Sigma Male Versus Alpha Male

Out on the fringes, far away from polite company, exists a place called the manosphere or androsphere. This is place where somewhat normal men, unconstrained by PC thought police and buttressed by behavioral science, write and talk about how to score chicks. They write about other topics, but it’s mostly about manly stuff, which biology dictates must revolve around scoring chicks. That’s biological reality.

Anyway, most of this stuff is not new or even very creative. Men have been making money “teaching” other men how to get laid for a long time, probably since the first settlement. Skin magazines like Playboy used to have regular features on how to succeed with the ladies. What is somewhat new and useful is the borrowing of behavior science, particularly of primates, and applying it to modern social dynamics.

Of particular use are the terms to describe male status within a group. Researchers who study behavior of social animals often refer to the most dominant individual as the “alpha” male.  The second most dominant is the “beta”, the third is the “gamma”, and finally the “omega” is at the bottom of the male hierarchy. The manosphere has taken these terms and created a useful set of sketches to describe modern western males.

It’s why Donald Trump is so often referred to as the alpha male in the debates or even in the campaign. Trump has all the features one would associate with the top dog in a social group. He’s loud, brash, confident and he attracts the best women. By best here I mean sexually attractive, not the ugly feminists majoring in penis chopping at Oberlin. Trump walks into a room and he’s the boss. Everyone knows it, especially the women.

Jeb Bush was quickly called a beta male by people who do not understand the lingo, but he was probably a gamma, as he had no willingness to take on the big dog. Jeb was happiest in the submissive role. That’s the thing people fail to grasp about this stuff. Beta males are not necessarily losers. They just happen to have been beaten by the winner. In a different setting, Rubio could be the top dog, but Jeb is always a submissive.

Way back when the Republican primary started, it feels like years ago now, the conventional wisdom was that the the Republicans needed their Obama. They needed a magical minority to bring them grace which in turn would bring them electoral success. ¡Jeb! Bush changed his nationality to Mexican, hoping to be the first trans-national president. Marco Rubio jumped in, figuring he ticked all the boxes to become the Republican Obama.

It did not turn out that way. The Alpha Male started talking about things of interest to the voters and he jumped up in the polls. Then he laid waste to the Bush campaign and then put down the Rubio campaign, thus leaving the hated Ted Cruz as the only alternative around which the party bosses could rally. As it stands, the only guy with a shot to stop Trump is Cruz. Instead of getting their Obama, they are now hoping to get their Clinton.

I don’t mean the lesbian grifter in the weird pantsuits. Not that Clinton. I mean Bill Clinton, the grifter from the Ozarks who enjoyed lying almost as much as he loved shagging interns. At least that’s what the grandees of the GOP are hoping people believe. In reality, they detest Cruz and are just hoping he keeps Trump from hitting 1237 delegates. Then they can dump both men at the convention and nominate invertebrate like Paul Ryan or maybe Marco Rubio.

Meanwhile, we have a month or two to watch something interesting and that is a battle between a sigma male and an alpha male. Labeling Ted Cruz a sigma male works in the context of the managerial class. There, the normal masculine traits like physical courage, aggression and risk taking are off-limits. The managerial class is a highly feminized social structure, where females can compete with men for status.

Therefore, the dominant males display credentials and positions of authority in the bureaucracy, much like some birds display their plumage to warn off other males. Bill Clinton could be the “big dog” because he held the top job in Arkansas, thus making him the alpha in any political setting. It’s why he had no interest in being a senator. Bubba always had to be the big dog in the room and you can’t do that when you’re one of 100 powerless jerk-offs in the Senate.

Cruz, in contrast, is aggressive and forceful. He likes to flash his credentials, but he has little interest into being the dominate figure. He has not problem locking horns with others, but he is not trying to climb to the top of the existing social order. Instead, his nature is to remain on the fringe, taking shots at the people in charge. He revels in being the rebellious bad boy, relative to the group, in this case it is official Washington.

This is why Trump is struggling to put Cruz away at the moment. Rubio was willing to concede defeat because he really wanted to win the top spot. Cruz instinctively does not want the top spot, therefore he has nothing to lose. Instead, he can stand out on the fringe defining himself in opposition to Trump. The Cult of Never Trump is basically for Sigma males and the women who love them.

That does not mean Trump cannot eventually crush the Cruz campaign. It just means he will have to employ different tactics. Beating Bush was simply about dominating him physically. Trump seemed to be giving Bush a wedgie in every debate. With Rubio it was just a matter of confronting him. Like I said, Rubio wanted to win and was willing to accept defeat if he was beaten so Trump just had to win.

Cruz is a different problem. Trump will need to avoid responding to Cruz. That’s the first rule of handling these guys. They want to be the guy instigating the fight on their terms. Instead, Trump should find a surrogate like Chris Christie to attack Cruz. That will let Trump focus on bigger topics that one would expect the top dog to be discussing. It also means Team Trump can focus on the weird ticks of Ted Cruz. This a proven way to unman a sigma male.

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22 Comments on "Sigma Male Versus Alpha Male"

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Did you catch Mr. Sigma’s presser with his defender Fiorina? Interesting.

Fuel Filter

Hiding behind a woman’s skirts.

Yup. Real presidential material right there.


The consensus: Helicopter Mommie defending her Little Boy in a neighborhood brouhaha he probably (sneakily) instigated.


Actually, in my experience, managers do display clear leadership qualities, including boldness and aggressiveness.


You are a really entertaining writer. This site and Belmont Club are my favorite blogs. Hands down.


Same here, those two are the best.
zman’s links- HBD Chick and Chateau Heartiste- are excellent.

The whole alpha, beta, delta, sigma thing was quite a revelation to me. I agree that Cruz would be a political sigma. He’d be more of a gamma in the more results oriented places I’ve worked. I’ve had a hard time placing myself in that continuum. I know I’m no alpha. In another framework, I know I fit into the “sheepdog” category — I’m forever fighting off the “wolves” and trying to chase the flock from point A to point B for no real reason than I seem to get a great deal of personal satisfaction from it. Alphas are… Read more »
The big mystery to me with the Rubio presidential campaign was the timing. He had to give up his Senate seat to run in 2016. He was young enough to wait until 2020 or 2024, and by that time he might have had some accomplishments. There also was the complication that Jeb Bush was running, and a presidential candidate really should be assured of carrying his home state’s primary. I suspect that the GOP establishment planned on nominating Rubio, as the GOP version of Obama, and let him know that the path would be smoothed for him. I also suspect… Read more »

“The Cult of Never Trump is basically for Sigma males and the women who love them.”
And ye shall know them by the tassels on their loafers, and the home exercise equipment holding up their clothes.


So what does that make Kasich? He keeps hanging around even further out on the fringes with absolutely zero chance of winning – but hoping the party bosses discover a way to toss him the nomination. (Or VP slot, or Cabinet post, anything really)


A Useful Idiot.


Trump seems to have the whole Alpha act down, but then the mask slips and I can’t buy it.

Alphas aren’t thin-skinned and touchy – but Trump really is. Yelling “I’ll sue you” on a regular basis is a real wimp move. Actually doing it – and constantly losing the cases is even worse.

Donald Trump “alpha male”, “sexually attractive” to women? Oh please. The only women who find this creep sexually attractive are opportunistic super models. Most women I know think the guy is a creep. And as for this alpha, sigma, beta garbage…give me a break. Donald Trump is a spoiled brat, bullying, snotty rich kid who has had everything handed to him in a silver platter from the day of his birth. He’s far from being anything resembling a real man. Maybe he’s what passes for a “real man” in cities–especially cities on the east and west coast–but I can assure… Read more »

Sigma Males are Alpha Males