m a writer. So, I write. Glad to see someone out there is reading. I hope that I can stimulate some of those atrophied alpha male brains and hearts to wake up. If not, well, it’s their loss, not mine.

  8. What has come to my attention from all the posts in here is that nobody here knows what a real alpha-male is.
    Western society as it is right now shows two different kinds of alpha males.
    1. The destroyer- This pseudo-alpha male is at his core insecure. His motives are selfish and his goal is the betterment and benefit of himself. As a result you will never see him perform unselfish acts or show a caring or empathetic side. A great example is our own President.
    2. The leader- think Winston Churchill. The leader might have seized power, but to those in his pack, his leadership is accepted. His aggression doesnt stem from insecurity or selfish motives but from a necessity to protect himself and his pack. While he has some of the traits the destroyer does, he is a genuine leader and protector whos interests lie in the well-being of his group.
    An alpha male is strong and powerful, showing aggression when it is necessary. He is also comforting, nurturing, and caring when needed.
    Elaine is right in her assessment that alpha males can be destructive, but to sweep all alpha males off the board is wrong because the real alpha males have a much larger role in society than what was assumed in the post.
    The alpha male stereotype we see in modern western society is a dysfunctional one unfortunately, and real alpha-males are indeed a dying breed.
    You want to see the epitome of a real Alpha male? Read this popular book called the bible. Study the character called God.

  9. It’s important to know the context for this discussion, which resulted from posts made by blogger Halley Suitt about the attractivenss of the Alpha Male in the workplace.
    Some of us were using the alpha male of the animal kingdom as the template, and animal alpha males tend to gain their positions by physically defeating any comers. Then they continue to assert their positon in any number of ways — none of them nurturing, but many of them sexually appealing to the opposite sex. As human animals, the males of our species are still evolving out of that behavior model.
    Now, the model that Jesus established in the Bible’s New Testament is vastly different from the model that the Old Testament God demonstrated. The Old Testament God Yahweh was the destroyer — always asserting his power over his people by smiting them or their enemies. (Well, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much.) Jesus, on the other hand, a major POLITICAL DISSENTER of his time and place, was personally the opposite of his predecessor. He preached a much more peaceful path.
    In a way, the god of the Old Testament, and the son of god of the New Testament, are archetypes for the two kinds of Alpha Males that Josh described.
    The male characters of the Camelot legend also offer archetypes of Alpha Males who seek a balance among power, peace, and providing for.

  10. I chose not to read Halley Suitt’s although I was aware of it. That piece was satirical as she herself admitted however.
    I find also that the positive side (ie the protective, and nurturing element) of Alpha-male is often ignored or downplayed- partly because we never see that in our society. While they fight against the others(usually only the ones who threaten their leadership), they fight alongside them when outside threats arise.
    Your analysis of God and Jesus is more oversimplification than exaggeration, simply because of the angle in which you look at it.
    (Are parents destroyers if they discipline their children or protect them from other hostile children?)
    To analyse the Bible from a perspective unclouded by religious bias is not an easy task, but most secular sources dont do it enough justice by ignoring the CAUSES of the destruction and wrath of God. The instances of affection shown by God are often downplayed or marginalised, which understandably brings out a very one-dimensional picture of a somewhat more complex depiction of God.
    Im in the process of studying Jesus and his position in the societal hierarchy of the time. So far Jesus does not even seem to be an alpha-male, interestingly enough. Perhaps he was to transcend social hierarchy altogether… or he wasnt supposed to be dominating at all.

  11. 1. I’m not so sure that, at the time she wrote it, Halley’s Alpha Male pieces were meant to be that satirical. And, of course, satire is a way to put the truth out there in a way that will catch the attention of others.
    2. Of course my limited portrayal/comparison of Yahweh and Jesus was limited. Both archetypes and their legends are much more complex. I was merely pointing out of the differences in how they approached “leadership.”
    3. Alpha males are leaders. People follow their lead and behave according to their directon. That makes Jesus one kind of alpha male and Yahweh another.
    4. Many, many years ago, I did study the Old Testament as literature, and so I did some examination of Yahweh and his motives. He is typical of the dominating and violent patriarchal family figure of that time (and all times, I guess). The New Testament tells an entirely different story and offers an entirely different male behavior model that didn’t dominate but rather led by example.
    5. I have no desire to view the bible unclouded by my personal philosophy.

  12. This is an interesting post, and so are the comments. Part of the issue with the Alpha Male is separating the Alpha from the Male and deconstructing the idea that Leadership and Masculinity are inseparable. The idea that the two are inseprable is essentially patriarchy and feeds into an anti-feminist agenda: that women cannot lead and instead, are biologically designed to follow.
    It’s one thing to state that a woman is equal to a man in the work place (to be sure a great and difficult stride that has taken years to improve–and still there is a glass ceiling) but it is a whole different set of issues for us to raise our own awareness of social dynamics guided by the innate force of sexual attaction, a force that has become ingrained in our DNA. A woman may be sexually attracted to Alpha Male behavior regardless of her political orientation, regardless of whether she logically hates Alpha Male behavior, just like a man may be attracted to a physically attractive woman, regardless of what her opinions are.
    So I think the question is, how do we evolve past this? If we want women to be seen as people and not just sex objects, it may be a step forward to hold in higher regard other qualities of masculinity and persohood in men that do not necessarily include Alpha Male behavior. But I think this will have to be a conscious, political/social decision, and this article is a step in the right direction.

  13. Baloney. Men and women have been hardwired for mens of millions of years and if anything dealing with a bear is a huntrip with the boys compared to a bear market. American women have embraced the most pathetic series of feminist fallacies for 50 years now and our society spins ever more to a demented, degenerate, chaotic, shitshow because of it.

    You want a wimp man like you want another bill in the mail-be honest with yourselves for once. You want to walk down the street protected, unconcerned with financial pressures, looking forward to your grand parade of activities and purchases and self absorbed agrandizement-like every generation of humans has on the edge of imperial collapse and decadence.

    Silly cows, you want to be manhandled, pampered, gaurded, safe secure and thriving.

    Negotiating, fairness, empathy-thats a bunch of puke lies that doesn’t exist in the dog eat dog world.

    LOL. Be honest and stop lying to your sons before you ruin any chance they might have of pleasing a woman.

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