Last year a Salon article titled, “In praise of the ‘beta males,’” made the rounds and we all rolled our eyes. The author wrote:
My husband will occasionally tell me a story — about apologizing to someone who was in the wrong or a tense email exchange that he ended with a smiley face — and wryly conclude, “That’s how beta I am.” Personally, I would prefer to call this “sensitivity, emotional intelligence, and peacemaking.” But, sure, if we’re to crudely categorize men as either alpha or beta, leaving zero room for nuance, and if we define kind, nurturing behaviors that cannot be categorized as stereotypically, defensively masculine as “beta,” I suppose my husband is a beta. And thank goodness for that.
Of course, it would take a self-proclaimed feminist on Salon to stand up for the beta males since they won’t do it themselves. Sure, it seems great to have the sensitive, peacemaking beta male who will watch rom-coms with you on a Saturday night. For the women who seek beta males, it seems they’d rather replace female friends than gain a boyfriend or husband.
The rise of the beta males isn’t the same as the metrosexual phenomenon, which was more about looks than substance. Several recent stories in the news are proof that despite the comfort of sharing a house with a beta male, it’s a much different thing to share a public space with one.
I live in the Washington D.C. area and make it a point to avoid public transportation. Every day there seems to be a new incident to reinforce my prejudices. Recently, a man stabbed another man on a metro car filled with people on July 4th, one of the metro’s busiest days. From the Washington Post:
As the train rumbled toward its next stop, at NoMa-Gallaudet, a three-minute ride, D.C. police said, the 18-year-old Spires — who may have been high on synthetic drugs — tried to grab a cellphone tucked into the waistband of a recent American University graduate headed to a gathering with friends.
The two struggled, police said, and the terror began.
Police and a witness interviewed said passengers trapped in the moving train huddled at both ends of the car and watched in horror as Spires punched 24-year-old Kevin Joseph Sutherland until he fell to the floor, then stabbed him until he was dead. Court documents say the victim was cut or stabbed 30 or 40 times, in the chest, abdomen, back, side and arms. Police said the assailant then threw the victim’s cellphone and returned to stomp on Sutherland’s body.
No one (or group) made an attempt to stop the assailant who was the first to exist the train and into the crowd of families in D.C. for 4th of July celebrations. Oblivious to what harm he may continue to do, the others on the car were just relieved to see him leave.
John Daniel Davidson at The Federalist wrote, “That Spires had a knife—what the police said was a ‘small, black folding knife’ they later recovered from a trash can—is no excuse. Any two adult men in that subway car could have stopped him, no matter how crazy or strong he was, and saved Sutherland’s life.”
Davidson contrasted this incident with United flight 93 on September 11. He wrote, “Morally, the choice facing the passengers on that subway car on July 4 was no different than the one facing the United 93 passengers on 9/11. It doesn’t matter if it’s one life or one thousand, the principle is what counts.”
In less than 15 years, we’ve gone from “let’s roll” to “let’s not get involved.”
Perhaps one of the most ridiculous aspects of the beta male is that he expects praise for his inaction. Political punk Gavin McInnes recently called attention to a post on Imgur from a dad who took his son to a Globetrotters event. The father posted a photo of two women in electric wheelchairs (their faces were partially visible) and his son, who is in a wheelchair, sitting behind them. He wrote:
My son’s in a wheelchair so this is a common occurrence for us. Get tickets to a fun event for the kids. Load my son in the van, load his wheelchair, unload his wheelchair upon arrival, unload my son, get him seated in the wheelchair, and finally arrive at the “accessible seating” section only to find this. I’m sorry, but being obese is not a disability. The ladies blocking my son’s view … are both rolling around in power chairs that they rented today from the venue. So in the future, when you’re at an event and you see the accessible seating area – just remember that there are probably some kiddos in there who’s parents just want to give them the opportunity to experience live events in much the same fashion the kids without special needs can. Please be considerate and let the smaller kids move toward the front.
This is parenting by a beta male. Rather than simply say to the women, “My son is short, may he sit in front of you?” the father chose to post a passive-aggressive rant with a photo of strangers in order to shame them. We are expected to take him at his word and join in the mob to shame these women. We don’t know the women’s health condition, whether they offered to move, whether they even saw the kid behind them or anything else about the incident. Perhaps the women are awful, but they weren’t even given a chance to prove otherwise. All we know is that rather than stick up for his kid and attempt to give him a better experience, he took a photo and posted it on the internet.
Prior to reading these and other stories, I would have chalked up the “beta male” stories to liberal fantasies to stomp out masculinity. But these are no longer fantasies. The beta male movement is real. It started with drugging little boys who didn’t want to sit still in class. The outcome is big boys sitting still while a man is stabbed to death. We must save the alpha males before they are extinct.