I don’t know if you heard, but 2021 has brought us a new form of male. No longer are their just “alpha males” and “beta males” but now “sigma males” have come into the equation. But what is “sigma male” exactly? Well, the website HackSpirit is here to tell us:
A Sigma Male is a man who chooses to live his life outside of the normal social dominance hierarchy of society.
Sigma males have similar traits to alpha males but prefer to walk to the beat of their own drum, and don’t often take orders from people or conform to society’s labels or systems.
Sigma Males are the men who are riding off into the sunset on their horses without much more to their name than the pack on their back.
They don’t need things from society the way other men do. They are often self-employed, traveling nomads who seek adventure and knowledge, rather than material goods and possessions.
The article ends by telling us that “Sigma Males will rise to the top of a new hierarchy, but it will be of their own making and design.” But wait a minute, the article also says that “sigma males” would view this hierarchy as nonsensical because “Sigma males can’t stand these invisible and meaningless power dynamics built off nothing but an unearned social status.” Would “Sigma Males” believe their own hierarchy is earned? If not, what if somebody does — would that person be the most “Sigma Male” out there? Maybe they’re a “Sigma Male squared.”
The idea of “alpha” and “beta” males comes from the 1970 book The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species by L. David Mech. The book specifically analyzed the relationships wolves have in captivity, with Mech noting that some rise to the top and become “alphas” while also become followers or “betas.” Mech himself later disowned how many people were viewing it, as well as how he initially viewed the hypothesis, correcting much of it in his 1999 paper Alpha Status, Dominance, and Division of Labor in Wolf Packs. The paper itself opens by noting:
In captive packs, the unacquainted wolves formed dominance hierarchies featuring alpha, beta, omega animals, etc. With such assemblages, these dominance labels were probably appropriate, for most species thrown together in captivity would usually so arrange themselves.
In nature, however, the wolf pack is not such an assemblage. Rather, it is usually a family (Murie 1944; Young and Goldman 1944; Mech 1970, 1988; Clark 1971; Haber 1977) including a breeding pair and their offspring of the previous 1–3 years, or sometimes two or three such families (Murie 1944; Haber 1977; Mech et al. 1998).
Basically, while the relationship has often been compared to a male-female heterosexual one in popular culture, follow-up research by Mech found that the relationship disappears in the wild, instead being replaced by one of parent and child. The parents being the “alphas” who guide their “beta” children through the world. Add that to the various differences between human hierarchy and wolf hierarchy (human hierarchy is constantly changing, for example, so someone who’s an “alpha” on the Football field might be a “beta” while playing Dungeons And Dragons) and you have something that can be best seen as pseudo-science when applied to humans.
Of course, this whole thing dates back to the centuries-old gender roles of dominant men and submissive women — women want someone to dominate them and men want everyone to submit to them. But wait, if men want everyone in society to submit to them and women want a society that dominates them, why are men much more likely than women to support policies like broken window policing — which is submitting authority to police? Wouldn’t men find such a thing patronizing or even a competitor to their dominance while women would find such a thing reassuring?
Of course, this is not to say that no woman on the planet is a supporter of authoritarianism, Karl Rove famously had George W. Bush base his 2004 campaign around “safety moms” for example. But when one looks at radical authoritarian politics, everything from capital punishment to three-strike laws are much more likely to be supported by men than by women. (Mind you, if one looks at basically every “extremist policy” from all across the political spectrum, you’ll find that men are more likely to support it than women — but my overall point still stands.) In fact, it’s widely believed that Reagan’s support for “tough-on-crime” policies was one of the biggest factors in driving men into the Republican Party back in the 1980s.
For that matter, if this system is so natural, why do we hardly ever see it played out in reality? In Chimpanzees, we see that it can be the male who best makes a connection with the female, even if using “beta tactics,” who gets to find a mate. The same has been found in humans, with traits like agreeability and level-headedness being much more important than showing dominance.
Of course, all of this depends on the individual woman. I’m sure there are some women out there who want men to dominate them in every way 24/7. I’m sure there are some men out there who want a woman to dominate them in every way 24/7. But to therefore assume that all women/men want that is to remove individuality from the equation — which is a grave mistake.
In truth, while trends do exist, it’s undeniable that with how many people we have on the planet, presenting anything as “what 100% of women want” is utter nonsense. Even something like “pain is bad” is not a universal truth, considering 36% of Americans report themselves to enjoy some form of BDSM.
Even RooshV, easily the most famous pick-up artist until he converted to Christianity in March 2019, admitted this in his breakout book Bang:
Before you dive in and read this book, I have to warn you that the journey is difficult and often disappointing. . . Most phone numbers will go nowhere. You’re doing incredible if half the numbers you get result in a first date . . . Even when your game gets really good, you will get rejected and have prospects that don’t convert. . . On your 100th approach, there will be the experience of 99 previous approaches at your back helping you succeed. This is why it is better to be the man who tries and fails than one who does not try at all.
YouTuber Hbomberguy satirized this by comparing it to a Dota strategy guide that opened with the following:
I hope you deal with losing well. Even with all these tips you will still lose most of the time, but I assure you this advice is definitely good, and real, I am not a con man.
Of course, if you try the same tactics on literally hundreds of different women, you’ll eventually find one who finds it attractive. This is true of any “technique” (side note: Am I the only one who finds the idea of using “techniques” to enter a relationship to be almost psychopathic?) regardless of if it’s Roosh’s “alpha” methods or the more mainstream “beta” methods. Eventually, on a planet of eight billion people, you’ll find some woman out there who responds to your methods.
Mind you, I have to go off a number of different things I’ve heard regarding what an “alpha male is” because, like with most forms of pseudo-science, there’s no concrete definition of it. Ask a self-described “alpha male” who’s a pickup artist, an athlete, a gym-bro, and a gamer what it means to be “alpha” and be prepared to hear four different answers. From one, you could hear about how “alpha” it is to “have your way with” (or rape) women, the above mentioned RooshV used to do and which he was so proud of he wrote about multiple examples of him doing this in his books, only for another “alpha” to tell you that abusing or raping women makes you a “beta” — because real “alphas” can get women to submit without abusing them. Basically, “alpha” means whatever is cool and “beta” means whatever is lame.
Of course, nobody self-identifies as a “beta,” because “beta” is a bad thing to be. To be honest, I think the fact that these terms have popularity is evidence of a massive issue in society — we have become obsessed with putting nonsensical labels on ourselves.
One only needs to look at the influx of various online personality tests to see this. Thanks to the internet, you can find out which dictator you are, which serial killer you are, which superhero you are, which tree you are, which Starbucks coffee you are, and I’m sure much more. The most popular example is the Myers-Briggs test, which puts people in one of sixteen personalities. It’s well known for being ineffective, with over half the people who take it twice getting different results both times, but it’s still believed by a large number of people with over 200 Government Agencies using it to make hiring decisions. Meanwhile, one person who sits on the board that owns the Myers-Briggs test says he would never do such a thing.
However, have you ever noticed that none of the personalities are just “you’re an asshole”? The online version of the test gives you people in each personality group — you ever notice that none of them are considered “bad”? The website doesn’t tell us which personality type someone like Hitler was, because the idea that you could be the same personality type as Hitler makes you feel unsafe.
That’s what bothers me the most about these “personality type” tests. They aren’t a way for people to get an unbias and honest reflection, they are a way for people to differentiate themselves from others through meaningless feel-good signifiers. Nobody gets the “asshole” type because nobody wants to consider themselves an asshole. The most ironic thing about personality tests is that they actually end up robbing you of a unique personality.
Once again, Myers-Briggs is not even the oldest example of this. The Ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Babylonians all had some form of astrology, or the idea that personality is determined by the location of stars when you’re born — all of which directly contradict each other, I should add.
To give you an idea of how nonsense this is, allow me to give you a fact about myself. According to the location of the stars on the date of my birth, I am an Aquarius. However, when I took a personality test to see which Zodiac sign best fits me, I was told I’m an Aries — which would mean I was born around a month or two after I was actually born.
Of course, most people consider astrology to be nothing more than a dumb internet meme your aunt likes, but it has genuinely been influential throughout history. Nancy Reagan famously became obsessed with astrology while her husband was President, specifically after the assassination attempt by John Hickley, and even hired an astrologer to help plan what Ronald was going to do that day. Reagan’s first Treasury Secretary and second Chief-of-Staff, Donald Regan was actually fired because of his disagreements and arguments with Nancy Reagan over this very topic. In his 1988 memoir, Regan wrote:
Virtually every major move and decision the Reagans made during my time as White House Chief of Staff was cleared in advance with a woman in San Francisco who drew up horoscopes to make certain that the planets were in a favorable alignment for the enterprise.
In order to understand the scope of this, one needs to understand just how much control Nancy Reagan had over her husband. While she wasn’t nearly as much of a public figure as someone like Hillary Clinton or even Michele Obama, she did have influence over what Reagan did. Remember, it was her who suggested Ronald tone down his policy towards the Soviet Union and even meet with then-leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Here is my radical idea: Why not just be yourself? Don’t worry about your Zodiac sign, which Myers-Briggs personality you are, if you’re an “alpha male” or not, or what kind of serial killer is most similar to you — just be who you are. When you are “a personality” you are one of many, when you are a person you are one. This is what bothers me about nonsense like personality tests, it turns people into personalities and not actual people.
The Myers-Briggs test comes from a hypothesis Carl Jung came up with in 1921 that human beings can be divided into eight different personality types. (Myers and Briggs, one a mystery novelist and one a magazine writer who came up with the test in 1943 because they were bored, doubled these types for unknown reasons. In their defense, it probably was really boring to be a woman in the United States in 1943.) Jung knew this rather useless in the grand scheme of things, once saying:
Every individual is an exception to the rule. This kind of classification is nothing but a childish parlor game.
I do not take issue with people treating it as a fun parlor game, I do take issue with people pretending like it’s much more — and the second one is what society tends to do.