A term originating from the animal kingdom, in which some species arrange individuals into a ranked order. For example in wolves, the pack order is split into two chains of command, one chain for the male, and one for the female. At the top of each chain is the 'Alpha' animal, and at the lowest of the chain is the 'omega' animal.
Thus, the position of 'Alpha Male' means absolutely nothing unless you are a howler monkey who gets no pussy.
This position can be seen being fought for, for example in school, by way of social interactions, group contests, or simply fighting to determine who is the 'hardest'.
The position of Alpha Male is seen as one of the most socially desirable (in wolves as well as humans) as having it enables a male to make decisions about how their social group/pack is run, to exact submission and obedience from subordinates, and generally to control things and boss others around at will. The power of the alpha male is matched only by that of the alpha female, who is just as in control as the alpha male is. Though in human society, individual ego and desire for authority often exclude the possibility of a partnership at the top. Humans seem to have a remarkable tendency for aggregating ultimate authority to one (usually male) person.
Little has changed from wolves to humans in this regard; humans still fight for the dominant position, but unlike wolves (continuing the example), who challenge for dominance and alpha status nonviolently using visual, auditory and smell clues, humans often get in bloody, protracted, and vicious fights/wars to determine who is the most powerful, and hence can dominate the rest of the pack. This can be regarded as one of the great failings of humanity, the desire for dominance and control and doing things one's own way destroying social ties to the extent fighting is necessary to enforce a social order, and that fighting actively harms, even kills, members of that social order.
Designation for the male at the top of the male dominance hierarchy in a group of social animals. In some groups this is the only male that gets a chance to reproduce. In some groups this is the male that eats first.
Determined by displays or contests of strength, endurance, loudness, etc.
...number of gadgets attached to belt, etc.
No, I think that having gadgets or a NerdPack
on one's belt pretty much disqualifies one for AlphaMale
-hood. But the AlphaGeek
displays different signals.
The requirements seem to involve height, a strong speaking voice, and a large penis. Witness the past several US presidents prior to the year 2000. Personally, I'll stick with the gadgets.
- These are all useful secondary traits, but not primary ones. Napoleon was infamously very short. Primary traits include gregariousness (loners need not apply), decisiveness (the wishy washy finish last), and confidence (if you don't trust yourself, no one else will either). It is also necessary to build support, which tends to require alignment of goals and interests with at least some large minority of the population (so if your ideas/interests are too bizarre/unique, forget it).
- This implies that alpha males tend to conform to the ideas of others. I think this is false. Alpha males are those who have different ideas, and are able to get others to follow along by force of personality, etc. -- JosephStyons
- Yes, but if someone's ideas are too bizarre, then no possible force of personality will persuade. There's a threshold beyond which the pack will turn on you. But I didn't say that AlphaMales were utter conformists, either. What I did say was in fact fairly carefully phrased, and is supported by the literature.
- I would like to point out also, that being Alpha Male does not always mean the person fought for that position, nor does it mean that it is a coveted position. Many times, being Alpha has risks and responsibilities that are very heavy and not at all seen as desirable. A good example of this may be the recent history of the presidential candidates in the USA. It is getting harder and harder to find anyone of any quality that is stupid enough to accept the role as President, let alone be a presidential candidate. The risks versus benefits, and wear and tear on the person, can make a position at the top extremely undesirable sometimes.
Compare with Male Role Belief System, a term coined for use in anger management education, which defines the guiding principles of 'might is right' and the suspension of the GoldenRule
long enough to enforce one's own will upon another.