Of the many ‘types’ of men who exist today there is one that, at least figuratively, stands ‘above’ the rest – the ‘Alpha’ male.
Traditionally speaking, he is firmly perched atop the power hierarchy. He is portrayed as a hunter and the ultimate provider, with a superior, unquestioned, aggressively asserted dominance. Today he is represented in a not-too-dissimilar way from that of his Neanderthal ancestor, his motivations remaining the same, but the way in which they are exerted somewhat different. Instead of buffalo, he hunts ‘pussy’. His girth is immeasurable compared to mere mortals like yours or mine. His status is secured through his calculated image; from dress attire to body hair and even the orange tone of his skin. He is a superior man that stands above all others.
He is today’s answer to the more Neanderthal ALPHA.
I challenge the notion of ‘ALPHA’.
I work in an industry not only dominated by females but so disassociated from men that it wasn’t so long ago that I learnt the male counterpart even existed for the very first time. What I do does not define me – it is as much a part of me as the brown of my eyes yet is so commonly disassociated with every form of masculinity that I find myself constantly defending and reaffirming my position in said industry.
I am a male burlesque artist.
I do not hunt, I do not gather. I am not a bronzed Adonis and I do not have a bulging physique. I am none of these things yet as I stand here, now and again tomorrow, I stand as a man of strength and capability. I stand as a man with the very essence of the ‘Alpha’, as does every man, even if he isn’t generally inclined to think so. I’ve come to realise that the definition of alpha extends to not only every man but also every woman. It’s a phallic sense of strength that you either carry between your legs or your ears.
The very nature of manhood is engendered in us all from a young age. ‘Eat your vegetables so you’ll grow up to be strong,’ they say. ‘Boys, play outside because that’s where a man serves best,’ they say. ‘Study hard so you’ll get a good job,’ they say. These are things we’re all told before the age of five; we are sold the idea that to be a ‘man of all men’ is to be a tall, strong, outdoors-inclined doctor with money in the bank. What you don’t hear enough parents telling their children is – ‘Even though you’re a boy now you’ll grow to be a man, no matter what choices you make in life.’
Like many men, I was told these things growing up and so believed that to be a man was to be those things. By age 12 I had decided I would study law because there wasn’t a more respectable, or better paying, career for a man to do. I had mentally mapped out my life till retirement at age 70, but, as happens in life, you are presented with challenges and it’s through these that you learn a great deal about yourself. My greatest challenge so far is (and continues to be) myself. I had abandoned my pre-retirement plan by my mid teens as I found myself conflicted with expectations and desires.
What’s a man to do when he finds himself dreaming of haute couture and listening to Nina Simone?
As a burlesque artist, my sexuality is asserted with every gesture of my body at every degree of subtlety. My sexuality and masculinity are, in essence, part of my job, but how I choose to interpret and assert these are creatively my own – from my choice of outerwear to underwear and the transition in-between.
Contrary to popular belief, I never perform the same act twice. Whether it’s an alteration to costuming, choreography, track or even attitude, I always alter at least one aspect so as to never try and recapture something past. The one constant that remains from show to show is that when I step out, I step out as a man of capability, strength and of ‘ALPHA’ status.
At any angle, any night, I stand as an alpha male. It’s a choice I make and continue to do so, every day.
As I stand to question the essence of Alpha (capability, strength, self-awareness, sexuality, desire, etc.), I question you to make a choice. No longer stand to accept a prehistoric formula for your place on the hierarchy of power. There isn’t just capability but ‘alpha’ capability within every man & woman. It’s a state of mind; a culmination of power, prerogative and self-assertion.
Reign in your state of ALPHA and assert it with every angle of yourself.