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Alphas vs. Betas

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Observe a group of coworkers going out after a stressful day to grab some dinner. Watch the small group of kindergartners interact with each other as they play on the jungle gym. Analyze the quartet of careless college kids as they enjoy their free spirits. What do all of these situations have in common? Yes, they’re groups of people. And people are social creatures, which means that just like all other social animals, including the apes, hippos, and even birds, we are divided into ranks, based on where we stand in whatever group we may presently be a part of. Either we excel and dominate as alphas, or lurk in the shadows, plotting how we can go about seizing that coveted role, by assimilating into society, as betas.

The alpha always gets the girl. He is the suave “Don Juan” of media, who always seems to be the pegasus in a sea of typical land-traversing horses. Ever wonder what it was that attracted Mary Jane to Peter Parker? Certainly it wasn’t his normal, ordinary, boring personality. It wasn’t the glasses, and the geeky way he was ridiculed, for all of these are characteristics of a beta. No, it was the innate alpha in him that unleashed itself when he was reborn as Spiderman. He gained confidence and power, the two necessary components of a true alpha. Even in the third movie, when he turned evil and his cockiness became irritating, his dominant status was only reenforced. Women fawned over him, and no beta would dare stand in his way. In fact, all superheroes you’ve ever known were alphas: Superman, Aquaman, and even Batman. And where were the betas in these situations, you ask?

All sidekicks are betas. They try to the best of their ability to curry favor with the alpha of their group, with the hopes of assuming the head position at the first opportunity. Ever find it funny how common it is to see a pair of friends, who seem to be enjoying themselves, only there is an obvious difference? One is more talkative, taller, better looking, more imposing, and just shines? Maybe he’s known for condescending his “friend”, much to the amusement of others? He is the alpha. And the other one? The other one is a beta, a parasite that aspires to learn the alpha-ways and have some of this magical alpha-dust rub off on him. However, this does not happen. He will forever be the shadow of his alpha, the bothersome but necessary gear in the machine.

The alpha becomes much more prominent in group settings, where his abilities are tested. His goal is to stand out and assert his role. He accomplishes this through one of two means. He may employ humor, which if successful, will show a unanimous admiration that will certainly attract the female. The guy at the office always telling those lewd jokes in the absurdly loud voice? Yeah, that’s him. Or how about the bully, whose lunch money-stealing habits transcend childhood, and lead to a boss who singles out the underachievers simply because he can? You may be thinking “Oh no, I would never show respect for a cruel tyrant like that!” However, this assertion of power through belittlement is a very telling sign of an alpha, or at least a hopeful. The beta is the one either laughing up a storm and feeding his ego, or acquiescing and showing his subservience.

Don’t be frightened if this has led you to the revelation that you too are a beta, for I assure you all is not lost. Options do exist. March out your door, get that stylish and intimidating haircut, and finally commit to the diet you’ve put off for years. Oh yes, most certainly anyone can be an alpha if effort is put in. But if you’re happy as a beta then that’s fine too. You make up society, the majority, and are necessary for the true alpha to excel. And on the bright side, at least you’re not an omega, right?



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