Monday, August 27, 2012

On Those Alpha Males

The wolf ones.  The ones that the Pickup Artists tell us they emulate.  Manboobs has an interesting piece about actual wolves:

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.

Presumably the female pups leave, too, to start their own families.  Otherwise those new families couldn't be created.

I haven't yet read the actual study but I have for some time been concerned with how much of our animal research has taken place with captive animals.  For instance, the early mother-infant bonding studies were carried out with caged chimpanzees.  In a sense humans studied how chimpanzees might mother in a concentration camp.