I’m not a natural alpha. I don’t like to be in charge. Although I can do it if the need arises – if there’s nobody around better suited than me, in an emergency, whatever –  I find being in charge stressful, unpleasant, and ultimately unrewarding. Once I’ve done whatever needed doing, I’m not buzzing with my newly-found power, or seeking a way to maintain it; I can’t wait for someone else to take up the reins, so I can get back to what I’m good at.

My sweet spot, my happy place, is being second-in-command / executive officer / sidekick to a competent, confident leader. I’m a bloody good personal assistant, if I say so myself. I get stuff done. I am both happy and successful at project management. I quite simply don’t want to manage the whole tribe / group / team. I’ve discovered this through working in a variety of positions in a number of groups. I tried it, and as I neither enjoy being pack leader nor am good at it, I avoid it. This doesn’t make me feel frustrated or repressed.

I’m happy being a beta. The amount of stupid that gets thrown my way every time I state that is staggering.

“But you’re an independent person!”

Yes, I am. Not being alpha doesn’t mean you’re a drooling halfwit, incapable of making decisions for yourself or managing your own life. It just means that in a group situation you don’t naturally gravitate towards the leading position.

“So you like to be bossed around?”

No. I enjoy supporting “a competent and confident leader”. Someone who resorts to bossing people around is, to me, neither.

“But you’re a good manager!”

Yes, I am, but I am shit at leading – and if don’t know the difference between the two, you probably are, too.

“What if they are shit leaders? What if they insist that you to do the wrong things?”

Then they’re not leaders at all. At the most/worst, they are managers; bureaucracies and artificial hierarchies will do that to you.

“So you like a man in charge, hey? I’ve got something for you, har har har.”

No. I like to be under the leadership of a confident, competent leader. That implies qualities like “respect” and “maturity”. So, you’re obviously excluded. Move along.

“It’s not natural for anyone not to aspire to being an alpha!”

Now, aside from the fact that we’re already being goosey loosey with factoids (we’ve stolen the whole “alpha” thing from captive wolves; much of that research has been found not to apply to wolves in the wild; and we’re not even canids), think about the inherent stupidity of that statement. If it was unnatural for some individuals of a pack to be non-alphas, there wouldn’t be functional packs. There’d just be a lot of alphas, doing it for themselves, or a constant dog-fight for dominance.

“A truly functional group shouldn’t have a leader, anyway. You’re enabling a dysfunction.”

Have you ever actually done project management by committee? You generally achieve half as much in twice the time, and often grow an ulcer in the process. Now, if your goal is to go through the process, go for it. I generally only work with people when I have a need to achieve a practical result, and I want to get there with maximum efficiency and minimum effort.

“Anyone who aspires to be in charge is inherently evil and controlling!”

Possibly. Those who seek power are often not very nice, which is why they have to seek it. Nobody’s bloody giving it to them, because people often sense that they would make poor leaders. Their motivations just aren’t what they ought to be. There are also plenty of not-good-enough people, lacking competence or confidence, who constantly power-play to get in charge, for similar reasons. I don’t want to be one of them.

Natural leaders don’t have to force or manipulate people in order to gain power; they just have to be who they are and do what they do, and people tend to naturally defer to them. And this does not describe me.

“Is it just because you’re small / a woman / foreign / improperly brought up / whatever?”

I don’t know. I have no means of knowing; nature vs nurture studies on an individual are inherently impossible. Given that no part of this is a problem for me, however, I don’t feel I need to find an explanation or solution.

This seems to be a problem for you, though, so maybe you’re the one who ought to do some soul-searching.

“If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes!”

Have you tried backing the fuck up and looking around, instead of trying to crawl up your leader’s asshole?

“I wasn’t speaking literally!”

Neither was I.

“You want a return to the patriarchy! You’re internalising misogyny!”

Eh? Which part of anything I have said, ever, suggests that the leader must be male?

“Well, it goes without saying that you’re looking to submit to a dominant male.”

…and I am the one internalising misogyny?

“The Sisterhood fought and bled to give you the opportunity to take charge, and you’re pissing all over it!”

I believe the Sisterhood fought for equal opportunities, to enable women to achieve what they wanted to achieve, to self-actualise, not to be limited by artificial gender constructs. The person I want to be right here and now is a beta. If that changes, I’ll do something else, and god help those who try and stop me.

“You’re giving a terrible example to the Women of Today!”

  1. I don’t remember signing any contract stating that I’d “be a good example”. Was it in the small print somewhere?

  2. I love corrupting the young:

Women of Today! Aspire to gain that position in life that fills you with joy, purpose, and contentment, whatever that position may be! Aim to be happy and satisfied! If someone tries to stereotype you or restrict you because of your gender, tell them to fuck right off!

…that ought to do it.

“That’s not the point! A liberated woman should aspire to be…”

So you’re telling me that in order to be liberated, women should aspire to meet fixed criteria, whether they suit them or not? That unless they embrace those criteria, they are doing “liberation” wrong? And that’s infinitely better than being under the heel of the Patriarchy, because…?

Have you in fact checked the definition of “liberated”?

“This is all about sex!”

It very well might be, if I worked in the sex industry or only interacted with other humans in order to fuck them. Do you?

“You just need to learn to be assertive!”

Please re-read any of the above statements, ideally on your way out.


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