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Yo, dudes: Alpha males are a myth, according to actual experts on wolves

Manosphere misogynists like to tell themselves fairy tales about women. Their favorite such tale, repeated endlessly, is one called “The Cock Carousel” – sometimes referred to in expanded form as the “Alpha Asshole Cock Carousel” or the “Bad Boy Cock Carousel.” (Hence that Rooster-riding gal you see in this blog’s header about half the time.)

Despite the different names, the story is always, monotonously, the same: In their late teens and twenties, when they’re at the height of their sexual appeal, women (or at least the overwhelming majority of them) have sex in rapid succession with an assortment of charismatic but unreliable alpha males and “bad boys” who make their vaginas (or just ‘ginas) tingle. Then, sometime in their mid-to-late twenties, these women “hit the wall,” with their so-called sexual market value (or SMV) dropping faster than Facebook’s stock price. As Roissy/Heartiste puts it, in his typically overheated prose:

So sad, so tragic, the inevitable slide into sexual worthlessness that accompanies women, the withering tick tock of the cosmic clock stripping their beauty in flayed bits of soulletting mignons like psychological ling chi. A sadistic thief in the night etching, billowing, draping and sagging a new affront to her most preciously guarded asset.

While many women try to pretend they’ve still “got it,” even at the ripe old age of thirty, they inevitably have to either get off or get thrown off the “cock carousel.” At this point the more savvy women glom onto some convenient “beta male” who, while somewhat lacking in sexual appeal, will at least be a good husband and provider for them – and in many cases the children they’ve had with alpha male seed. Those women who don’t accept the new reality are destined to end up alone and childless, surrounded by cats.

To borrow the phrase South Park used in its episodes about Scientology and Mormonism, this is what manosphere men actually believe. Not only that, but they claim that this fairy tale is based on real science.

So who are these mysterious alpha males that get the women so excited? As one guide to pickup artist (PUA) lingo puts it:

In animal hierarchies, the Alpha Male is the most dominant, and typically the physically strongest member of the group. For example, in wolf packs, the “alpha wolf” is the strongest member of the pack, and is the leader of the group. This position of leadership is often achieved by killing or defeating the previous Alpha Male in combat. Alpha wolves have first access to food as well as mating privileges with the females of the pack.

Social status among human social groups is less rigidly defined than in the animal kingdom, but there are some recognizable parallels. Although people don’t often engage in physical violence to achieve dominance, there are still recognizable leaders in different fields who have wide access to material resources and women.

Because the qualities of the Alpha Male (such as social dominance and leadership) are attractive to women, many PUAs have adopted these ideals as models of emulation. In fact, the term “alpha” has come be shorthand for the qualities of an attractive man, and it is a common refrain among PUAs to be “more alpha” or to “out alpha” competitors.

There’s a certain logic to all this. But unfortunately for the PUAs and other manospherians the notion of the Alpha male is based on bad science. The notion of Alpha dominance, as the definition above notes, came originally from studies of wolf packs. Even if we assume that wolf behavior is somehow a good model upon which to base our understanding of human romance  – as manosphere men and evolutionary psychologists tend to do – the science behind the Alpha male wolf has now come completely undone, with many of those who promulgated the theory in the first place decades ago now explicitly repudiating it.

The problem, you see, is that the studies underlying the notion of the alpha male wolf, who aggressively asserts his dominance over beta males in order to rule the pack, were all based on observations of wolves in captivity. In the real world, wolf packs don’t work that way at all. Most wolf packs are basically wolf families, with a breeding pair and their pups. When male pups reach adulthood, they don’t fight their fathers for dominance — they go out and start their own families.

As noted wolf behavior expert L. David Mech, one of those who helped to establish and popularize the notion of the alpha wolf in the first place, explains on his website:

The concept of the alpha wolf is well ingrained in the popular wolf literature at least partly because of my book “The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species,” written in 1968, published in 1970, republished in paperback in 1981, and currently still in print, despite my numerous pleas to the publisher to stop publishing it. Although most of the book’s info is still accurate, much is outdated. We have learned more about wolves in the last 40 years then in all of previous history.

One of the outdated pieces of information is the concept of the alpha wolf. “Alpha” implies competing with others and becoming top dog by winning a contest or battle. However, most wolves who lead packs achieved their position simply by mating and producing pups, which then became their pack. In other words they are merely breeders, or parents, and that’s all we call them today, the “breeding male,” “breeding female,” or “male parent,” “female parent,” or the “adult male” or “adult female.” In the rare packs that include more than one breeding animal, the “dominant breeder” can be called that, and any breeding daughter can be called a “subordinate breeder.”

So the dominant male wolves – those whom manosphere dudes would still call the alphas – achieve this position not by being sexy badasses but simply by siring and taking responsibility for pups. To use the terminology in the manner of manosphere dudes, alphas become alphas by acting like betas. That’s right: alphas are betas. (For more of the details, see this paper by Mech; it’s in pdf form.)

Also, they’re wolves and not humans, but that’s a whole other kettle of anthropomorphized fish.

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blitzgal
8 years ago

Oh look, Joe, wolves have a MAN TAX. Bwahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!

leftwingfox
8 years ago

Horrible people are horribly inconsistent to keep their horribleness consistent.

Semi-related, what the hell is wrong with that poor wolf?! D: It looks like a taxidermist made a bad muppet!

blitzgal
8 years ago

Also, to the notion that females are more likely to want to have sex with a male who is not a complete bastard and probably going to stick around if there are offspring that result…um DUH!

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

The PUAs will hand-wave this away by saying that IN A BAR=in captivity.

MollyRen (@MollyRen)
8 years ago

Semi-related, what the hell is wrong with that poor wolf?! D: It looks like a taxidermist made a bad muppet!

Seconded. That wolf will haunt my dreams.

Sharculese
8 years ago

puas are dumb and dont know things? who would have guessed?

Sharculese
8 years ago

So sad, so tragic, the inevitable slide into sexual worthlessness that accompanies women, the withering tick tock of the cosmic clock stripping their beauty in flayed bits of soulletting mignons like psychological ling chi. A sadistic thief in the night etching, billowing, draping and sagging a new affront to her most preciously guarded asset.

every sentence is worse than the one before it

roissy is worse writer than fucking mikey

Graham
8 years ago

Not just bars. In the Matriarchal Gynocratic Clitatorship men are slaves. Checkmate, manginas.

pimpleybum
pimpleybum
8 years ago

5 minutes on wikipedia is enough to debunk their alpha horseshit. The article on wolves is pretty cut and dried.

But hey, we’re apes, not canines. You’d think they would have noticed that.

garvan
garvan
8 years ago

“The PUAs will hand-wave this away by saying that IN A BAR=in captivity.”

Uh… no.

But they could motion that modern society is a form of captivity created from human social constructs that are used to domesticate masculinity.

Get with the program.

The study just ends up proving “alpha” all over.

To breed and pass on one’s genes, and to lead the pack = Alpha

dominant breeder still is an alpha.
the other wolves that aren’t breeders are beta

The only thing this article does is redefine the terms used by one group to make them more palatable for the SWPLs to feel like they’ve made a point.

But hey, it’s not like the first time feminists redefined the meaning of words to try to legitimize their own ideology of hate.

Jodi
Jodi
8 years ago

They have to devalue women in their own minds to make themselves feel better, I guess.

My own experience has been that people who genuinely like and enjoy other people don’t have problems finding partners and/or mates if they are so inclined, regardless of any other factor.

Drashizu
8 years ago

I think this is my first time posting on this site. I’ve been lurking for several weeks, and I just want to say that I’m loving it. David, your sarcasm towards the douchenozzles who actually think like this (let alone document their thoughts for posterity in what is -truly- “soulletting” prose) is hilarious. I’ve also been enjoying the troll wars in the comments. I think Steele is my favorite so far.

On topic: good to know the MRAs are basing their beliefs about human nature on science that has actually been debunked. As opposed to just, you know, complete speculation.

blitzgal
8 years ago

This post tickled me so much I had to tell another co-worker about the existence of MRAs. So far, every person I’ve ever mentioned them to has had zero idea that they even exist. The reaction of every person has been laughter. Today, the co-worker I told started laughing as soon as I explained what “MRA” stands for. Her first words were, “Yeah, because men don’t run everything already.” And her next words were, “I’m going to ask [my husband] if he’s ever heard of them. He probably hasn’t.”

By the way, this woman is a conservative and not a feminist.

howardbann1ster
howardbann1ster
8 years ago

Alphas… are betas.

Mind… blown!!!

ShadetheDruid
ShadetheDruid
8 years ago

…the existence of MRAs. So far, every person I’ve ever mentioned them to has had zero idea that they even exist. The reaction of every person has been laughter. – blitzgal

Clearly this is what happened to the wolf in the picture. 😀

aworldanonymous
8 years ago

But hay, we’re apes, not canines. You’d think they would have noticed that.

Not only that but we’re apes reliant primarily on higher cognitive processes for survival rather than blind instinct.

blitzgal
8 years ago

And they haven’t all been women, either. No guys I’ve ever mentioned them to has ever heard of them, either. And they also laugh. Although I think I worked with one once. He didn’t self-identify as an MRA, but he acted exactly like them. This was before the internets brought them all together. He may be one by now, for all I know.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

MRAs are pretty ridiculous to the average person. I’ve always gotten a mixture of bafflement and hilarity when trying to explain them to normal off-line humans. 😀

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
8 years ago

Not just bars. In the Matriarchal Gynocratic Clitatorship men are slaves. Checkmate, manginas.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Checkmate? Yeah, you’ve TOTALLY shut us down. Gosh, what a masterful, debate-ending retort. I’m in awe, really.

(Although, seriously, I like “clitatorship”. I’m stealing it, and will use it for nefarious feminist purposes.)

clairedammit
clairedammit
8 years ago

Matriarchal Gynocratic Clitatorship

If you capitalize all the words, that makes it real.

MorkaisChosen
MorkaisChosen
8 years ago

Not just bars. In the Matriarchal Gynocratic Clitatorship men are slaves. Checkmate, manginas.

not sure if serious

Poe’s Law strikes again!

Falconer
Falconer
8 years ago

there are still recognizable leaders in different fields who have wide access to material resources and women.

These people think women are prizes so hard that it’s like they expect life to have Treasure Tables from which your material gains are randomly determined by the Great DM In The Sky, but that they can skew the results if they just get the right modifiers.

No wonder they call it Game.

Falconer
Falconer
8 years ago

But hey, it’s not like the first time feminists redefined the meaning of words to try to legitimize their own ideology of hate.

Next slide, please.

Next slide.

Next slide please!

Hello?

Falconer
Falconer
8 years ago

If anyone wants to pop over to Reddit with an upvote or two:

But there’s like, 144,000 subscribers on reddit!

… Wait, I forgot what my point was.

Sharculese
8 years ago

The only thing this article does is redefine the terms used by one group to make them more palatable for the SWPLs to feel like they’ve made a point.

what the article ‘does’ is update our understanding to reflect an improved understanding of how the world works. which is how science actually works outside your fantasyland bubble.

i know you dudes just want the imprimatur of science without having to do any of the hard work of understanding it, but that doesnt mean you get to act indignant when it turns out science is more complicated than the lazy gloss you put on shit.

Marianne Ibbotson
8 years ago

“The problem, you see, is that the studies underlying the notion of the alpha male wolf, who aggressively asserts his dominance over beta males in order to rule the pack, were all based on observations of wolves in captivity” – so, the real parallel between humans and wolves is that prison/captivity causes both to establish unnatural, exaggerated heirarchies of dominance?

Karalora
Karalora
8 years ago

The disdain for “‘gina tingles” always gets me. “Those rotten women, sleeping with men whom they find attractive to the point of sexual arousal!” Yeah, it’s astounding that we can live with ourselves.

PUA Lingo (@PUALingo)
8 years ago

The concept of the Alpha Wolf may be romanticized a bit, but they definitely exist in other animal species, such as Gorillas (which are closer relatives to humans). And Alpha Male Gorillas achieve their position via physical dominance, not beta supplication.

Also, there is nothing “beta” about taking on leadership responsibility or siring children (it was the norm before contraception, see Genghis Khan).

speedlines
speedlines
8 years ago

In the Matriarchal Gynocratic Clitatorship men are slaves.

Quot posting your sex fantasies here, subbie.

speedlines
speedlines
8 years ago

QUIT. Damn insomnia.

Sharculese
8 years ago

dominant breeder still is an alpha.
the other wolves that aren’t breeders are beta

pua: alphas earn the right to sire young by displaying dominance behavior
actual science: no, alphas earn the right to sire young by showing caretaker behavior
garvan: yeah, we said alphas earn the right so sire you so what’s the problem? RAAAARRGH WHY ARE YOU CHANGING WHAT WORDS MEAN YOU STUPID LIARS!!!!!!

aworldanonymous
8 years ago

@David

I noticed your post didn’t go over so well on OneY, then again, half of the time I’d count them as part of the manosphere.

Sharculese
8 years ago

shouldve used line breaks to make it more learn last line was still dumb babby pua whining

cloudiah
8 years ago

On the important topic of terrible taxidermy, I’ll just leave this here.

aworldanonymous
8 years ago

Oh, I haven’t seen this troll before, is he amusing when he rage-‘splodes?

c
c
8 years ago

and what is so bad about being single, childless and surrounded by cats ?

clairedammit
clairedammit
8 years ago

Everything I know about taxidermy, I learned from The Bloggess.

ShadetheDruid
ShadetheDruid
8 years ago

Someone needs to design a theme park based on PUAs/MRAs/MGTOWs. I mean, the Cock Carousel would be the perfect centrepiece. Not sure what else you could have though.

Tunnel of Hate?

aworldanonymous
8 years ago

@cloudiah

This: http://www.regretsy.com/2012/04/18/regretsy-math-44/

Is what I thought of when I saw the wolf in the OP.

aworldanonymous
8 years ago

Somepony needs to design a theme park based on PUAs/MRAs/MGTOWs. I mean, the Cock Carousel would be the perfect centrepiece. Not sure what else you could have though.

Various carnival games based around Pick-up artistry? The Negging booth perhaps?

clairedammit
clairedammit
8 years ago

Someone needs to design a theme park based on PUAs/MRAs/MGTOWs. I mean, the Cock Carousel would be the perfect centrepiece. Not sure what else you could have though.

Tunnel of Hate?

All I can think of is the Tilt-a-Wh***

cloudiah
8 years ago

Also, for anyone on Facebook, there is a Danish page called Dårligt udstoppede dyr (Rubbish stuffed animals?) that has particularly hilarious examples. That’s where I found my little gunslinger.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/D%C3%A5rligt-udstoppede-dyr/179465252075422

Sharculese
8 years ago

The concept of the Alpha Wolf may be romanticized a bit, but they definitely exist in other animal species, such as Gorillas (which are closer relatives to humans). And Alpha Male Gorillas achieve their position via physical dominance, not beta supplication.

well, at least all that goalpost moving is developing your upper arm strength…

cloudiah
8 years ago

House of Manginas, in which confused manginas can white knight all they like, but end up disoriented and alone instead of getting any action with the ladies.

clairedammit
clairedammit
8 years ago

physical dominance, not beta supplication

because universal laws decree these are the only two ways a male can behave

Sharculese
8 years ago

@claire

we can say whore again because tommy is on moderation for trying to circumvent the filter

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