Sunday, August 13, 2006

This is freakin' brill: "Alpha Males"

From the archives of Feministe (yes, I'm forever behind the times, deal with it), what I've been trying to articulate for years wrt the earnest-dweeb attempts to convince themselves and others that really, acting like an unsocialized misogynist jerk is both MANLY and is SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE.

...So, what’s a reverse-anthropomorphizing guy to do? Acknowledging that the bonobos might just have something there — after all, they are our closest relatives — doesn’t ever seem to be an option, because that might mean that the Nice Guy™ theory of How To Get Chicks might be all blown to hell.

Well, I suppose that if the Nice Guys™ are determined to do the Alpha Male thing, to study up on how to be a dominant male, they might consider plunking themselves down in front of the National Geographic Channel and taking in an episode of The Dog Whisperer now and then. They may find that their conception of the aggressive, dominant, jerky Alpha Male isn’t what’s going to get them anywhere

The comments are pretty on-target, too:

-I don’t think evolutionary psychology is particularly applicable to modern human interaction, but I think the Alpha Male illusion comes about because many assholes have confidence, and this is attractive -even if being an asshole isn’t- so it appears to certain shy people that it is the attitude as a package that is a success, rather than the confidence alone- so if a shy person emulates the package as a whole, then they are inadvertently being a jerk, when what they really need to do is just be confident in themselves.


-I’d also like to point out that in many species with dominance hierarchies, an alpha male only gets to be that way for about 2-3 years of his life.

Oh, and in some species, females actively avoid mating with the dominant males. Because they’re assholes.


My experience, as a former “nice guy” who used to believe in all that shit before I actually grew up a bit, is that women *don’t* go looking for assholes. The “nice guy” myth that women prefer assholes comes from the fact that when you’re incredibly jealous, and you don’t understand *why* women have absolutely no romantic interest in you, you focus on the negative aspects of the relationships of your female friends/acquiantances.

...Of course, the most interesting case that I’ve personally seen is a self-proclaimed nice guy who decided he was deeply in love with a lesbian, and proceeding to spend all of his time complaining about how she was only attracted to assholes - if she’d just be interested in a “nice” partner, she’d stop being a lesbian and hook up with him. Totally self-centered to the point of obsession, and with this absolute objectification of the target of his affections: her sexual orientation wasn’t real to him: it was all about *him*, and what *she* should be doing in order to make *him* happy, because he was a *nice guy*.


As a minor mention - not only is the theory ludicrous, but at least with dogs they seem to get the behavior of Alphas entirely wrong. The nasty, snarling, jerky dogs are Beta wannabes. The natural alpha is usually a very laid-back dog. He’s best, and he knows it, and there’s no need to show off about it. The sweetest dog I ever had was also the most dominant. He never needed to get into a fight, he just ran the show through sheer force of personality.

So their theory blows in more ways than your average tornado.


I don’t understand why people (especially men) look to the animal kingdom for love advice. Every animal species mates differently. In the end, why does it fucking matter what baboons or chimps or bonobos do? Make your own damn decisions about your love life instead of using your local zoo as a crutch.



Sly Civilian said...

Doesn't mentioning sex and animals in the same sentence perform some magical radfem summoning, where someone will appear to inform us that Pr0n is all about bestiality?

belledame222 said...

Seriously, have there been multiple discussions of this? radfem analyses of bestiality-pr0n, I mean? I'm only aware of one; admittedly, it was a doozy, but.

morbidly curious inquiring minds and all.

Dan L-K said...

Just about every time I've seen someone arguing on Teh Intarwebs using evolutionary psychology as a basis, it's been in the service of something idiotic and regressive. It's really struck me as counter to what the idea behind the discipline is. I guess when you have a hammer...

I mean, there's a difference between understanding that, yes, a human is essentially a big naked lemur that can drive a car, and that's a key to some of the weird things we're quirky about; and asserting that biology is destiny.

The difference, I suppose, is between explaining and excusing.