The Alpha Male Grifters and What Women Want More
About two years ago, I had a stroke. Since then, I have had plenty of time to do lots of self-reflection and evaluate what my future might look like. Some days, this is overwhelming because I am forced to think about everything I can and can’t do. It’s exciting to think about what I can accomplish, but sometimes, thinking of how many things aren’t an option is gut-wrenching.
I have always been a positive thinker and determined to overcome obstacles. My family was somewhat poor growing up; among other things, I was and am VERY near-sighted. I received tuition assistance for tech school because of my vision. I was only 150 pounds when I participated in high school athletics, but I didn’t let that stop me from being the starting fullback for three years.
Another part of my story as a man is that I was raised in a fundamentalist, evangelical world where toxic masculinity and legalistic Christianity collided. The private Christian School I attended in junior high was connected to a church that entertained evangelists like Jack Hyles and followed people like Lester Roloff and Bill Gothard.
It would be about 40-something years before I deconstructed out of these systems. During those decades, I was greatly influenced by men like John Eldridge, not to mention Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and the Duck Dynasty characters. I now realize these men are grifters who realize men have something primal in them that is left over from their evolution. The men who followed these guys are vulnerable and have a root-brain inclination to be alpha males.
The trouble with this line of thinking is that most other animals also feel this need to respond to crisis and to live their lives in this crisis mode of imagining a demon around every corner and a predator just waiting to attack their family. This thinking doesn’t consider that the rare occasion that that type of man would be required is rare, and it’s most likely another alpha male with low self-esteem like themselves that is threatening them. Since they are mostly Christian, they should remember that Jesus was not an alpha male and used his higher brain to imagine better ways of dealing with the world’s dangers by offering an alternative solution.
Like anything, it’s about fear and control. These men haven’t realized yet that we never really control the world, and our fear is motivating us, not the wisest part of ourselves. We may have needed that approach when living in caves and dealing with wild animals directly, but not now. The men that peddle fear are usually selling something else, like the $18,000 Alpha Male boot camps that are becoming popular and the NRA narrative, supported by gun manufacturers.
I believe in a good military and a reasonable police presence for defense, but I honestly have never met anyone that was attacked and raped in their own homes or churches except for those that were assaulted by someone that was already there. It is common, when we listen to survivor stories, to hear about trusted family and church members who took advantage of them. We have great imaginations that we often use unwisely. I own an effective self-protection device, and my dog never leaves my side when I’m at home, but it’s very important to know when preachers and other grifters have conned you.
I have spent my life trying to understand women, and I’m still way behind the curve. But after listening to about 300 stories of people’s journeys, the women hardly ever said, “What I want is a big, strong alpha male.” It’s like a man wanting to marry a supermodel—that attraction will lose intensity quickly. It may be a part of our animalistic DNA, but that root desire doesn’t have much to do with normal life. It’s dysfunctional to make those physical tendencies the main focus.
We have been taping interviews for our latest Leaning Forward conference, powered solely by women’s voices. The main injunction by women in these talks has not been that they want more manly, alpha males. What they say they want more than anything is for the patriarchy to come down and for men to listen to them. If some of these grifters would study our problems, they would realize we don’t need more warriors because we have enough fights going on already. What we need is for men to listen well.
I am intentionally not discussing queer men because I am not one. Maybe someone in that community could give their side to this, but I recognize my ignorance, and I will stay committed to hearing their stories until I understand better. Oddly enough, that is the advice I would give to men. Be quiet and listen to the survivor stories of women until you understand better. Stop interrupting and mansplaining to them because of what another man with self-esteem issues told you. Just be quiet and listen.
Think about what it would be like to have a health event. One day, you’re in relatively good health, and you can go to alpha male boot camps and have an active life where you respond to all your fearful inclinations. Then, one day, you have a heart attack or stroke or some other type of debilitating injury.
How would you process that?
- Is there more to life than being able to conquer other human beings physically?
- Did we evolve by becoming physically stronger or by something else?
- Do women have something vital to teach us that groups like the patriarchy have squelched in the past?
- Are you brave enough to listen to 100 women’s survivor stories once they are outside of oppressive control systems?
When people learn that I have had a stroke, I often say, “I don’t recommend it,” but in some ways, I do. The reality of my health event is that it stripped away much of my alpha maleness and allowed me to genuinely break free of the grifters and those who wanted to instill fear so they could sell me something. I am now painstakingly learning to listen better and hear what women are trying to tell me. I am also learning in the same way from the queer community, the black community, and many other abuse survivors.
Notice how the current leaders of these alpha male experiences are often grifters from the past who are just trying out a new approach. When they hit a nerve and start making sales, they milk it for all its worth until it stops working, and then they try a new approach. It’s nothing but a con job that takes advantage of vulnerable men.
Men and women of all persuasions, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and backgrounds need each other. We have a deep need for connection, and there are unending ways that we can help and support each other. But we can’t afford more knuckle-dragging, testosterone-induced approaches to moving forward.
Go inside and discover who you are. Turn down the hucksters’ voices that tell you what to fear and how to control it. Then, learn to listen to survivors and believe THEM!
Be where you are, be who you are, be at peace,