Sunday, June 8, 2008

The New Breed: Alpha Female?

Recently I came across an interesting article pitching the idea of the “Alpha Female”. I do think from considerable reading combined with real life experiences, that women in general are more “take charge” and assertive than in times past when it comes to their professional and public lives. In some respects I think this has resulted from a basic survival need. With the pervasiveness of divorce these days, one of the largest demographic segments is the single mother. A woman who must provide for her own living, support her family (often with no assistance from the biological father), and in the meantime try to carve out some degree of happiness for herself.

It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention and I think it is an accurate observation that many women have found it necessary to re-invent themselves with respect to their role as a woman in society and as far as their interpersonal relationships. This phenomenon is not limited to only “single mothers” as the divorce rate has been spiking for at least a couple of decades now and many of the female children produced from divorced families have now grown up observing their mothers and learning the lesson that a woman does not need a man to complete her. Advances by feminists have opened doors to the extent that today more than at any previous time, there are opportunities for women to choose practically any career path hat appeals to them. Statically, it is a fact that more and more, women are waiting until later in life to choose marriage and having children as many of them choose to get their education and firmly establish themselves in their chosen careers before turning their attention to these matters. So I do think it is fair to say that perhaps there is some truth to the idea of the emerging “Alpha Female.”

On the surface this would seem a boon for submissive men. But the jury remains out on one important issue. Does the “Alpha Female” in the office and in public life translate to the “Alpha Female” in the context of female led relationships? Within the context of historical perspective, a couple of decades is little more than the proverbial blink of an eye and a large supply of women who desire and embrace the idea of filling the dominant role in the bedroom and within their romantic relationships may still be something still on the distant horizon of human experience.

It has been several years now since scientists first proposed that human beings likely possess a degree of “genetic memory” in that we unconsciously retain the conditioning effects of thousands of years of evolution of our species. One example that comes to mind is the “flight or fight” instinct which has arguably has been with us since the dawning of time when early humans faced human enemies or other predatory animals. Even though we now live in a much more civilized environment and have sadly accomplished quite efficiently the destruction of most other animals capable of challenging our supremacy at the top of the food chain, we still retain this basic instinct.

Think of the past hundreds, perhaps thousands of years of evolution during which women were conditioned to fill the submissive role in relationships, especially from a sexual perspective. I think it will take a lot of determination on the part of females to challenge this idea and escape from it for those who find themselves having the desire to live life according to a dominant female model. Previously I wrote a couple of essays examining the concept of “nice guys” and why women seem to find them less attractive as potential relationship partners. Since writing those essays I have discovered several scientific sites that seem to provide one possibility as far as an explanation. Some suggest that even now in the twenty-first century, a woman’s choice as far as a mate is still largely ruled by evolutionary conditioning based on the historical primitive primate mate selection strategy. In other words she will choose a male she perceives as the strongest genetically. Since nice guys tend to be viewed in unflattering and unappealing ways like spineless, weak, milk toast and potentially passive-aggressive, clearly they seem genetically weak and not a good bet as far as a dependable choice to ensure the survival of a woman’s offspring. Others suggest that given their conditioning, the average women to feel sexually satisfied must feel submissive to her sexual partner which is why most will choose a dominant rather than submissive male. All of this occurs not as a result of conscious but unconscious thought. The dictatorial nature of evolutionary conditioning demands this even in circumstances where a woman is not even interested in pro-creating. Still unconsciously, “survival of the offspring” has a major impact on male mate selection.

Will some women ever escape this apparent “prime directive”? Yes, I think so but when is the real question. Human beings have proven to be a very versatile and adaptable creature. Perhaps the “Alpha Female” of today will in the future develop beyond the office and public persona to the domestic front and will actively seek out men willing to submit to her dominance in all aspects of a relationship. Still despite the adaptability of the species, such a quantum leap in behavior does not occur overnight. Sadly, I have to conclude we are still a good distance away from a society pre-dominantly matriarchal.


Anonymous said...

The more things change,the more things remain the same.
Or,should I say...the more things change the faster they go backwards.
I have found more and more women are looking for RealMen as they are calling them.Dominant men,men who will take charge.

Just when the sub males think it is the perfect time for us...the game changes.

Michelle said...

As for what anonymous says, every one is looking for everything. I think that the general dissatisfaction of everyone looking for partner, be they submissive, dominant, male or female, is that too many people are searching for the ideal instead of the real. RealMen, Dominant Wymyn, True Submissives. These are all ideal standards that we measure each other against constantly. No one can fit into the cookie cutter whole that the imagination has carved out.

As for your essay, don't be too dismayed by your concept of "evolutionary conditioning". Such thing doesn't exist. Evolution works by genetic selection. In order for evolution to eliminate dominant behavior in females, it would be by nullifying the gene, ie. the dominant female would not be able to attract a mate and therefore could not breed and pass on her dominant traits. More likely, women with dominant traits learned to subvert their dominance in order to survive in culture hostile to thier natural condition. Subversion of the trait is not the same as elimination. Genetically speaking, the trait is still present in the DNA, even if not realized in the individual. It seems to me that it would just take a few years (or generations) of a society that would reward dominant behavior for the genetic traits to flourish.