I've been told that an alpha female is a thing. It's a name given to strong women, to tough women, to independent women.
I wonder: Why is this such an anomaly that it requires its own label?
I'm a 26-year-old, self-sufficient, professional living and working in New York City.
I graduated with a degree in English literature and religion in 2012. I earned a master's degree in 2015. I live in a studio apartment in Manhattan that I pay for myself. I haven't gotten a dime from my parents for living expenses since leaving college.
I have friends. I cook for myself when I want to. I voice my opinions. I give back to my community. I put my foot down when things are not fair. I refuse to be taken advantage of.
Some might call me an alpha female, but I call myself a fully-functional adult. I consider being able to pay your own bills, do your own chores and speak your own mind the qualities of an adult — not the inherent qualities of an “alpha female.”
Succeeding as a functional adult requires independence, freedom of mind, financial security and general stability. It should not come as a surprise or as a refreshing discovery that women are able to function fully as adults enough to warrant a label to distinguish it from the norm.
Are we women expecting less of ourselves and our gender when we distinguish fully-functional adults (who happen to be women) as “alpha females?”
Perhaps we're distinguishing ourselves from the unfortunate stereotype that has plagued women for generations: we're childlike and in need of a savior who will protect us and take us away to love and marry us where we will always be safe.
I understand the need to separate ourselves from this largely sexist portrayal of women, but I refuse to believe that it's the norm of most women.
Maybe we're owning the term because we've been told men are intimidated by us.
How do we come off as “less scary”? How do we respond to the accusations of intimidation? Do we tone it down? Do we ride the “alpha female” role until the end with pride, telling men to shove it to the side if they can't handle our strength?
I look at it this way: I don't view having an opinion, a job, an apartment and friends as the deciding factors that make me “strong,” or an “alpha.” They make me an adult. If someone is intimidated by you being an adult, perhaps he hasn't grown up himself.
If you believe you are intimidating others because you are being an adult, please stop. You are an adult — adults take care of themselves. Adults speak their minds.
An unfortunate sign of our society is that women living up to the potentials of their sheer humanity is seen as a threat or an intimidating factor, when it should be what we expect of all people all along. Why am I threatening for living to my potential?
Unless we're suggesting that we expect less of women, which is where a term like “alpha female” might come in handy to describe those you see as somehow more superior to the norm.
Don't call me an alpha, call me an adult. It's what I expect of every grown human being.