I was recently accused of being something called an, “Alpha Female”. I think this was meant to be slightly insulting since it followed an exchange where I refused to blindly follow one of my friends into the wilderness of the Berkeley hills without myself also looking at the GPS map. I dislike labels, especially ones that are associated with someone essentially having a “bitchy” and “controlling” personality. But I thought I would look into this a bit more to figure out exactly how to react to this new information about myself.
Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve ever been called or referred to as an “alpha female”. Granted, I’ve been called competitive, but that is a trait, not a full-blown label. So this took me aback, a little. Thinking about it for a while made me think of all the competitive and strong women out there (a lot of them are my readers!) and whether this label is really warranted in an age where strength should be celebrated.
Alpha orders were first created in the animal kingdom–think pack of wolves. Typically when we think of the alpha order, we think of men, “Alpha Males”. However, there are matriarchal animal societies where female leaders determine rank within the community. Take the bonobos–a close cousin to the common chimpanzee. The females use their social skills to form alliances and use sexuality to leverage their power to control the males in the group. Being an alpha bonobo means you are using whatever you have to be the leader of the group–the skill set differs from individual to individual. Human alpha females are probably not much different but we get a bad reputation for being bitchy and controlling where men are seen as being strong leaders and having “swagger”.
According to the definition, “Alpha Females” are strong, assertive, dominant females. They are leaders of the pack, often possessing not only strength of character, but an uncanny ability to get what they want through their competitive nature and superior intelligence and physical abilities. They command authority, but also have the know-how to back it up. So, this got me thinking that this label wasn’t such a bad thing, so why the bad reputation? If I told you that the answer I was about to give was going to be either: a)men or b)women, who do you think I would blame this on? Like any good alpha female, I’m blaming this one on the non-alpha ladies. Beta (and probably Omega) women, YOU are the reason why the Alphas get such a bad label. This is probably due to jealousy, as is usually the case for women on women crimes (oh stop rolling your eyes, Betas). Don’t hate, celebrate, and then join forces. Take some cues from the animal kingdom here.
Alphas, make no apologies for the fact that you are kick butt women. Don’t bite your tongue when you have a brilliant idea, don’t feel bad for trusting your own instincts over those around you, don’t feel bad because men relate to you a little more than the average gal, and don’t feel bad because you’re good at what you do and aren’t afraid to make it known. And the next time someone calls you an alpha female, say thank you*
*and then challenge them to a push-up contest, or whatever.