We’ve come a long way since the alpha cavemen, but there are still lots of misconceptions floating around regarding beta males.
They’re often assumed to be the total opposite of the tough, hunter-gatherer alphas, but this isn’t always the case.
Our values, expectations, and behaviors have all changed hugely, especially in the last few years, and it’s about time our perspectives shifted too…
1. They Are Weak
Alpha males are supposedly the top dogs, so it’s naturally assumed that beta males must be the weaklings. Beta males are often defined as weak and passive, but this simply isn’t true.
The social definition of ‘strong’ seems to have changed a lot, and is no longer just related to physical strength and machoism! Hitting the gym is great for your health, sure, but there are many ways for a man to be strong.
These days, strength tends to refer to a mental and emotional state as much as anything else – our awareness and understanding of mental health has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years.
Beta males might not always be the tight t-shirt, oiled-up ‘lads,’ but they are likely to have mental strength and self-awareness. Being strong can refer to resilience, ambition, and endurance, which are all positive personality traits.
Sensitivity is something that is now respected in others, and rightly so. Being in touch with your emotions and not being selfish and headstrong is definitely a desirable trait in a friend, employee, or colleague.
It’s no longer all about brawn, it’s about compassion and emotional strength, which are traits often found in beta males. Take note: living in the gym is no longer the only way to prove your strength.
2. They Are Lacking In Confidence
Confidence is something that comes in many forms, and isn’t always instantly noticeable. It’s for this reason that many beta males are dismissed as being shy or lacking in confidence.
Alpha males tend to exhibit ‘peacocking’ behavior as a sign of their confidence, so there’s an association that confidence only comes in the form of being loud and outgoing.
Beta males can be withdrawn in the sense of being quiet and avoiding being the center of attention, but this doesn’t always equate to a lack of confidence.
Sometimes, being confident means having faith in your decisions, actively choosing to avoid the limelight, and being comfortable enough in yourself to spend time alone.
Beta males will often do just these things, and they’ll be misconstrued as signs of being shy or introverted.
3. They Are Feminine
If alpha males are the definition of the word ‘masculine,’ beta males must be ‘feminine,’ right?
There are many qualities that used to be considered as feminine, but the lines between gender-typical traits have blurred considerably in the past few years.
Beta males can be seen as emotionally-led individuals, which used to be a stereotypical female trait.
In fact, there are so many men who are in touch with their emotions, and so many women who are not, that this boundary is now redundant.
It is possible, would you believe it, to be male and exhibit masculine qualities without possessing those typically associated with alpha males.
There are plenty of men who may not have typically-female traits (such as being open with their emotions, being caring and compassionate), but may also not fit with the typical alpha male persona, such as being shallow, selfish and ruthless.
In the same way that alpha males are seen as aggressive, beta males are seen as passive. This is a misconception that downplays beta males’ leadership skills.
There are different styles of leadership, and being a ‘good’ leader can come in a variety of forms.
While alpha males may rush into asserting themselves, beta males often hold back and join the team, which is misconceived as being passive.
Leadership can be tricky, and anyone who doesn’t immediately take charge is widely-viewed as being passive.
One of the best traits about beta males is that they will often immerse themselves in the team, bringing members of staff up with them.
The alpha mentality tends to be ‘if you fall behind, you’re left behind.’ For beta males, however, people deserve equality even within a hierarchical system.
5. They’re Needy And Clingy
This is a huge misconception about beta males, and this type of behavior is influenced by so many external factors that even alpha males may display it at times.
Stereotypically, alpha males don’t show much affection and are very closed off – think of Christian Grey, for example!
Because we are told not to expect this type of tenderness from men, we often associate it with being needy and clingy when we do experience it.
Being in touch, and open with, your emotions does not make you clingy, whatever gender you associate with.
It’s something to be encouraged, and actively improves many areas of your life, from work to relationships.
Being a beta male seems, for many, to equate to being desperate for attention and insecure, which is definitely not always the case.
Beta males can be emotionally-open, honest, and good at communicating, none of which are negative traits at all!
6. They Avoid Risk And Confrontation
Beta males can be seen as timid and hesitant in aspects of their life ranging from work to relationships.
This is a myth, and comes from the fact that they’re presumed to be the total opposite of the risk-taking, headstrong alpha males.
In fact, beta males tend to be rational planners, who think through their actions.
It’s often believed that beta males shy away from responsibility, which can come in the form of decision-making and standing up for themselves and what they believe in. This may be true, but absolutely doesn’t have to be!
Beta males are known to think things through rather than act impulsively. They may take their time when it comes to important decisions, but this is no bad thing.
So next time you think you know what is meant by the term ‘beta male,’ ask yourself if you’re falling foul of the stereotype or whether you can see the many true values in this misunderstood personality type.
Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.