Do you know a Mindful Male? He’s the man who considers the effects of his actions, who is conscious of how he behaves around others, who is willing to express feelings even to other men, he’s the man that women feel comfortable with, even if they don’t always select him for sex. Do you remember him from high school? He might have shown less aggression in sports, showing skill without wanting to be ‘best at any cost’. He may have been teased for being the introvert, not a leader, but maybe not simply a follower either.
It seems there’s a revolution going on—or an evolution—in the cultural norms of masculinity, especially in the boardrooms of America. Time was when a corporate executive was expected to be a tyrannical, opinionated firebrand whose word was law. Think Trump, Rumsfeld and Turner. They operate with the latter-day equivalent of the Divine Right of Kings and Papal Infallibility. The hard-charging, insensitive autocrat is part of “The Alpha Male Syndrome”, a term coined by the founders of Worth Ethic, an executive consulting firm that counts major corporations and government agencies among its clients. Their web site describes the problem of the Alphas who lose control of their strengths which become fatal flaws that destroy morale and cost companies time and money.
In our book Seduction Redefined: A Guide to Creative Collaboration of the Feminine and Masculine, we define two Alpha energies—the pure Alpha Male and the Alpha-Mask Male. The Alpha is the man born to be a leader, who doesn’t have to even try to create loyalty and admiration in those lower in the hierarchy, or to be a visionary, energetic leader. It all comes naturally to him and he is a rare commodity, a driven man, focused on his goals. If untrained in empathetic leadership, he may be insensitive to staff and co-workers, but if he has empathy as well as drive, he is an asset to the world.
The Alpha-Mask Male is really a Beta, one of the 95% of the population that are Betas. He has been taught by circumstances, mentors and peers that in order to be a Real Man he has to be a leader at all costs, or he is nothing. The movies are full of characters for him to copy, surrounded by explosions, impervious to bullets, emotionless and deadly. Or rock and hip-hop stars grimacing and foul-mouthed, rich enough to buy and do anything, surrounded by fawning, weak, boy-fantasy women. The reality is that Alpha-Masks do not have the innate ability to lead, so must resort to shows of force to coerce others into obedience.
There’s no doubt that Alpha-Mask men can ‘succeed’ in the world. Many of them reach high positions in government and business and show their willingness to do whatever it takes to get power and satisfy their greed. Along the way, they may encounter women who will collaborate in their rapacious schemes, because women have been taught by male-dominated culture to judge men by men’s standards. The cultural misconception is that if a man is at the top of a hierarchy, he must be a better man than those below him, so that makes him a good prospect as a mate. Unfortunately, encouraging and enabling such men has brought the human race to the point where we are killing the life-support system of the planet.
That dire fact may be what is fuelling a movement towards the Beta Male, away from autocratic Alphas and dangerous Alpha-Masks. While there are still plenty of shoot-‘em-up movies and video games to appeal to the adolescent men-to-be, and the U.S. military still idolizes unthinkingly obedient, dehumanized, trained killers (the classic Alpha-Mask role) as ‘heroes’, there is dawning a recognition of the qualities of a more thoughtful man as a husband, lover, parent and role model. Geeks and dweebs are now starring roles in many American movies and the day of the Hollywood Übermensch may be fading as films show more empathy for regular guys.
The Mindful Male is the man more attuned to the effects of his actions, the man willing to be held accountable, adaptable enough to understand the differences between people, but most of all between women and men, and to become a willing partner in every way. He is not afraid to express empathy and willingness to deal fairly even with his opponents. After years of watching Alpha-Masks bully their way to the top, where they can wreak havoc on those lower in the hierarchy, even Americans are looking for alternatives to that destructive paradigm. They seek statesmen, not figureheads; men who are willing to take the heat when they do something wrong; men strong enough to admit a mistake and choose another tack. More importantly, they seek women who will use their feminine strengths rather than try to beat the boys a their own game; women who can bring the full power of their floodlight vision to complement the more focused spotlight vision that men use. They are finally willing to accept that women and men can work together in partnership.
These are all positive changes in Western society, if confusing for men, many of whom are still reeling from the effects of radical feminism and unsure of their public and private roles with women. The dating scene is now even more fearsome for men than ever, and most women, while feeling more comfortable in their femininity, still do not have a full knowledge of their potential and remain stuck in the old patriarchal role of waiting for the man to initiate. Evolutionary psychologists, such as Geoffrey Miller, author of The Mating Mind, understand that in most sexual species the female does the initiating while the males display. Add to that fact the necessity of the feminine influence in men’s lives, to civilize, guide and transform from macho display to mindfulness, and the infinite adaptability of the male to female preferences, and we have a recipe for deep intersexual partnership at all levels.
As more women favor mindfulness over machismo, and Beta qualities over Alpha-Mask posturing, more men will show up with those qualities. Evolution will run its natural course from the simple act of one woman inviting a man to talk instead of waiting for him to make the first move. Every time one woman initiates, men will see the successful display of the selected man. As more women do the same, men will understand how they need to behave in order to be selected, and the changes will snowball. Mindfulness is in our future, if the Alpha-Masks don’t wipe us all out first!