A fixed, rigid, non-contextual, objective sociosexual hierarchy is a made up concept by those who want to conceptualize all of society around a few character traits they see themselves excelling or failing in.
The term can mean a combination of social and sexual prowess, or a combination of social and sexual privilege, success, influence, ability, or deservedness or whatever people want to lump together to make themselves feel “better” than others.
The term was popularized by Vox Day, who tried to expand on the term’s prior usage in science, as well as it’s prior usage in PUA lingo. However, Vox ignored that the scientific use of the term describes contextual and flexible hierarchies in other mammals, not fixed and objective hierarchies.
Reason for people using the term
Right-wingers often assume those with the most privilege and power automatically also have the most ability and deservedness, meaning there is only one sociosexual hierarchy to them. To most people not steeped in right-wing propaganda, this idea is odd. For example kings were often wildly incapable, but, like right-wingers, insisted their position was natural, genetic, and part of a single non-questionable sociosexual hierarchy.
Dominance hierarchy vs sociosexual hierarchy
A closely related term is, “dominance hierarchy”, which was originally a term used in academia to describe a flexible, political organization of certain competitive animal species like Chimpanzees. Lately, people such as Vox Day and Jordan Peterson have been using the term to also mean their general, extremely non-flexible and genetic sociosexual hierarchy concept.
Original scientific use
Outside of evolutionary psychology and some feminist circles, the term is used almost entirely in a contextual or relative manner. That is, relative to specific social domains, as humans can and do engage in many more social domains than in animals.
Some feminists use the term to describe social and sexual privilege, which may or may not imply actual social and sexual success.
Non-contexual use evolution
The idea of a non-contextual, overall, necessary, mostly fixed, and possibly genetic sociosexual hierarchy in humans has been mainly promoted seriously by various traditionalists such as Vox Day and Jordan Peterson and thus has had influence on the manosphere as tradcons entered the manosphere in the 2010s. The modern mainstream concept of a genetic, inevitable, necessary, or extremely fixed sociosexual hierarchy was also inspired by more mainstream media/literature and pick-up-artistry which was in turn inspired by scientist David Mech’s concept of an “alpha wolf”, which David later retracted.
Later evolutionary psychology academia seems to have picked up on this trend and also sometimes refers to humans with having a fairly fixed, non-contextual sociosexual hierarchy.
Social Darwinists, or those who believe the most powerful or successful are innately that way (such as Darwinian feminists and incels.co) also by definition buy into the idea of an overall non-contexual sociosexual hierarchy.
There have been various criticisms of an overall dominance hierarchy in humans, with critics saying applying such simplistic concepts based on less complex animals, to humans, is mostly or entirely pseudo-science.
Social domain variance and political construction
However, while critics say there is nothing pseudo-scientific or non-obvious about the fact that men differ in their social, romantic and material success, critics say that the platonic ideal of an “alpha” is dubious due to the sheer number of social domains in which humans can or do engage in their lives, unlike less intelligent animals. For example, a D&D champ may be the alpha in a board game shop, but not in the lacrosse field. Critics may have a hard time denying, however, that there exist people who exert control over entire populations, as well as those who are submissive to nearly everyone, due to their social status. Critics of dominance hierarchy theory often point to these positions as temporary social constructions, and not as fixed or genetic as dominance hierarchy theorists often imply.
Critics of social dominance hierarchy theory may say that something like a sports star hogging dozens of women by virtue of male competition is more of a self-fulfilling prophesy in a social construction, and is not inevitable about humans, as many countries lack the degree of celebrity culture necessary for this to happen to the degree that it does in certain countries, or in times of resource scarcity.
U.S. comedian and TV host Adam Conover famously claimed “alpha males do not exist” and insinuated that the notion of an alpha male wasn’t referenced in academia. The term “alpha” is indeed used very sporadically in academia to genuinely describe humans, not just non-human animals. High-ranking males, such as kings or other leaders have been considered as alpha males in academic publications, as well as males with high sexual success. Sometimes alpha traits refer to traits associated with human male sexual success such as masculinity and extroversion.
David Mech “Alpha wolf” retraction
While the notion of a human alpha male has a sporadic amount of academia associated, the concept is much more rooted in PUA figures such as RooshV and Vox Day, making it dubious to those who think PUAs are wrong. Critics of dominance hierarchy theory in humans point usually point to the person who coined the term, “Alpha”, scientist David Mech, who said that his concept of an, “alpha wolf”, was inaccurate due to further research and analysis. David later stated the concept he created did not describe the empirical phenomena he was attempting to describe.
David insists that “alpha wolves” didn’t actually become dominant over men outside their “pack”, but that their dominance was only or mainly familial and born through non-competitive mating. He also said that the few wolves who would bear more offspring than others within a pack could more accurately be called “dominant breeder” rather than “alpha”, as “alpha” implies that male competition determined reproductive success, which he said was not accurate in wolves.
Some have argued that the Alpha/Beta/Omega hierarchy is illegitimate, in that it bases sexual success too much upon behavior and status instead of looks. Lookism theorists suggest using the Slayer/Incel hierarchy instead. Still the terminology could as well be used for social hierarchies that are primarily based on looks.
- D. S. Neff: Bitches, Mollies, and Tommies: Byron, Masculinity, and the History of Sexualities, in: Journal of the History of Sexuality, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Jul., 2002), pp. 395-438 (44 pages); Published By: University of Texas Press
- Scientist David Mech addresses readers:
"Alpha" Wolf? – eduweb (February 15, 2008) (Size: 2:35 min.)
- Adam Ruins Everything – Alpha Males Do Not Exist | truTV. 953,882 views (as of Fri 25 2019), Aug 4, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ti86veZBjU