Humans are not a pack of wolves and so our social hierarchy is not quite as distinct as alpha, beta, omega. There are certainly degrees of where men fall on the hierarchy scale and what determines who is in charge. In the past, during the hunter and gatherer days, this may have been determined by physical strength. In our modern world, power is often determined by socioeconomic status. In this sense, it is not enough to be aggressive and physically superior, one must posses a certain level of intelligence/education to persevere. However, men’s status still seems to be very much affected by Testosterone levels. So it seems, the modern alpha male needs to have a combination of these factors to be considered as such.
Inherent Qualities of an ALPHA MALE
high testosterone levels- linked to competitiveness and dominance in men; the need to influence and control; aggressive tendencies; the ability to dominate social situations
Education and Socioeconomic status: this will determine what the outlet will be for the high testosterone. High testosterone males tend to hold dominant social positions in prisons and mental institutions, but culture can make the difference between them leading a gang or an organization.
perseverance coupled with a me first attitude – An alpha male will not shy away from dangerous conflict, but only because he believes he can win. If the win is not possible, the alpha male is first and foremost a survivor. He does not indulge in self sacrifice or martyrdom. The ultimate goal is to dominate, as well as pass on his genes.
Below are fictional alpha males from my favorite shows, past and present. They are characterized by their professional success, social dominance, pragmatic intelligence, and aversion to monogamy.
The protagonist Don Draper (played by John Hamm), in the AMC series MAD MEN set in early 1960′s New York City, is a brilliant ad man who commands respect from men and maintains affairs in spite of his picture perfect family life.
Bill Henrickson (played buy Bill Paxton), in HBO’s BIG LOVE, is a Mormon polygamist who juggles three wifes, seven children, a home improvement store, creepy in-laws, and a gambling business.
Brian Kinney (played by Gale Harold) on Queer as Folk is the epitome of sex appeal for men and women alike on this Showtime series. He is another brilliant ad executive; Brian is confident, promiscuous, and a self made millionaire.
references for articles detailing the links between testosterone and behavior: