Alpha Females Part 3 – Being a Beta Female Does Not Work, It Won’t Get You Dates Or Keep Your Marriage in Good Shape
This commentary will be divided up among a few posts. Here is part 3.
(This post may be edited in the future to re-word things, polish things, add new thoughts or links)
For those new to my blog:
I am a right winger. I was a Republican until recently. I am now a conservative Independent.
I was a conservative Christian for many years (I am no longer sure about what my religious views are), and I (Link): Am A Former Gender Complementarian (someone who believed in and lived out traditional gender roles, views which are based in large measure on incorrect interpretations and applications about gender in the Bible).
I sometimes agree with secular left wing feminists on some topics, but not always. At times, I disagree with secular and religious left wing feminists and have written several blog posts critiquing some of their views.
This series of blog posts is addressing the dating and relationship advice of author Suzanne Venker, who wrote a book called “The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage” which she has lately been marketing online and on TV news shows.
Here is one article by Venker about her relationship views:
(Link, off site): Society is creating a new crop of alpha women who are unable to love by S. Venker
Venker, the author of “Society is creating a new crop of alpha women who are unable to love,” relies on a lot of anecdotal commentary to bolster her arguments in her article on “Fox News” site – I can only assume her book is filled with much of the same nonsense…
BEING A TRADITIONAL FEMALE, WHICH VENKER AND OTHERS BASICALLY EQUATE WITH BEING A DOORMAT, DOES NOT WORK FOR RELATIONSHIPS
I have anecdotal commentary in the other direction based on my own life, that of my mother’s and that of other women, to counter Venker’s arguments.
(Update: Please see (Link): my response to Venker here: she is fine with using her personal life experience in articles or books to sell other women on the notion they should be “Beta.”
However, when I produce examples in this post on MY experience – of how being Beta did not make my relationships better – she dismissed this approach on Twitter. Her using her personal experience to back up her view is acceptable to her, but not when others do the same thing to back up their views.
That is inconsistent. If she can appeal to her personal experience to make a point, so can I).
Here is an excerpt from the page by Venker:
….Indeed, my mother was the quintessential alpha wife. An alpha wife micromanages, delegates and makes most or even all of the decisions. She is, quite simply, the Boss.
— end excerpt–
Yes, I grew up quite the opposite from Venker. My mother was the total opposite of Venker’s.
My mother was the very sort of woman Venker advises other women to be. My mother in turn raised me to be like herself, which I was, up until my late 30s or early 40s.
My mother was the sweet, docile, doormat who catered to my father’s every need. My mother was definitely the opposite of “The Boss.”
My mother made home-cooked meals for my father most nights. She did not have a job outside the home.
My mother was the stereotypical womanly woman, passive, non-confrontational, soft-spoken woman that conservatives are forever applauding and pressuring other women to be like.
My mother made the traditional, stay at home wife and mother television character June Cleaver look like a bra-burning, feminist, man-hating Alpha.
My mother “out-June Cleavered” June Cleaver herself. I kid you not.
My mother believed that putting herself first or getting her own needs met was selfish and Un-Christian. So, she focused on catering to the needs of other people, especially my father.
To summarize, my mother was a big believer and practitioner of everything Venker (and Christian gender complementarians) advise women to do in marriage and in life. And it did not work for my mother. It did not make my mother happy. It didn’t make my father treat her nicer, either.
As a matter of fact, towards the end of her life, my mother got tired of the “be a sweet little agreeable thing who never pushes back” type of woman that Venker is advising other women to act like and started standing up more for herself (being more Alpha)!
A couple years ago, my Aunt Sue (not her real name) told me,
“A few years before your mother died, she told me on the phone, “I am so tired of people pushing me around and walking all over me! I don’t want to do it any more!”
I love my father, but the guy is overly critical.
My father is the sort of guy who thinks it’s funny to mock you at the dinner table and nit-pick you over every trivial thing in your life until you cry – then he laughs or grins when you sit there crying. I am serious. That is how I grew up.
My father did this for years to my mother, and to me.
When these sorts of incidents would occur, my mother would generally only feebly fight back and plead with Dad through tears, “Honey, Hank (not my dad’s real name), please stop!”
But my father would keep emotionally abusing her, even as she sat there in tears, obviously wounded by his ribbing and teasing.
This behavior coming from my father towards my mother was in spite of the fact she treated him in a deferential (“feminine” or “beta”) manner in the way Venker (and complementarians) coaches women to treat men in her book and interviews.
Not until I got older, in my late teens, and would step in on her behalf and tell my father to shut his obnoxious pie hole, where I’d say something such as,
“Dad, what you are doing to Mom is NOT funny. You are bullying her. You are HURTING her. She has tears running down her face right now, can you not see you are hurting her? She is not finding your ‘humor’ funny. It’s mean-spirited. There is nothing funny about verbally abusing a person and mocking her until she cries. KNOCK IT OFF NOW.”
-at that point, my father would finally quiet down and back off and leave my mother be.
My dad was just not a supportive, encouraging kind of guy. He did not meet my mother’s emotional needs but, on a fairly regular basis, cut her down and made her cry – in the guise of “teasing,” or trying to appear funny.
My father would sometimes buy my mother lovely birthday or Christmas presents, he was a good provider (paid the bills), and he never physically abused her.
However, I’m sure, had she been given the choice, my Mom would have much preferred a man who regularly treated her with respect and kindness, rather than a guy who bought her fancy diamond necklaces every Christmas but who spent parts of the rest of the year ridiculing her, or nit picking her, until she sobbed, as was his tendency.
So, contrary to what Venker believes, a woman catering to her man and letting him wear the pants, let the man lead, (all this other rhetoric), does not heal a marriage, nor does it make for a fair, nice marriage, or guarantee that the man will treat the wife with compassion and sensitivity.
This strategy sure did not work in my parent’s marriage.
What men want most of all is respect, companionship and sex
WOMEN WANT RESPECT TOO
By the way, contrary to Venker – women also need and crave respect, not just men.
(A lot of women also crave companionship and sex. Have I or have I not several times over on this blog state how I’d like to be having sex and how I would like companionship? And I’m a woman. What planet is Venker living on that she seems to feel that wanting sex, companionship, and respect are qualities only men want or highly prize?)
It’s a mistaken and sexist stereotype in culture, especially among Christians, that all men want respect, but all women want love (as if to say, no men want love, and no women want or need respect).
The truth is, most men and women want both respect AND love.
See also (these are off site links; this comes from Nate Sparks’ blog. He has several posts on this issue, but I’m only linking to a few here):
(Link): Love Respect and Proof Texts
(Link): Love, Respect, and Science
MY EX FIANCE
At any rate, this strategy that Venker advises women to use did not work in my own relationship, either.
If you want the fuller picture, I have written about my ex fiance’ before and don’t want to spend a long time on it here in this blog post. You can read (Link): this post about my ex.
Here’s a recap:
I dated a man for several years, and we were engaged for the last three or four of those years. This would be back when I was in my late 20s to early 30s.
I was the traditional feminine girlfriend and finacee to my ex, as Venker understands and promotes it: I was a doormat. I was a codependent. (I was feminine and beta. Gag.)
I catered to my man’s every need – financial (I paid his bills for him – he promised to repay but never would) and emotional – I cheered him up as best I could when he had a bad day at work, and so on. I often cleaned his apartment for him, scrubbing the shower, toilet, cleaning the carpet, etc.
I never pressed my ex to meet my needs – though, as time wore on, I did feebly and gently hint at him a few times to consider some issue or another I was having with our relationship.
However, I was strongly conditioned by my mother and Christian upbringing not to insist on drawing attention to myself or to my needs (in other words, I was behaving in the “Beta” manner that Venker is prescribing in her articles and book), because to do so would supposedly be selfish, so I seldom pressed my ex fiance’ to meet MY needs.
As a result, my ex got all his needs met in the relationship, and I got none of mine met. (That pattern literally went on for YEARS.)
As a matter of fact, my ex abused me financially. He became a bit emotionally and verbally abusive the last two years, as well.
I finally grew resentful of never getting MY needs met but still meeting all of his, so that is one reason of 500 I eventually broke up with the guy.
For all the Venkers out there who tell women,
“Hey, if you would just stop being so bold, stop asking the guy to meet your needs, but get all his needs met, and be a doting, sweet little thing, your man will appreciate it, treat you nicer, and not divorce, or, if single, you will attract lots of men,”
-they are false.
That was not my experience while being the sweet, passive Susie Homemaker (a “Beta”).
During all my years as a sweet, nice, unassuming Susie Home-Maker who never got her own needs met – I was never a brassy, domineering, loud-mouthed feminist who insisted on calling all the shots and being in control – I never got any dates or boyfriends. (The dates I got were set-ups by family, where the guy saw my photos at their homes and wanted to meet me.)
Contrary to what these conservative women tell you, for every man who is supposedly “turned off” by a brassy, tough female, these same guys won’t be attracted to or date a quiet, sweet, humble, submissive “beta” one, either.
Being an old fashioned, docile, passive, biblical woman sure as holy hell did not nab me any dates, boyfriends, or a husband.
There is no magical formula for getting a man or keeping one. People who write dating advice books should really stop insisting there is such a thing.
As this guy put it:
And then there is this older post by me:
And this one:
Just like your left wing feminists think that “putting out” will nab you a man – some liberal feminists insist that a woman choosing to stay a virgin until marriage is why some women cannot get or hold on to a man (see this post for more on that)-
So too are right wing, traditional gender role advocates (most of whom hate or distrust all forms of feminism) incorrect in teaching women that if they just follow a certain set of steps – (such as being beta or passive) – that they are sure to land more dates or get a guy to propose marriage.
My mother and I tried the Beta Female shtick for many, many years. It left my mother unhappy, because it left her in the position of being taken advantage of and bullied – both within and outside of her marriage.
My mother being feminine (read: codependent) did not make my father treat her with more consideration, but actually enabled him, or emboldened him, to “tease-bully” her more so.
My mother told my Aunt in the two or three years before she died she was sick and tired of being passive (beta and feminine), because it led to people walking all over her.
If being “beta” did not work for my mother or make a raving success of her marriage, it’s not going to work for you. How’s that for anecdotal information?
In my case, although I was a feminine and beta (read: codependent and passive doormat who lacked boundaries) my ex fiance used me (financially) and was a self-absorbed hockey puck who didn’t care at all about meeting my needs, so he never met my needs, though I used to bend myself into a pretzel to meet his needs, stroke his ego, and so on.
Being “Beta,” “feminine” and a sweet, soft spoken, gentle, passive woman, as Venker advises women do, did not cause my ex fiance’ to treat me with fairness, sensitivity, or compassion, nor did it stop him from taking advantage of me or verbally abusing me towards the last year or so our relationship.
Being the sweet, feminine, beta lady (as I was for many, many years) did not get me oodles of dates before or after my ex fiance, either.
I’ve come to realize in the last few years that being a “beta” woman (being passive, wimpy and pathologically nice to everyone, especially to men) will only end up hurting you.
People are more than delighted to exploit you and take advantage of you when you allow them to do so – which is what the “beta” (or traditional gender role) philosophy is teaching women to do.
I have plans on making one or two more posts in this series and calling it a day. I don’t know when or if I will be able to get around to making those posts, or any other new ones, unless maybe they are really short.