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What does "alpha male" mean?

[ 2009-04-17 11:29]     字号 [] [] []  
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What does Reader question: What does “alpha male” mean?

My comments: Alpha being the first letter of the Greek alphabet, alpha male refer to the dominant male head of a herd of animals – in other words the king animal.

The alpha male leads the hunt for food, get to eat first and best of all owns his harems (or wives and concubines in plainer human terms)

For humans, the alpha male refers to those people who have the similar qualities. And of course, women, whose good animal instincts are less fouled up by what is called civilization, love them – sometimes against their better judgment and to their own detriment.

That is, the alpha male people are persons who are, stereotypically speaking, strong, confident, daring, adventurous and generally seem to know what they are doing, especially when it comes to relationships with the female sex. There are quite a few characters in the movies that are good examples of the alpha male. Cool Hand Luke played by the late Paul Newman is one. Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino in the Godfather III is another, along with the same Godfather figures played by Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando. And the ultimate alpha male figure is perhaps played by the very Brando in Street Car Named Desire.

What does

It’s perhaps no coincidence, either, that all these alpha male figures that come uppermost to my mind are criminal types, for I do believe there is a certain bad-boyishness about them that makes the alpha male attractive. After all, it all comes natural.

Anyways, among good guys, the alpha male reminds me of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, or Cary Grant in Notorious.

You get the picture.

In contrast to the alpha male is the beta male. Beta being the second letter in the Greek alphabet, being beta therefore means being second. Beta males are followers. They, like animals, kowtow to their leader.

Women don’t like beta males the way they are attracted to the alpha type. Beta types find a way round by being nice, courteous and helpful, buying women gifts and generally are material providers to their women but still, their women don’t love them at the gut level. Beta types are tolerated for their nicety, a quality women could not readily elicit from the alpha male.

There are few alpha males in the world, man or mammal, for obvious reasons – evolution. There are definitely a lot of beta types, and a disproportionally large portion of them seem to be in China.

Women readers laugh and, if you agree, you’re probably an alpha female, the queen. I’d say an equally disproportionally large portion of alpha females in this world is in China too (^-^).

If only to compensate for the lack of alpha males – the yin and the yang has to balance, you know.

Ah well, for better or worse.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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