Has The Definition Of The ‘Alpha Male’ Become Outdated?

Has the time come to finally redefine what an alpha male is? Should the term be more inclusive instead of domineering?

A recent post by Karishma Mehta, founder of ‘Humans of Bombay’, has led to some musings about the meaning of ‘alpha male’, and some banter between R and S.

R says – I was reading a post by Karishma Mehta, founder of ‘Humans of Bombay’, where she cites her experience with JRD Tata. As inspiring as that post was, what stuck with me is her statement, “I’d like to thank you most for redefining what I thought was ‘alpha male’. To be alpha is to be you, Mr. Tata – soft, kind, humble, and vehement only in relentless attempts to make the world a better place.”

Who is the Alpha Male?

Who is the alpha male? Alpha male as per definition applies to the ‘dominant male’ within an animal group. The male that probably can ‘fight’ other males to become the leader of the pack to win the ‘female’. One who is stronger.

By extending this definition to humans, an alpha male is someone who displays dominance socially and professionally and goes on to become successful, assumes leadership positions and makes sure he is always heard. And of course, they are a hit among women too. An alpha male may not be full of aggression but he is assertive and oozes confidence.

Nowadays, we are seeing a shift or a change in this perception but until the recent past, the above was the characteristics that decided the social order for men. In the workplace, men who climbed ranks were dynamic, assertive and dominating. After all, the way to control and as a result lead could be done only by showing power in some form. If you could not be heard no one knew you.

The knight in shining armour was not a meek, tender male who loved animals. He was the gallant one, the one who could protect women. However, with time and with women no longer needing ‘protectors’, our definition of alpha male and our barometer of attraction has shifted.

What is your take S? Do you think that has happened? And if yes, how and towards what?

S says – I disagree with you on women no longer needing ‘protectors’. While some may be lucky enough, there are still plenty who continue to need them. It depends on the part of the world we live in. And then again, sometimes safety is but an illusion.

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Women get attacked all the time. It needn’t be physical attacks. Sometimes they are attacked on Twitter, subject to trolling on public websites. I mean have you seen the comments sections? For those who lack their voice and their strength, there still needs to be someone who takes that role. I think we are still far from a place where women can take up that role themselves entirely. So, fear not gallant men, there is still a place in the world for you.

Gallantry can also sometimes work against you. So, the role of such men has become a little different, I feel. But it has become simpler too. For men don’t need to ‘rescue’ women in the name of chivalry or gallantry. Opening doors and giving up seats is not needed. All we need men to do is the right thing. Not fight for ‘a’ woman, but rather women in general. And yes, treat them as equals (if it isn’t too much to ask!).

R says – Yes, S, men who are sensitive enough to know what the ‘right’ thing is, and be brave enough to do it, at the cost of ego, societal norms or definitions, or at the cost of being looked at as less ‘manly’ if ever.

Our alpha male needs to include women and not win over them. Our alpha male should not get intimidated by the alpha female, but have the vision to see no difference. Hence, I guess, agreeing with Karishma Mehta, a redefinition is definitely welcome!

Image Credits: Photo Nic | Unsplash

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About the Author


We are an author duo who love writing together. We have written a couple of books together, Tete a tete with R&S and Anu and Isha. read more...

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