Are you an alpha, beta or omega male? This is a quiz scattered around the internet from various chat rooms, to online magazines, to social media pages. These tests are typically compiled of personality questions to help you determine if you are an alpha, beta or omega male. Taken on face value, these tests seem like nothing more than a silly way to pass the time. But these tests contribute to a systematically flawed conceptualization of masculinity.
Below are three important reasons why we should abandon alpha, beta and omega categorizations.
1. These categories are broad, generalized and ambiguous
- Alpha males: Confident; sociable/talkative; born leaders.
- Beta males: Sociable; ambitious; strong-willed, but submissive enough to follow the alpha; less confident than the alpha.
- Omega males: Not sociable; sometimes thought to be socially awkward; followers with no ambition to be an alpha or beta; submissive.
These categories are umbrella terms used to describe male personalities. Personalities are complex and malleable, but this classification of men does not take this into account. By this categorization, an alpha male is confident. But what is confidence? Is alpha-male confidence arrogance or self-assurance? Does this mean that an alpha male is good at everything or does it mean that he has a strong grasp of his capabilities and ineptitude? The qualifications for being an alpha male are never expanded upon, the assumption being that if you have to ask if you are an alpha, you probably aren’t one. This condescending approach gives the alpha male characteristics a sense of exclusivity, which can lead to the development of self-degradation within men considered to be betas or omegas.
2. These categories degrade men’s view of their self-worth
As a society, we attribute confidence, sociability and leadership with the alpha male because those are qualities that we associate with success. With capitalistic notions on the rise worldwide, success is heavily predicated on economic stability and career development, both of which are linked to social and leadership skills. This is a shift from the alpha male of our predecessors, who were physically strong, aggressive and family-oriented. The problem with tying personality labels to generational trends is that trends are subjected to continuous change.
To adjust for this shift, these labels use weak circular reasoning. Notice how the descriptions of the beta and omega male are simply antithetical to the description of the alpha. This creates a labeling system where certain traits are elevated and the others are seen as undesirable or lacking. This cultivates a dynamic that generates low self-esteem and lack of confidence in men who do not feel that they possess the “correct” characteristics, instead of promoting strength and self-assurance. This approach also assumes that the characteristics of the alpha male are universally desirable to all women, which leads men to weigh their self-worth based upon female approval.
3. These categories are utterly unrealistic
Surprise, surprise – not every guy can be an alpha male. The human social structure is like a machine. A machine cannot work if it is composed of all of the same parts. That is to say, alpha, beta and omega male-personality types are necessary for the continuation of our society and should not be ranked as being attractive or unattractive.
We should stop categorizing our men and putting them in boxes. We need to develop a culture of men who are comfortable in their skin and should not degrade them for their differences.
What’s your take? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
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