The idea of dividing people into “types” can be controversial.
Who says I’m an alpha and you’re a beta? What about an omega or a sigma?
Come to think of it, are sigma males even a real thing or is this just an internet trend?
Is a sigma male a real thing? Everything you need to know
1) Sigma male is a made-up concept
First of all, it is important to understand that sigma male is a made-up concept.
In fact, it was simply thought up by a dissident right internet blogger called Vox Day (Theodore Beale) a decade ago.
This does not mean it is automatically untrue, but it is crucial to emphasize that there is no actual psychiatric or behavioral science that led to its creation.
Beale simply made it up, expanding the Greek alphabet to come up with personality types that he believed fell outside the alpha vs. beta dichotomy.
Sigma male was later taken up by a plastic surgeon called John Alexander, who wrote a dating book about how women get very turned on by sigmas.
2) Some believe it is just a cope for not being alpha
The idea of being alpha or beta is more grounded in centuries of biological research and evolutionary psychology.
Observation of primates and animal colonies led to the popularization of the theory.
It was reinforced by the work of people like wolf ecologist David Mech and primate researcher Franz de Waal.
The basic idea of an alpha male is the one who is respected in a group either due to strength, social status, skill or a combination of the three.
A beta male, by contrast, is a male who seeks approval and submits to an alpha, either through a real or perceived lack of strength, social status or skill or all three.
Sigma, however, is basically the idea of an alpha who’s a loner and doesn’t concern himself with group belonging or status.
For this reason, some critics have dismissed it as simply a coping mechanism for those who know deep down they are beta males but don’t want to face the “shame” of feeling disempowered.
“One could read it as a coping mechanism for those laboring under a fear of being beta.”
Is sigma male a real thing? It honestly depends on who you’re asking!
3) Stuck in the victor or victim trap?
Writers like controversial French author Michel Houellebecq have explored the concept of different types of males.
He talks about it, for example in his book The Elementary Particles as well as in the disturbing book Platform about the clash of sexual openness and traditional culture.
Houellebecq’s characters tend to be lonely, sex-obsessed men trying to fill the void of meaning that organized religion used to provide to the collective, as I explore in this 2018 piece.
Ultimately, Houellebecq concludes that these labels like alpha are just ways we over-simplify reality and make ourselves feel “destined” to be in a certain victim or victor role.
However, one could certainly argue that Houellebecq’s characters are sigma males, although the character of the 1994 book Extension du domaine de la lutte is arguably an omega male.
In any case, the point is:
Houellebcq’s perverts tend to be brilliant lone wolves who don’t find the satisfaction they seek in the group and thus become bitter, sex-addicted loners who want to build new worlds but can’t even handle their own lives.
In one of his books (la carte et le territoire) one of these sigma-type individuals even fictionally murders Houellebecq.
Is sigma male real or just wishful thinking about being more unique? To the extent it is a real phenomenon, it’s certainly a personality that develops, rather than one that comes preset.
4) Sigmas are made, not born
As primate researcher de Waal explains, the idea that some guys are just “alphas” or other categories is completely false in the animal kingdom.
As he says, “primate alphas gain that status through consensus after a lot of campaigning, and there is only one alpha.
They aren’t born as alphas and they have to work really hard to get others to recognize them as such.”
The same goes for a sigma. The idea that some guys are just naturally a sigma type is a very circular argument.
In other words, it’s extremely hard if not impossible to prove that certain kinds of people become charismatic loners by “nature” as opposed to due to a reaction to the social situation they’re reacting within.
Nature or nurture, in other words, is very hard to separate from any discussion of alphas, betas, zetas, omegas or, yes… sigmas.
5) Weighing points of view
Let me be clear here: sigma male identity is a controversial subject.
6) The lone wolf archetype
Not all men who prefer to be alone are beta males or submissive.
The extent to which sigma may be a helpful and accurate descriptor depends on what you want to use it for.
While keeping in mind that it’s mainly an internet creation, you can still derive value from the kind of insights that come about from this term.
Sigma males clearly exist, although you can’t typecast them all as being the same by any means.
The sigma enigma
Sigma male is a real thing. It is a man who is charismatic, smart and confident but doesn’t seek out the group.
This type of man clearly exists. The point, though, is that this kind of label is obviously made up and an interpretation.
It is not a hardwired “truth,” but quite frankly neither is anything in the social sciences.
Sigma male is a real thing, but readers should beware they don’t fall into bold claims made about sigmas or any other “type” by internet know-it-alls.
At the end of the day, we are all individuals. There may be as many different shades of sigma as there are different types of men.
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