Image by the excellent Stuart F Taylor
There are few terms that make me more uncomfortable than ‘alpha male’ – alongside the fact that self-defined ‘alpha males’ usually only come across my radar when they’re spouting misogyny, the phrase itself seems to pack masculinity into a teeny tiny box from which there’s no escape. But this week’s guest blogger – Phoenix Rose (who’s guest blogged for me before on sleepy subspace) – wants to have a go at exploring the phrase, and seeing if there are ways it could be redefined for the 21st century. What if ‘alpha’ didn’t just speak to tropes about aggression and competition, and instead represented something different?
Redefining ‘alpha male’ for the 21st Century
I saw a male comedian a while back and he said something which struck me. “Feminism is the only ideology which has a plan for men. Not the governments, not the politicians, not the media-only feminism.” It’s an idea I’d not considered before but it struck me with its honesty and practicality.
It made me think a lot about what it means to be ‘alpha’. The connotations of the term, why I believe it to be problematic and why it’s irrelevant and outdated in a modern society.
What exactly is an ‘alpha male’?
The idea of a fit billionaire guy, taking what he wants and being dominant without prior consent is a trope. Too many people buy into the idea and it’s why the term has been gaining momentum and descending into itself to the point where we see the rise of the ‘incel’ movement.
The two are linked more closely than the ‘red pill alpha’ group would like to admit. Their common theme? Misogyny.
The thought that women could do as good a job, or better, than their male counterparts is something an ‘alpha’ struggles with. The notion that she might be better than him, in charge of him or even dominate him would be a bridge too far I would think. But what if it wasn’t?
What I would like to see explored is the idea that submission is alpha. Surrendering is alpha. Compersion is alpha.
What if we encouraged positive ‘alpha’ qualities?
My first forays into submitting to my partner and allowing her to take charge in the bedroom were really scary. How would she react when asked to switch roles? Would she think I was too feminine? Too kinky? The idea of facing your fear and doing what you want couldn’t be more ‘alpha’ – even if you happen to be bent over wearing her best panties whilst she spanks your ass.
Letting go and submitting is one of the most alpha things I’ve done. It reaffirmed that my masculinity wasn’t threatened by wearing women’s underwear, assuming a submissive role or wanting to indulge in gender play whilst my wife donned a strap-on. My inner male was something inside of me. Not some idea which could be brought toppling down if I wasn’t always winning, on top of my game, making the most money or any other alpha clichés.
Submitting to your partner, waiting for them to penetrate you rather than the other way around will give you a much better idea of the receptive person’s perspective and headspace than reading any column written in a magazine or newspaper. It allows you to see how much trust a woman has to give to indulge in such an act. How exposed it can feel, whether you’re on all fours wondering if you’re at the right height for a good angle of entry or on top of your significant other, bouncing happily away on their plastic cock when the thought enters your head ‘do I look silly doing this? Are my jiggly bits jiggling too much from below?’ is the closest I’ve ever come to understanding some of the difficulties women face.
For a similar view from a female perspective, Blogger Quinn Rhodes writes about why she enjoys men trying traditionally female underwear and exploring different sides of their sexuality. She describes how it makes her feel safer to know a man has experienced a different side of things and is willing to submit to her rather than assume a role and stick to it rigidly.
Taking this idea further, the notion of sharing your partner, swinging or ‘cucking’ are all alpha acts. They mean listening to your partner, putting their pleasure first and putting your own petty jealousy away. It’s not something I’ve indulged in (yet) but I’d like to think if my wife was attracted to someone enough or wanted to explore something I would be ‘man enough’ (another horrible expression) to support her, encourage her and maybe even participate.
Compersion is difficult, which is yet another reason it’s far more alpha than the more accepted alternative of jealousy. Jealousy is easy. The common complaint of ‘you staring at my bird?’ issued primarily before the possible threat of violence is the more traditional alpha trait-the dominant male defending his ‘property’ against lesser beta males. I would argue the uncertainty and questioning of your partner’s feelings toward you places such acts of aggression far more into an insecure mindset-not an alpha one at all.
Reimagining what the term alpha means in the modern world, whether it’s outdated and unnecessary or whether it can be redefined, working with your inner submissive (especially if you’re normally dominant) to make you much more masculine and raising women up and listening to them will all be challenges modern alpha men face.
And what could be more alpha (literally – coming from the first letter of the Greek alphabet) than putting someone else first instead of your own insecurities?