Alpha Males: Tough Guys or Tough Guise?
In the animal kingdom the presence of an alpha male is often part of the social order. These dominant males find their rank amongst their peers through displays of physical prowess and dominance. Earning this esteemed position often affords ample opportunity to mate in a system developed to ensure only the strongest and most resilient offspring. In American society today, even the considerably less masculine men often find ways to woo a partner. Despite this occurrence, many men still find it necessary to aspire to that coveted title of alpha. More often than not, the motivation for such an aspiration has nothing to do with securing a mate or ensuring the passing of hardy genes to the next generation. Nor does it have anything to do with being a successful provider. Instead, modern American boys and men are pressured by their comrades and masculine portrayal in the media to rise to the occasion in an attempt to prove them to be masculine as opposed to relating to one another as individuals.
Little boys playing in the schoolyard may seem innocent enough, but a more thorough examination of such activity can prove otherwise. These boys often establish dominance amongst each other with rough play and sometimes even physical violence and bullying. At a young age males learn to adopt a tough guise to protect a masculine identity which may not have any relevance to their personalities. Under the influence of this pack mentality, two males coming across one another must establish who is dominant and who is submissive. From this point forward, the dominant party sets the tone for any future encounters between the two. This entire act is only set in place to protect an idea of what a man should be, often in place of more truly desirable characteristics.
Adult men in many cases are not immune to the vision of what it means to be a man. There is a constant of comparison of masculine ideals perceived in others as well as in the...
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