The "Alpha" Type!
Naturally I got the inspiration from this post as I do for many others in conversation. I can't remember all the specifics now, but fundamentally the conversation was regarding the notion of whether an "Alpha" female is capable of being submissive, and if so, what does that look like...
Now, because of my background in psychology my immediate consideration was to the questions of how and why we would limit a personality to being gender specific or focused.
As I understand it, both male and females are capable of being/having type A (Alpha) personalities (as it describes personality traits, not gender capabilities), therefore, I was disappointed at how easily it is for men to question and criticize women who are type A personalities.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEN & WOMEN "ALPHAS"?
Frankly there is not much of a difference. And I say not much because the psychologist in me leaves room for error, but sadly, much of the criticism that surrounds the "Alpha" women encompasses lack of understanding that personality types/traits are not gender specific.
In psychology, personality types are typically not grouped by men and women. Now sure we can find similarities and variances in personality types if grouped by men and women, but the intent is not to imply that women act one way and men act another way. The implication is that any individual (regardless of gender) who demonstrates type A personality characteristics can be identified as type A (Alpha type).
Cultural expectations, however, are gender specific, but personality traits are not. If that was the case, I wouldn't posses many personality traits of my father, and my brother wouldn't possess traits of his mother. That alone should be enough to understand that fundamentally personality types should encompass the same expectations and assumptions of behavior whether the discussion is focused on men or women. Thus, personality traits between men and women are highly likely to be exhibited in the same way. That's why personality types were established to be generalized, not gender specified.
However, despite psychological perspectives, expectations of "Alpha" males and females are very different. That which yields to constant consideration of the capabilities of "Alpha" females.
Despite lack of understanding, culturally established gender stereotypes hinder women from being perceived as individuals, since any variations of established cultural norms, stereotypes or anticipated norms are typically negatively received and perceived by others.
As we are all aware of the expectation and anticipated role of a woman in marriage and in the home, objectively speaking, the established cultural expectation of women's role was and continues to be extremely limiting. And a lack of willingness to evolve from the notion that woman can't be strong and submissive, assertive versus bossy, confident without attitude, ambitious versus aggressive, etc. negatively impacts evolution.
CAN ALPHA PERSONALITY TYPE FEMALES BE SUBMISSIVE?
Submission, like many other topics, should not be gender specific. Submission involves mutual respect and trust. Submission is not something that should only be exhibited by women, men can submit to their partners as well. Submission is an unselfish act in which one decides to be considerate of another, yielding to another's needs ahead of their own. And very successful relationships encompass two parties who practice submission.
Therefore, there are no limits on who can practice the act of submission, including those with type A personalities (Alpha types). Being submissive is a choice and encompasses trust more than anything. A strong person can be vulnerable. Matter of fact, vulnerability encompasses a great deal of strength. Thus, being strong, decisive, driven, ambitious and determined has no bearing on whether or not someone can and will be submissive. The point is that the conditions around the expectation of submission should yield to mutual comfort, trust and respect. The circumstances are what should be considered most when submission is in question, not someone's personality type...
CHALLENGING CULTURAL EXPECTATIONS...
The only way we can evolve is to be honest about the limitations that established cultural norms, expectations and stereotypes place on progress. It is up to us to choose to be open to seeing personalities for what they are, and not genders for what cultural expectations say they should be.
We are all different. We all have varying responsibilities and circumstances. Everyone's journey requires them to be something different, therefore some women don't have a choice but to be an "Alpha" because circumstances require it. Or some men don't have a choice but to be dependent on someone else due to their experiences. We must make the choice to be actively open in our approach to life, and not be so comfortable and complacent with the expectations and norms established that frankly no longer work for us...
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