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Being an Alpha Female is not about gender

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

A self-confident woman
An alpha female is confident, talented and highly motivated

As I was scrolling through social media the other day I stumbled upon a post about alpha females in an all-female group, been this is one of my favorite topics I started reading the comments. One of the comments really got my attention, it read like this; "can't this woman let the man be the man; always trying to wear the pants." It never ceases to amaze me how even in today's society where women have brake down so many gender stereotypes we still see misconceptions and biases not only from men but also from other women in regards to the gender roles and the alpha concept. I prefer to believe that the main reason for it is unawareness of the real meaning and what the term represents.

If we look at the Merriam-Webster dictionary the word alpha is defined as "socially dominant in a group or specie." The dictionary also has an example of the word used in a sentence; "The pack is led by the alpha pair, a male and a female." In the Cambridge dictionary, the definition of alpha is "someone who is strong or powerful, and who likes to be in charge of others." In none of these definitions, there's a direct relationship between the word alpha and the male gender.

As I researched the origins of the term I found that there's been multiple scientific researches conducted in regards to the concept, a related one goes back to a 1939 publication by Maslow called "Dominance, Personality, and Social Behavior in Women." His research was based on in-depth interviews that included men and women. According to Maslow's findings "dominant women" have more self-confidence, and higher poise, prefer to be treated like a person and not like a woman, prefer independence and "standing on their own feet", lack feelings of inferiority, and generally do not care for concessions that imply they are inferior, weak or that they need special attention and cannot take care of themselves.

During the 80's the concepts of alpha and beta were used by the feminist activist Betty Friedan in her book "The Second Stage" to describe a crisis of leadership in the US in her book she stated that the solution would be a balance between the alpha and the beta leadership styles. She used the term alpha leadership to describe masculine characteristics of leadership ( rational, analytical, aggressive ) and beta leadership to describe feminine characteristics of leadership ( inclusive, caring, interactive ).

In the late 90's early 2000's the notion of alpha female began to gain momentum. The terms alpha woman and alpha female showed a spike in searches on Google Ngram Viewer, a web application that displays the use of words and phrases over time sampled from millions of books scanned by Google.

Today the term is used casually but the definition based on the latest scientific research still describes an Alpha Female as a woman that embraces her leadership ambitions. She is strong, talented, highly motivated and self-confident.

After reading multiple definitions and scientific research data I didn't find evidence of the term alpha being exclusively related to the male gender. We all have masculine and feminine traits and qualities, some are more dominant and more developed than others depending on multiple factors. But at the end of the day, these traits and qualities aren't defined by a person's gender. For me, being an Alpha Female is a mindset, (mindsets are beliefs – beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities and abilities). It is the way I choose to live my life and approach every goal and every challenge; with confidence, self-assurance, ambition, and motivation. Are you an Alpha Female?

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