Friday, December 17, 2004

Changing Perceptions - Alpha Male or Bully

This is a subject that has been gnawing at my subconscious off and on for a while, and it's begun nagging at me again. Digby's post on Evolutionary Theology started the flow of neurons in my brain twitching. Davidson Loehr's article The Fundamentalist Agenda is the basis for his post. The following was the trigger for my mental discomfort:

The only way all fundamentalisms can have the same agenda is if the agenda preceded all the religions. And it did. Fundamentalist behaviors are familiar because we've all seen them so many times. These men are acting the role of “alpha males” who define the boundaries of their group's territory and the norms and behaviors that define members of their in-group. These are the behaviors of territorial species in which males are stronger than females. In biological terms, these are the characteristic behaviors of sexually dimorphous territorial animals. Males set and enforce the rules, females obey the males and raise the children; there is a clear separation between the in-group and the out-group. The in-group is protected; outsiders are expelled or fought.

My first reaction when I read that was "Alpha males, my ass!", and pictures of Bush looking oh so manly popped into my mind. (So ok, it did turn out that the photo was helped along, it's still funny, and it's not like there's a shortage of genuine photos of the shrub in goofy, less than "manly" poses.) Anyway, in the last week or so, I've heard more people talk about "Alpha Males" this or that, and they are usually describing schoolyard bully behavior.

As a female it would seem to me that an "Alpha Male" is a man who is a leader, who can inspire people of both genders to follow him because of his ideas, intelligence, strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, ect. An "Alpha Male" is also very sexually attractive to women. Is there anyone who would describe the current crop of "mouthy males" as alpha? Repulsive. That's what comes to mind. Bushs' "leadership" is dependent on a carefully managed image, which falls badly apart when he is left to his own devices. If I were to compare the Bushistas to any animal group, it would be a pack of hyenas - they run and hunt in packs, demand loyalty but are quite willing to turn on their own for profit, are gluttonous, and kill for the fun of it.

Just for fun here's a test for you, Are YOU the Alpha Male?

Since I only watch TV on the rare occasion my question is, has there been a "push" on redefining bullying behavior as being "alpha male" or manly?

Update: Bush may not be an "Alpha Male", but he does have Big Balls, and on that note, I'll leave you with a little AC/DC:

I'm rather upper class high society
God's gift to ballroom notoriety
I always fill my ballroom
The event is never small
The social pages say I've got
The biggest balls of all