19 Dec 2017

Alpha Males And Alpha Females

Alpha Males
The term “alpha male” comes from studies of animals. The dominant male animal in a particular group is called the alpha male.  Alpha males are able to compete with other males and rise to the top of a tribe.  They can then have just about any female they want, and because of their position of power, they can exploit these females.  Recently the term has been applied to humans, and the human alpha male, like the alpha males of lower animals, tend to use their positions of power to exploit women.
No doubt alpha males have existed throughout human history and have often been viewed as heroes.  One thinks of Genghis Khan, who in addition to conquering Mongolia in the 1100s, was also one of history’s greatest ladies men.  One also thinks of Achilles, William Wallace, Napoleon, and John F. Kennedy, all known for their dominance of men and having their way with women.  Are such men born that way, or do they become that way as the result of environmental factors?  Usually it is a combination: they are born with the biological makeup such as an athletic build to dominate, but they are also brought up in an environment that fosters such dominance.  Famous gangsters grew up in the mafia, which extolled brutality of all forms, including rape.
One could argue that alpha male sexuality is not something a man chooses, but which is to an extent instinctual to him.  But there are many people, mostly women, who would disagree with this notion.  The recent rash of accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior, sexual harassment and sexual abuse by males in high places may be in reality an attack on alpha males, an attempt to criminalize what is actually normal behavior by such males.
For the past few months alpha males have been accused of sexual misdeeds.  One of the recent celebrities to be accused was Charlie Rose, a television personality known for his gentlemanly interviews.  Nine women have come forward and described various improper behaviors on his part.  The Washington Post first reported on eight women had charged him with “unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.”  Rose apologized for his conduct, saying he didn’t realize his behavior was harassment.  He was immediately fired by CBS and PBS and almost everybody assumed he was guilty without a trial, without a verdict, without a sentencing by a judge.
The focus in each case is on the man or men.  It suddenly appears that women all over the media are expressing criticism about and suspicion of men.  The spate of accusations makes it seem that men in general are sexual predators that can’t be trusted.  They make it seem that all men in high places, men with positions of power, need to be monitored.  Indeed there have been some notions that have been floated around that men are innately sexists and that white men are particularly sexist as well as racist.
Although feminists have contended from the inception that their goal is equality between men and women, their emphasis at present is entirely on the feminist interpretation of equality.  For example, the present outcropping of accusations of noted men by women has been almost always reported from the women’s side.  It is assumed by most that each of the men is guilty, whether he denies it or not, and there is a rush to judgment about the men.  Often, like Charlie Rose, the men lose both their reputations and their jobs.  One of the slogans of feminism is that “women should be believed” when they report sexual abuse.  Hence there is a tendency by people, both male and female, to accept the accuser’s version of the events they describe without question and to shut down anybody who expresses an opinion that is different from theirs.
This occurred when Geraldo Rivera took to Twitter to complain that “News is a flirty business & it seems like [the] current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it [with] predation.”  Rivera’s employer, Fox News, made him apologize for his tweet, and indeed we have had a plethora of apologies over the last few weeks by men.
Alpha Females
In studies of tribal animals, the highest ranking individual is sometimes designated as the alpha.  However, according to Wikipedia (“alpha males”), both males and females can be alphas, depending on the species. Where one male and one female fulfill this role together, they are sometimes referred to as the alpha pair. Other animals in the same social group or tribe will be submissive towards the alpha or alphas.  Alpha animals usually gain preferential access to food and other desirable items or activities, though the extent of this varies widely between species. Male or female alphas may gain preferential access to sex or mates; in some species, only alphas or an alpha pair reproduce.
However, just as there are alpha human males, there are also alpha females.  Males are not the only ones who get into power positions and use their power to exploit the opposite sex. Women also engage in inappropriate conduct, harassment and sexual abuse of men.  However, while male sexual misconduct and abuse has to do with exploiting women’s sexuality, more often than not alpha females use their power to not only to exploit males sexually, but also to psychologically castrate men, which means they dominate men by taking away what feminists call their “cock privileges.”
In fact, the ways in which alpha females castrate men can be seen in the manner such women have recently gone after male sexuality.  There seems to be a lynch-mob mentality among such women, an “off with their heads” attitude.  Alpha females are unable to make distinctions and they classify men who come on to women in a clumsy way (“misconduct”) in the same category as men who rape women.  Misconduct is not a crime while rape is, and among alpha females and the men and women who follow them the distinction between sexual misconduct and rape is lost.
Garrison Keillor, the elderly humorist who for years distributed a folksy show called, “A Prairie Home Companion,” was fired after a woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.  Minnesota Public Radio didn’t explain (which has been the case with many of the recent firings), but Keillor addressed the incident by immediately saying, “I put my hand on a woman’s bare back,” he wrote. “I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.”
This may be a kind of mass hysteria, which throws out the baby with the bathwater, and is in itself an abusive kind of behavior.  The tyranny that shuts down and punishes men like Rivera who have an alternate opinion of events (rather than a political correct opinion) is another form of abuse. It is easy for women to point the finger at men, but it is not easy to point the finger at themselves.  Sexual misconduct, harassment and abuse is not just about men.  After 40 years of being a psychotherapist, I can say that there is an equal amount of men who hate women as women who hate men.  Neither sex is entirely guilty or innocent.   A slew of female high school teachers have in recent years been caught having sex with teen-aged boys.  This has become public.  But many day-to-day abuses of men by women are never reported because men don’t report them.
I’m talking about women who lead on and then reject men; alpha females who put down men’s sexuality as an innate kind of sexism without any empathy for the difference in men’s and women’s sexuality; women who have taken over many parts of our culture, such as the educational system from nursery school to college.  Almost all elementary school teachers today are women, and they may be presenting, wittingly or unwittingly, a biased attitude toward boys, which may be the reason why today two-thirds of college undergrads are women.
A Case in Point
Recently I became acquainted with a case involving a professor who had taught at a college in Manhattan for about 15 years.  During that period many students had challenged him, as students are apt to do, but one case stands out in particular.
During the second class of his Introduction to Psychology course a young woman came up to him and said she would like to talk with him in his office.  Since professors are required to put aside an hour of time for students who had problems with particular assignments, he agreed to see her.  They met later in the office assigned to Adjunct Professors and before he knew it she had started talking about her problems.  He had been a licensed psychoanalyst in private practice for many years, and he had made this fact known during the first class, while introducing the course.  This student, a young woman of about twenty, apparently decided that he was therefore available to do therapy with students.
She spoke in a very soft voice and, even though it wasn’t his job to do therapy with students, he decided to hear her out.  She talked for about twenty minutes about her problems with men.  She said she was always seeing men on the street, on the subway, in the parks, and finding them attractive.  But once she noticed that the men looked at her, she was immediately disgusted by them.  She particularly felt angry and envious of men in positions of authority, and would think to herself, “Who does he think he is?”  She said at times she hated men so much she only dated women.  At other time she hated men her own age and limited herself to dating women and older men.  She spoke in a very soft and fast and circular way, and at times it was hard to understand her.   At one point she said she had seen a church counselor but had stopped after five sessions.
It was then that the professor broke in and said he thought she should return to the church counselor or to some other counselor.  He pointed out that free counseling for students was available at the college.  He closed by saying, “I think you still have some things to figure out in therapy, such as why you’re so angry at men, why you are so attracted and then nauseated as soon as a man looks at you.  You need to figure out why sometimes you’re only interested in dating women and sometimes you only date older men.”
At that point she suddenly laughed at him and said, “I never said I was interested in older men.”  She laughed at him with contempt, and it occurred to him that she had found what she was looking for.  She found a reason to have contempt for him, taking his words out of context and giving them a different meaning.  To her it was as though he were asking her if she was interested in older men.  She quickly got up and left the office, backing out as if he had done something inappropriate.
He pondered about what to do.  It was a delicate situation.  Women all over the country were accusing men of sexual misconduct, and they were always believed.  He suspected that if he brought this to the attention of his superiors at the college, who were all women, it might not go well. He questioned whether they would believe him or her.  It was apparent to him, from what she had said, that she probably suffered from a histrionic personality disorder.  She was angry and particularly envious of men in authority and he was a teacher, a man in authority.  It may have been that she found him attractive and then disgusting and wanted to find a way to knock me down.
He decided not to do anything about it, to just go back to teaching the class.  But she started acting out in class, sleeping during several classes, talking to the woman who sat beside her for long stretches of time, texting on her cell phone during class and asking him disrespectful questions during class.  He gave students a class participation grade, and at one point he called her up after class and informed her that her class participation grade was a C and that whether it went higher or lower was up to her.  She sort of smirked at him and walked shaking her head.  The next class he found out that she had gotten vengeance by telling students he had come on to her in her office by asking her if she was interested in older men.
Two students who had formerly liked this professor now played a game with him one day when he entered the class.  The teacher who taught before him was just finishing his class, and the two women students began making a big deal over how young this teacher was.  “Oh, you’re such a young professor.  What do you teach?  You don’t even look like a professor.  Oh, my, I think I want to sign up for your class.”  They were being inappropriately seductive to this young professor, and their professor could tell the young man was confused.  Their game was meant for his ears.  When he put my briefcase down on desk desk, one of the women asked, “Are you all right professor?”
These women had immediately believed this woman (the result of the well-known feminist demand that women be believed) and concluded that their professor was a pervert.  He was anything but a pervert.  He had tried to help this young woman with her problems, and she had jumped in and twisted what he had said to suit her purposes.  He thought about confronting this student in the next class, but since there were only a few classes left in the semester, he decided to let it go.  However, one of the two women who had at first liked him now dropped the class.  Another woman, who had planned to do a research project with him stopped speaking to him.
This case shows the power that women now have over men and particularly how an alpha female can use the present anti-male atmosphere—in which all women who make charges against men must be believed—to her advantage.
An Equal, Loving Relationship between the Sexes
 We need to have a truly equal relationship between the genders in which there is a real dialogue between them and a real agreement on how to accomplish the resolution of the divide between males and females.  Ordinary men and women, not alpha males and alpha females, need to be in charge of this dialogue.
An interesting study on stress bears on this discussion.  Robert Sapolsky, a psychologist, studied stress in a baboon tribe in Africa, which he documented in a famous video called, Stress: Portrait of a Killer. Sapolsky was interested in stress levels of the tribe, so he took the blood of each baboon in the tribe, measuring the degree of stress hormones in their bodies.  He found that the alpha male and the alpha female had the least amount of stress hormones in their bodies.  They were able to dominate all the males and females under them.  Meanwhile, the baboons who were at the bottom of the hierarchy, the so-called “runt of the litter,” whether male or female, carried the most stress hormones.  These were the baboons who were picked on the most and least able to fight back.
Sapolsky learned many new things about stress, and he also learned about the antidote to stress.  This happened by a random happening during the years he covered this tribe.  At one point the tribe discovered a garbage dump.  The alpha males and females got first dibs on the food in the garbage dump, keeping all others away.  They were the only ones to eat the food, which had gone bad.  All who ate the food from the dump died, which meant that all the alpha males and females died.  Those who were left in the tribe were the more healthy and loving members of the tribe.  The males weren’t into bullying other males or exploiting women, and the women were also not those who were into bullying other women and playing games with men.  As the result the tribe enjoyed a peaceful and loving existence.  When Sapolsky later took the blood of the survivors of this tribe, all of them had fewer stress hormones in their blood.
Love, according to Sapolsky, is the antidote to stress.  In order for males and females—whether baboons or humans—to form a loving and peaceful relationship, they have to be able to love each other.  In order to love each other, they must respect each other.  They must reach agreements through love and respect, not through battles for domination and control.
Feminism is basically a club for alpha females, which is attempting to force its values on the rest of us.  Those of us who are sane must resist the feminist misrepresentation of all males as perpetrators of sexual harassment and abuse against females.

About Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D.

Gerald Schoenewolf is a licensed psychoanalyst in New York and professor of psychology. He is the author of 13 books on psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, and has produced, directed, written, and composed 3 films.

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