Are you an al­pha or a beta male?

GQ (Australia) - - FRONT PAGE -


I there­fore spent my for­ma­tive years think­ing that the al­pha male was the apogee of man­hood and the kind of role model one should as­pire to. Af­ter all, he’s the guy that gets all the money, the fast cars and pretty girls – and frankly, what else is there in life aged 16? Or 66? A beta male, by con­trast, is the apol­ogy of man­hood – a sorry sec­ond-class ex­cuse of a gen­tle­man, low on ex­pec­ta­tions, en­ergy and self-es­teem. An empty ves­sel of un­ful­filled po­ten­tial, he lacks phys­i­cal pres­ence and charisma. That ain’t me. It’s not you ei­ther, right? You’d have to be a real beta male to self-iden­tify as a beta. But the more I think about it – it’s all but con­sumed me the past half hour – the more I don’t want to be an al­pha ei­ther. Not any­more, be­cause al­phas are usu­ally dicks, es­pe­cially the ones we’re sup­posed to like and/ or envy. James Bond, Gor­don Gekko, Don Draper, Chris­tian Grey – each a hero to mil­lions, but not a de­cent fa­ther, hus­band or friend among them. It seems the rules of mas­culin­ity have shifted these past 10 years and it’s left us all a bit clue­less, con­fused and un­sure of what we’re sup­posed to be do­ing – know what I mean, PM? The goal­posts we’re aim­ing for have inched at a glacial creep – at least I haven’t no­ticed a sud­den tec­tonic shift in the land­scape – but per­haps the re­cent rise of next-gen­er­a­tion fem­i­nism is re­spon­si­ble for the move­ment? Be­fore I get lynched by the dis­ci­ples of Lena Dun­ham, Germaine Greer, Emma Wat­son et al, let me be clear: this is a good thing. And I’m a fully-signedup mem­ber of the lat­ter’s #He­for­she cam­paign, as of 30 sec­onds ago. If it’s no longer ac­cept­able to be an out-and-out al­pha, who are we meant to ad­mire and hold on high? What are we sup­posed to be shoot­ing for? As men, we’re in a tricky tran­si­tional phase (though, not of the full Bruce Jen­ner kind). In re­al­ity, men don’t neatly sep­a­rate into two such dis­tinct cat­e­gories as al­phas and be­tas; there’s a spec­trum. At one ex­treme we have the al­pha-al­pha – the clas­sic ar­ro­gant and ag­gres­sive prick whose


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