Alpha v. beta is more like a fetishised version of interactions than a reflection of the truth
The discussion around “alpha” and “beta” males is really not so helpful. It seems that so much of the BDSM discourse, D/s discourse, and debate around masculinity in general is laced with this dialectic, but it is a false one, and unhelpful.
“Alpha” males are equated with success, assertiveness, strength, solidity, the classic male virtues. “Betas” on the other hand are seen as weak, indecisive, wimpy. At their worst, the “alpha” profile is associated with toxic masculinity. At its worst, a “beta” is seen as effeminate. Gosh. The things you could challenge in these characterisations.
One writer opined that she was only aroused by “alpha” males because she wanted someone to not ask permission and to “take” her by force. Yes, this is a common fantasy, but the boundary of consent when still there does not preclude having permission first. Even consensual non-consent operates this way.
Stats have emerged from reputable bodies about what women look for at different times of their life, and at different times of the month. When a woman is fertile she is more attracted to “betas”, but when she is not fertile, she is more attracted to alphas. This plays to the biological understanding that pairing with a beta actually increases the likely success of the genes. Is this the ultimate “revenge of the nerds”?
The power of the patriarchy is such that we cannot help but regard a man who willingly relinquishes a position of power to be submissive as someone inferior. When a woman submits, society regards that as par for the course. This is why so many men who are submissive think there is something wrong with themselves and crave humiliation and degradation. They believe that because society looks down on a man who submits, so too should they disregard themselves.
While I am sure there are plenty of true “losers” in the submissive camp, I am equally certain that there are just as many or more “losers” on the dominant side. There is certainly no professional attainment gap or wealth gap in favour of dominant males over submissive males—if anything it is the opposite.
What do I think? I think that women, be they Domme or sub, are attracted to a man who knows himself, knows his strengths, his weaknesses, who listens, who cares, and who will be strong for her. Not just sometimes, but always, because that is who and what he is. I believe that most men look for a woman who is similarly well-grounded, but who also reinforces his feelings about himself—for men are the weaker sex in truth and need more of this kind of daily reinforcement.
This has nothing to do with alpha or beta. Being aggressive or assertive or a go-getter is something entirely different. I believe that all of those traits can go hand-in-glove with being submissive.
When I try to process my own life, yes, perhaps I am less pushy than others, but I am no less competitive than my male colleagues. I may be less inclined to backstab at the office or show off, but I am just as ambitious. I am also not exactly butch. But if my SO wants me to push her onto her hands and knees, pull her hair back and talk dirty to her, I will do it without hesitation. Is it a problem that she had to ask, or to let me know that is what she would like? No. At least there shouldn’t be.
Does it matter that at other times all I want to do is curl up at the feet of a Dominatrix and respond to her? No. Does it matter that submission is so deeply ingrained in me that I find those moments fulfilling? I hope not.
I can’t help but think that submission takes real strength. To have the confidence to let go, to trust in another to catch you when you fall. That is a show of strength. And when I look across the professional world at the various CEOs and Chairs I have known, there is a common thread in the most successful among them—humility. And in a way, that is perhaps the most important thing I am learning, and re-learning from Mistress. To be humble is noble, to respect someone else above oneself is uplifting, to recognise it and accept it is strength. I look at what I can do because of my submission, not in spite of it.
So, yes, I might be a “beta” because I submit and because I bear no superficial resemblance to the “alpha” narrative—heck I want to have the smallest, most lithe body possible. But I also know that my submission is part of what helps me stand tall in the face of adversity, because the core of me has strengthened because of it.
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