This piece was first published on May 25, 2014. It was a popular post, with 2,000 Facebook shares.
Something terrible happened.
I’m always worried writing about this stuff. Will you think I’m fishing for clicks? Whether it’s about the Boston Marathon bombing, body shaming or equal rights, I’ve written about all of it and people tell me I told it well.
But you have to know that I pause and think hard each time I do this, wondering if I really should add my voice to the cacophony, because I worry that I’m not going to get it right. All, I can do is speak from the heart, cross my fingers, and hope it resonates. Here we go.
Enough with the alpha male bullshit.
Enough with entitlement. Enough with pick-up artists. And enough with the goddamn men’s rights activism.
That’s one helluva hornet’s nest to poke, but it’s time. I’ve had a bug up my ass for all of this crap for a long time, but the tragic murder of six people by an obviously mentally ill person is my impetus to lay it bare.
The guy was a 22-year-old from a successful family, but he proclaimed to be a virgin who had never even kissed a girl. Perhaps this was the case because he indeed was mentally unbalanced, and giving off sociopathic signals. A lot of women can tell when a guy has the Helter Skelter vibe, and they run in the other direction, fancy car or no.
Excuse me while I invent a new acronym. I’m going to call it the YCC, which stands for Y Chromosome Community. Although I’m going to break down it’s individual components, whenever I refer to these components as a whole, I’ll call it the YCC.
No, the YCC did not force Elliot Rodger to murder six people, but they gave him an outlet for his delusions, hate and entitlement to fester. Elliot needed psychiatric help, not reinforcement that women are sluts and bitches and targets and conquests and notches on bedposts. And feminists are just a bunch of man-hating whores and you should just go out and take what you deserve in this life. Take it back because those damn feminists have taken it all away from you. Those bitches.
But surely I’m just painting an entire community with broad and negative brush, aren’t I? Well, yes, but the YCC has such an evil, toxic component to it that any merits it may have make the entire schema unworthy of existence in a civilized society that values equality and diversity.
Before I get into this, I want you to know that this isn’t just me ragging on stuff. For the male reader, I am going to give you real advice towards the end on what I think you should do instead of being part of the YCC.
But first, let’s tear some things down.
Deconstructing the Alpha
This isn’t so much a community as it is a marketing gimmick. It’s a bullshit title used to sell books and programs.
These books seek to “redefine what it really means to be an alpha male.” Really, it’s not just a bunch of cock-sure, arrogant and self-entitled assholes. It’s a gentleman. A leader. A strong and worthy man blah, blah, blah. They’re putting lipstick on a pig, trying to convince you that you’re either the leader of the pack, or you’re a beta who won’t get what you deserve in this life, and they pretty it up with all kinds of nice-sounding terminology and definitions, but at its core the idea of being an alpha male is bogus.
It’s built around the myth of the alpha male wolf, which is allegedly the strongest, most dominant member of the pack. He is the leader, the one who gets all the bitches (literally) and keeps the other males in their place. Or something.
But it’s based on bad science. Disregarding the fact that human males shouldn’t be attempting to model the behavior of what goes on in the animal kingdom in the first place, this isn’t what goes on in the animal kingdom. The whole concept of their being an alpha male leader of the wolf pack who fought his way to dominance has been debunked.
Alpha is a marketing gimmick, and it’s a not a good mindset to be going through life with.
The entire concept is built around dominance over others. Again, they can put lipstick on the pig and call it something else, but people have a tendency to simplify things, and if you’re thinking you have to “be more alpha,” then you’re doing it wrong because your personality becomes warped with the concept that you’re supposed to be running the show, and everyone else on Earth is here to be servile to your awesomeness, men and women both.
Life doesn’t work that way. It’s far more complex than just “me alpha, you beta.”
Here’s a story.
Years ago I was invited to one of those male bonding type parties were we watched Schwarzenegger movies, drank copious amounts of barley-based beverages and consumed a month’s worth of artery-clogging calories. Plus some other stuff.
I was about four beers in when an impromptu bench press contest took place. The host had one of those crappy old hardware store bench press setups with a 15-lb bar. Not a proper 45-lb Olympic bar, but a skinny one that we so overloaded I was worried it would snap. Long story short, no one could lift more than 225. Except for me, who bench 275, twice, to chants of “James! James! James!”
And I ruled as alpha male over that party for the rest of the day, secure in my status as the strongest man in the room.
HA! What a pantload.
Later, we played football in the snow, and I sucked. Then we had a chin-up contest and I came in third. That evening, a poker game started, and I didn’t even play because I knew I’d lose every dime. There was no alpha. There was a bunch of guys of diverse talents hanging out and having a good time together.
Diversity. Men and women are diverse creatures with diverse talents and abilities and attractiveness and financial resources and status. It can’t be simplified down to alpha and beta. Overall, we’re more cooperative and community-oriented than not. That’s how we’ve succeeded as a species: by working together as a team.
The whole concept of alpha maleness is toxic, and prevents you from focusing on the real path to self-improvement. Life is not about dominance, but about seeking achievement based on your own terms and what is really important to you. It’s about staying true to your own self, all while seeking to improve. Don’t let someone preaching “be more alpha” strip away your real personality. Don’t sacrifice who you are at your core in order to fulfill some foolish fantasy of what it means to be a man.
I am good at writing, fitness, being a husband and a dad. There are people who admire me for these qualities I have worked hard to develop. I suck at technology, sports, anything mechanical, fashion … it’s a long list of things I’m terrible at, and yet I admire others who are good at them.
I have to pay someone to change the oil in my car because I don’t know how. Does this make me beta? Probably. My dad built his own house and lives a far more rugged lifestyle than most men can imagine, and yet he doesn’t have much money and sure doesn’t wear fancy clothes. Is he alpha or beta?
And somewhere, there is some nerdy little guy who has never lifted a weight in his life or excelled in any sport, and who spends his time staring into a microscope because he’s working on a cure for a terrible disease. And maybe there is a woman who loves him for his genius and his dedication to his work. Is he an alpha, or a beta? This geeky scientist could end up doing more for the betterment of humanity than any football player, rock star or actor.
Do you now see how ridiculous this alpha male concept is?
This will be quick.
It’s another myth designed to separate you from your money. It’s a scam that there are tips and tricks you can learn to con your way into a woman’s pants. It tries to sell you on the concept that many women is better than one, and that you can get more sex by being the alpha male that bangs all the hotties (no one below a “7” – leave those skanks for the betas).
Again, it’s about women as targets for you to shoot at with your penis. It’s not a healthy mindset, and women can pick up on that vibe and most will reject any member of the YCC who gives it off. To find a woman who is worthy of you, you need to be your genuine self. The whole concept of the pick-up artist is about killing who you really are and replacing it with some peacocking bullshit.
More on a viable alternative to the PUA approach later.
Men’s Rights Activists
Never debate one of these guys. It’s like trying to convince a young earth creationist with carbon dating evidence and the fossil record that the planet really is more than 6,000 years old. They won’t listen to reason.
“I still haven’t met a feminist that didn’t hate men.”
A self-professed men’s rights activist wrote that on Facebook last night, and I called him out on it, trying to convince him it was a misogynistic statement, and he could not see the error of his proclamation. He dug deeper, feeling the poor, unfortunate, persecuted male.
And this is the biggest crock of shit in the YCC.
An MRA is like a guy who got a waffle cone with three scoops of ice cream: peanut-butter chocolate, Oreo, and cookie dough flavors. And yet, he complains because someone left off the chocolate sprinkles. An MRA is a like a multi-millionaire who whines that a tax loophole was closed and he’s going to lose 0.5% of his annual income.
These guys believe that the traditionally oppressed groups have somehow seized control and taken away all of their white male privilege. Often the leaders are men who feel as though they got screwed in a divorce. They quote all sorts of statistics about child custody and unfair alimony payments, because no single mother ever had to make the decision about feeding the kids or paying the rent.
They’ll talk about how men get raped too, and how men are abused in relationships too, and how there really is no glass ceiling or pay inequality, and that bitch got my promotion just because she has a uterus.
They’re the mythically oppressed white males, and women stole everything that it means to be a man. In reality, it’s a thinly veiled hate group based around delusional thinking. A fair bit of it seems to be based around having to pay child support.
But it has grown beyond that into “women are trying to keep us down, usurp all our power, taking away what it means to be a man.” In the old days, being a man meant having the privilege of beating and raping your wife with impunity. Taking away that privilege is a good thing. Putting rapists in prison is a good thing. Preventing rape in the first place is an even better thing, and to do that, we need to talk about it. We need to let people know that it is NOT okay!
Men, especially white men, still hold many of the cards. They’re saying the system has skewed in the female’s favor, and they’re now the ones being oppressed, and they’re pissed. They preach equality, asserting their “rights,” but equality is the last thing they want. If they achieved equality that triple scoop waffle cone rapidly becomes a single scoop of vanilla in a regular cone.
There is WAY more to what’s wrong with MRAs than that, but I’m going to stop here.
Are there some problems with specific instances of inequality? Yes. Is there some anti-male sentiment out there? Yeah, that happens too. Sometimes, we white guys don’t get our chocolate sprinkles, and in such instances there can be legitimate complaints put forth on specific issues, but overall, MRA is another toxic movement that just needs to die.
And how it dies is by convincing you not to be a part of it. It’s wrapped up in so much whining negativity and combativeness that it’s not going to help any man improve his life or his ability to get laid.
Wait, what’s this about getting laid?
I want to help you get laid.
I mean, why the hell not? Sex is awesome. If more people were having wonderful, consensual sex the world would be a better place. The YCC isn’t going to help you be a better man. It isn’t going to help you be happier. It isn’t going to help you get laid.
What will? Well, I’ve already written a bunch of stuff on that, and I’ll link to it in a moment. I mean, SixPackAbs.com isn’t just about abs. That would be terribly shallow. It’s a metaphor for kicking ass at life, life on your own terms.
As a heterosexual male, on this subject I can only write what I know, so please understand that this is not meant to exclude any sexual preferences. Whatever is legal and consensual and makes you happy, you go.
Life isn’t fair. Life is NOT fair.
Women will judge you. Some will judge you based on your appearance, your height, your width, you penis size, your wealth, your car, your clothes, your acne … they will judge you the exact same way you judge them.
No one owes you anything. You’re not born into this world entitled to vaginal access. You have to earn it through hard work of becoming a man worthy of a woman wanting to take her clothes off in your presence.
And here is the “Well, duh!” If you’re not granted vaginal access, you don’t get to rape them, and you don’t get to murder them. They’re not bitches. They’re not skanks. They’re not sluts. They’re just not interested.
They are just not interested. Get over it, and get better, and perhaps one day someone will become interested.
You can’t improve your height, but you can improve in other ways. You can’t change your penis size, but you can change your technique. You can’t do much about the shape of your face, but you can alter the shape of your physique.
You can’t become some bullshit concept of an alpha male, but you can work on you. You can find out what your DNA is all about, take what’s encoded into those genes, and work with the best aspects of it to create something unique, something worthy, something that’s awesome in a certain way. It’s not about who can lift the most, have the most shredded abs, the most money, the fanciest car, the loudest voice or the largest member.
Nice guys don’t finish last. Yes, sometimes some women can be attracted to the “bad boy,” but the reality is that what they’re (sometimes) attracted to isn’t the bad aspect, but the confident one. It’s not “I am confident I can get into your pants.” It is more “I am confident in who I am and what I am doing with my life.”
This whole post so far has been about not going to the dark side. It’s about not falling for the false promises of the YCC and getting sucked into misogyny and hate and entitlement. If you want to have a good life, you need to be a good man.
There is merit in questing for being good at something worthwhile. Take your innate talents, and go on a quest. Work, dammit! Work hard. Seek help. Seek the advice of those who have been there and succeeded. Log the hours and adapt and strive and learn and work some more. Well-targeted and properly planned persistence fueled by passion can take you a long way, and people will notice. Some women will notice. Perhaps the right woman will notice.
This is a long post, but there is more. Are you having trouble with confidence and getting laid? I have some advice on that. He’s some additional reading:
How to find (and keep) a girlfriend. This is an even longer read, but it tells you most of what I know on the subject.
Will six-pack abs get you laid? Short answer: No, not directly, but the pursuit of abs just might.
How to build your confidence. It’s a sexy trait, don’t ya know?
This piece began with discussion of a tragedy, so let’s circle back to that.
Yes, Elliot Rodger was almost certainly mentally ill, but he might not have committed such a heinous crime had he not been sucked into the YCC community. The world is changing, and what it means to human is changing along with it, regardless of gender. You can’t pine for what people mistakenly believed were the good old days, but instead you can adapt and grow, and move into the future, confident, unafraid, and awesome.
Go forth and be yourself. Go forth and be awesome. Go forth, and be your own awesome self, and you will be just fine.
James S. Fell, CSCS, is an internationally syndicated fitness columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and AskMen.com. He is the author of Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind, published by Random House Canada.