For as long as I’ve been writing in the manosphere, the definition of “what is Alpha?” has been the number one point of contention I’ve had to state and restate the most often. I’m not going to rehash this now as I have several posts on the nature of Alpha already linked in the sidebar, so if you’re looking for my take on Alpha that’s where to find it.
However, to lead in to today’s post I need to address the basis of what I believe are the most common misunderstandings about the term Alpha.
Well before the inception of this blog, in the early beginnings of what would evolve into the manosphere there was a need of terminology to describe the more abstract concepts developing in the ‘community’. Some of these analogies and terms are still with the manosphere today, others have morphed into more useful abstractions; Alpha Widows, Hypergamy (in its true nature), the Feminine Imperative, even Red Pill awareness are all examples of established terms or analogies for understood abstractions. Among these are also the concepts of a man being Alpha and Beta.
From The Unbearable Triteness of Hating at CH:
5. Etymology Hate
Hater: Your definition of an alpha male is false. In the animal kingdom, the alpha male is leader of the pack, not a cad/badboy/jerk who pumps and dumps women.
Isn’t it just like a nerd to get hysterical over the appropriation of a narrow-sense scientific term to conveniently illustrate broader truths about men and women.
One of the most common disconnects men encounter with the Red Pill for the first time is equating the term Alpha with its usage in describing the mating habits of Lions, Wolves or Silver Back Gorillas. It’s easy to ridicule or simply dismiss a valid, but uncomfortable, Red Pill truth when you’re simplistically comfortable in defining ‘Alpha Male’ in literal etymological terms.
This is the first resistance blue pill men claim they have with the Red Pill. They have no problem understanding and using abstractions for blue pill concepts they themselves are ego-invested in, but challenge that belief-paradigm with uncomfortable red pill truths and their first resort is to obstinately define Alpha (as well as Hypergamy) in as narrow, binary and literal a sense as they can muster.
“Get in Touch with Your
Feminine Beta Side”
The next most common misunderstanding comes from conflating the abstractions of Alpha and Beta with masculine and feminine traits. In this (often deliberate) misdirection, the concepts of being Alpha or Beta become synonymous with being masculine or feminine. This is the personal basis of Alpha and Beta many Purple Pill advocates (really blue pill apologists) comfortably redefine for themselves, to suit themselves.
This purple pill conflation is really just a comforting return the the curse of Jung – anima & animus – if the complete man is an even mix of Alpha and Beta, masculine and feminine, then all the worst aspects of his “betaness” can’t be all bad, and he reinterprets what really amounts to a complete androgyny as “being the best balance”.
Unfortunately, and as blue pill chumps will later attest, the feminine expects to find its paired balance in the masculine, not an equalist idealization of both in the same man. Thus women, on a limbic level, expect men to be Men.
This one of the missives of an equalitarian mindset; that an individualized, egalitarian balance of masculine and feminine aspects in two independent people should replace the natural complementary interdependence of masculine and feminine attributes in a paired balance that humans evolved into.
What purple pill temperance really equates to is a 21st century return to the 20th century feminized meme “men need to get in touch with their feminine sides”… or else risk feminine rejection. 60+ years of post sexual revolution social engineering has put the lie to what an abject failure this concept has been.
What they fail to grasp is that an Alpha mindset is not definitively associated with masculine attributes. There are plenty of high-functioning, masculine men we would characterize as Alpha based on our perception of them in many aspects of life, who nonetheless are abject supplicating Betas with regard to how they interact with, and defer to women.
Whether that disconnect is due to a learned, Beta deference to the feminine (White Knighting), some internalized fear of rejection, or just a natural predisposition to be so with women, isn’t the issue; what matters is that the abstraction of Alpha isn’t an absolute definitive association with the masculine.
Likewise, Beta attributes are neither inherently feminine. As has been discussed ad infinitum in the manosphere, 80%+ of modern men have been conditioned (or otherwise) to exemplify and promote a feminine-primary, supportive Beta role for themselves and as many other men they can convince to identify more with the feminine.
The Beta mindset isn’t so much one of adopting a feminine mindset as it is a deference to, and the support of, a feminine-primary worldview.
The reason purple pill (watered down red pill) ideology wants to make the association of Alpha = Masculine, Beta = Feminine is because the “get in touch with your feminine side” Beta attributes they possess in spades can be more easily characterized as “really” being Alpha if it helps make him the more androgynously acceptable male he mistakenly believes women are attracted to (if not directly aroused by).
The sexual alphaness of a male towards a female is exhibited by her wanting to please him, and the sexual betaness of a male is exhibited by him needing to please her. A man’s alphaness obviously and definitionally does not cause her to more require him to please her (i.e. alphaness does not rub off like that). And also, betaness is not transferrable, no matter how much we betas wish that our women-pleasing caused women to want to please us.
Moreover, the social dominance of a male in a male hierarchy is barely correlated with his sexual alphaness, and certainly not causal. There are far too many counterexamples, such as Bill Gates, Napoleon Bonaparte, Horatio Nelson, and the list is very very long.
However, and this is a key sociologically empirical point, the social dominance of a *female* human (the best kind!) in a *female* human hierarchy is extremely correlated, in this precise way: A woman to whom women cater to will 99.9% of the time demand to be catered to by her man. This is why women believe man-pleasing women (I admit there are some) are “lesser”. It is also why men (e.g. me) who have tended to be mated to females who are socially dominant in a female hierarchy are invariably betas. It’s simply false that female-dominant women tend to choose men who demand pleasing.
What critics of an Alpha/Beta dichotomy conveniently sweep under the conversational carpet is that the dichotomy they want to debate only exists in their convenient, personal interpretations of Alpha or Beta mean to them.
From a male perspective we can endlessly debate (from our own personal biases) what we believe constitutes an Alpha state (remember, an abstract term, stay with me here) and the expectations of which we think women should respond to according to those expectation. But it’s women’s instinctive behaviors around Alpha men (or men they contextually perceive so) that provide us with the tells as to how she perceives a man’s Alpha or Beta status.
For as much as we believe women should respond to our definition of Alpha – and despite how women will explain they agree with those self-prescribed definitions – as always, it is their behaviors when in the presence of, or in a relationship with men they perceive as being Alpha (or of higher sexual market value than themselves if you prefer) that they bely their true, instinctual recognitions of Alpha.
In a social environment where men are conditioned to believe that women are as equal, rational agents as men, the belief men put their faith into is that women will appreciate their intrinsic qualities and base their sexual selectivity upon a man’s virtue, bearing, intelligence, humor, and any number of attractive intrinsic qualities. However, the truth of what women base their sexual selectivity upon (arousal) is far more evident in their instinctual, unconditioned behavior when around Alpha men – as well as men’s instinctual sensitivity to that behavior.
There are many examples of this Alpha reactive behavior. I’ll make an attempt to illustrate a few of them here, but I expect there’ll be many more offered in the comment thread an I’ll encourage a discussion of the behaviors that serve as Alpha tells. Rossy/Heartiste has made a sport with his ongoing “spot the Alpha” series of posts in which he analyzes a picture or video of a woman’s reaction to a man who she is obviously has an Alpha interest in as her body language and subcommunications suggest. (h/t to CH for today’s image)
The common criticism of these images is that red pill men would read too much into these displays, but the underlying message in that criticism is rooted in understanding and willfully ignoring what our instinctual perceptions of them are. We know Alpha when we see it, but need an explanation to protect our own ego’s Alpha assessment of ourselves.
The Real Selection
For all the delighted ego ‘empowerment’ of women boasting they are the sexual selectors in this life, there is still a nervous uncertainty about being found acceptable themselves to an Alpha lover of higher SMV status than they might otherwise merit. This is where the illusions of an assortive mating model break down for women. If feminine-primary sexual selection were the only element to mating there would be no need for the behaviors women are subject to in seeking the approval from men they perceive as Alpha.
There’s a look, an attitude and a presence women will give to Men for whom they have a natural deference to. I don’t just mean blatant sexual subcommunications like casually biting her lower lip, or the hair twirling that’s almost cliché now. It goes beyond the sexual into a kind of meta-attraction/arousal. While the sexual urgency for an Alpha is strong and manifests in a woman’s forwardness toward him, the meta-attraction is both of submission and a subconscious desire for his approval of her.
Men predisposed to a Beta mindset also display many of these same behavioral cues with the women they hope will appreciate them in the same fashion a woman does for a Man that her hindbrain instinctually knows is of a higher SMV. In Beta men we see these behaviors as evidence of “clinginess” or “neediness” and is an identifiable Beta tell; but in women this natural and unprovoked leaning in to a Man, this desire to submit for his approval, is a positive indicator of Alpha attraction.
This is why, as third party observers, we instinctually find such behavior in men distasteful; we subliminally sense a complementary imbalance between the man and woman.
When a woman makes an unforced effort to please a man with subtle words, unintentional wide-eyed contact, and body positioning / posture you’re dealing with a woman who is compelled to defer to you as Alpha.
That isn’t to say this can’t be faked. In fact strippers, good ones at least, are not just physically arousing, or more sexualized, but are in tune with the deficit most men feel when it comes to this Alpha deference. Beyond just the sexual aspect, one thing that makes strippers so enticing and seductive is that the majority of men are simply unused to the fawning affections and Alpha interest (albeit feigned) of any woman, much less an attractive one.
This is also one reason men become so prone to ONEitis both inside and outside this contrived, transactional, sort of attraction. Men are the True Romantics, they want to believe a woman’s sincerity in her Alpha deference to him.
Does the girl you’re interested in come to you, or do you go to her?
I’ve emphasized the importance of establishing and maintaining Frame for years now, but I sometimes wonder if the importance of holding Frame isn’t lost on most men.
To an equalist mindset this Frame establishment seems like I’m advocating men be domineers of their relationships and a man rely on some dark manipulative psychology to enforce his will in that relationship. That’s not what I’m suggesting for the simple reason that it’s too effort consuming, and genuine desire is unsustainable within that constant effort. Maintaining Frame demands a voluntary, uncoerced, desired compliance.
What I’m suggesting is that men simply not invest themselves in women whose Alpha interest in them is mitigated by doubt or an obvious SMV imbalance. This is difficult for most men as it conflicts with our want for an idealized romance with a woman – a want for a love that requires a mutual definition with a woman lacking the capacity to realize this with him. And it’s within that idealized desire men lose Frame and excuse the behaviors of Alpha deference.
The Medium IS the Message
As I’ve written in the past, the Medium IS the Message with women. On some level of consciousness men instinctually understand their relative status with a woman based on the behaviors she directs toward him.
Is she affectionate without being prompted or only when circumstance makes your comfort needed for her?
Is Amused Mastery an easy default for you, or does she resist even playful attempts at it?
Does she initiate sex with you, or is your provocation only ever the precursor to sex?
Is sex even a priority for her (with you)?
Does she make efforts to make things special for you (you both) or is your relationship one of her grading your efforts in qualifying for her Alpha approval of you?
What most guys think are ‘mixed messages’ or confusing behavior coming from a woman is simply due to their inability (for whatever reason) to make an accurate interpretation of why she’s behaving in such a manner. Usually this boils down to a guy getting so wrapped up in a girl that he’d rather make concessions for her behavior than see it for what it really is. In other words, it’s far easier to call it ‘mixed messages’ or fall back on the old chestnut of how fickle and random women are, when in fact it’s simply a rationale to keep themselves on the hook, so to speak, because they lack any real, viable, options with other women in their lives. A woman that has a high interest level in a guy has no need (and less motivation) to engage in behaviors that would compromise her status with him. Women of all ILs will shit test, and men will pass or fail accordingly, but a test is more easily recognizable when you consider the context in which they’re delivered.
Are you making psychological concessions with a woman who’s never displayed an Alpha deference to you?