How To Identify Alphas and Betas, Star Trek Style
Gonna try something very different today. How you guys react to it will determine if I do something again like it in the future.
For a long time now, I’ve received many emails and comments requesting an article about how to identify Alpha Males and beta males. I never thought of an entertaining or interesting way of doing this, until one day, the idea hit me out of the blue, as they so often do.
I sometimes use the examples of celebrities and fictional characters to illustrate my points. This way, it’s easier for you to instantly recognize the examples. This is often better than me just describing a hypothetical person you’ve never seen or met.
Today, I’m going to take this to the next level and use a TV show that the vast majority of you should know at least reasonably well, and use the characters in that show to demonstrate how to identify types of men (and women) in terms of the categories I discuss on this blog.
Since I’m a huge nerd, I’m a big Star Trek fan. A while back, I decided to write an article laying out the characters from one particular Star Trek show, how they categorize, and why I think they fall into the categories they do. The problem was to determine which Star Trek show to use, since as many of you know, there are five different Star Trek shows (with one or two new ones coming very soon).
The original 1960’s Star Trek didn’t have a large enough cast, and would have been too easy, it being a product of the more black-and-white time. Deep Space Nine is by far the best Star Trek show ever on television, and it’s actually my second favorite TV show of all time (Lost is my first). Deep Space Nine has the deepest, richest, and most interesting characters of any Star Trek show, by far. Yet, I don’t think quite as many people would be as familiar with these characters. The same goes for the shows Voyager and Enterprise.
That leaves Star Trek: The Next Generation. That was a good show, though not my favorite for many reasons, but I think enough of you will know the characters of that show in order to have some commonality for what I’m about to discuss.
So let’s look at the characters of STNG using the criteria that I use, show you where they fall into the Alpha or beta range for the men, and the Dominant, Submissive, and Independent categories I use for women. Since no male characters in the regular cast of STNG were Alpha Male 2.0’s, I’m just going to use the term “Alpha” instead of breaking out 1.0 or 2.0, and you can safely assume that when I say “Alpha,” I mean the original meaning of the word, which is an Alpha Male 1.0.
Note that for you non-nerds, I will be using some Star Trek references in my descriptions, but I’ll try to keep them as light as I can. If this article gets enough traffic / likes / links / reposts, I will do another one of these with some other cool TV show (or movie series) in the future.
Let’s do this…
Picard is an Alpha. He’s tough, courageous, masculine, and an inspiring leader. He doesn’t back down and stands his ground. Even when being humiliated or physically tortured he doesn’t submit. Like most characters in STNG, he has an iron-clad set of principles that he never wavers on, even if it causes him to suffer personally. He regularly gets pissed off, raises his voice, and shuts other people down verbally.
Despite his smaller stature, he’s physically fit (causing younger women in the audience to actually get excited when he wears a tank top, like in the movie Star Trek – First Contact) and moves with a confidence bordering on stiffness. He commands the room simply by entering it.
He has small, steely eyes and fantastic, strong eye contact without it being weird or piercing.
He’s not very sexual, devoting his life and his being to the job of being a Starfleet captain, but on the rare occasions when he gets romantic with a woman, he does so with pure confidence and an impeccable ease.
The character of Jean-Luc Picard is indeed one of the last iconic Alpha Males in American television before Western culture started moving away from raw masculinity in the 1990’s (as I describe in chapter six in my book).
Riker is someone many would consider an Alpha, at least a mild one. They’d be wrong. Instead, Riker is the type of man I’ve called the “confident beta.” He’s confident, attractive, and tough. He’s also a player and a lady’s man, the resident Kirk-like character of STNG.
At the same time, he’s not as masculine or as strong as Picard. Riker has always had a slight feminine quality to him that I can’t put my finger on. Despite the fact that he gets laid, Riker often pussies out with women whenever there’s conflict or the odds are stacked against him.
Despite the fact he’s a leader, he is clearly submissive to Picard, even beyond what you’d expect in a command structure like Starfleet. In the show, Riker is offered his own ship (on more than one occasion, I think), and he turns it down, preferring to be number two on the Enterprise and serving under Picard, which isn’t very Alpha at all.
Therefore, if I had to choose between a mild (low) Alpha and a more confident, charismatic beta, I’d identify Riker as the latter.
Data is a beta, which should be no surprise. As an android, he is 100% submissive by nature. It’s the way he was built. If you want to build a robot, you don’t want an Alpha-bot, you want a beta.
Oh well. It’s not his fault.
Troi is a Submissive. She’s sweet, sensitive, and caring. She’s not very strong, and during the few times she’s placed in a position of leadership, she usually screws it up. She speaks in a quiet tone, smiles a lot, shows a lot of emotion, and always has wide eyes. She is, by far, the most feminine character in the entire show. She’s not an extreme submissive, so it’s not like she lets people walk over her all the time (she can and does stand up for herself when needed) but she’s still a Submissive.
(This is interesting considering that the actress who plays her, Marina Sirtis, is an extreme Dominant.)
Worf is an extreme Alpha, obviously, even more so than Picard. He’s a quintessential Alpha 1.0. He’s a hardcore warrior who craves battle and worships honor. He’s huge, has a loud, booming voice, and a piercing, often disturbing stare. He has a son later in the series, and he’s a tough, often unemotional father. Worf has easily killed more enemies (and gleefully so) than anyone else in the series.
Moreover, despite his ugly Klingon appearance, Worf gets all the chicks. Seriously. Over the series run of STNG and Deep Space Nine, Worf has sex with Troi, Jadiza, Ezri, K’Ehleyr, and various other women, perhaps even outstripping Riker.
In one of my favorite episodes, Conundrum, the entire crew loses their memories and have to work together to figure out what’s going on. It is Worf, not Picard, who immediately takes command and starts bossing everyone around. Even Picard submits to his will. Only when the crew discovers that Picard is actually the captain does Worf relinquish command; the angry look on his face when he finds out is priceless.
Geordi is the beta of the show. He’s the everyday nice guy who never rocks the boat and almost always obeys orders without any question or argument (unlike both Riker and Worf who often stand up to Picard). He has a high voice and lots of spastic, animated movements. Compare how often he moves his face and arms to Picard’s rock-like, steady presence. (This is possibly done by the actor, LeVar Burton, on purpose, to overcompensate for the fact that you can’t ever see Geordi’s eyes.)
Geordi is constantly getting oneitis for women who rebuff him, even in the fucking holodeck. Jesus. What a pussy. He’s the biggest beta on the show with the exception of Wesley. And speaking of pussies…
Wesley is obviously an extreme beta, but you can’t really blame the guy since he’s the kid of the show. You’re not going to have a badass Alpha teenager character. A few years later, he gets a little more balls, but not much. Ugh. Let’s move on.
Dr. Crusher is a mild Dominant. She’s tall with a stronger presence and eye contact. She has no problem whatsoever bossing everyone else around when she feels the need, even Picard. She doesn’t take any crap and often stands up to people whenever she even mildly disagrees about something.
She’s a mild Dominant though. She’s often kind and pleasant despite her more bossy tendencies.
Tasha is a Dominant, far more so than Crusher. She’s strong, tough, and sexually aggressive, with likely a higher level of testosterone than most women, judging from her lower voice, aggressive attitude, and stockier body.
Guinan is an Independent, the only one on the show. She’s quiet and strong at the same time, tough and calm at the same time, and you get the feeling she’s secretly laughing at everything that happens. She’s always operating at a level higher than the other characters, but she doesn’t do it out of malice or a desire for control. She’s just experiencing life and enjoying herself, not really giving a shit. She never gets involved (unless things are very dire) and is happy with her mysterious role on the Enterprise. She’s always calm, cool, collected, and smiling. She almost never gets angry or really happy.
Ro is an extreme Dominant, the strongest one in the series. She’s tough, demanding, argumentative, and is even more masculine than Tasha (even though she’s physically smaller/skinnier). She always looks angry and like she’s ready to murder someone. This is standard stuff for Bajoran women due to their terrorist roots, since the character of Kira on Deep Space Nine is very similar (that role was originally going to be Ro). The entire character constantly radiates a hard edge and a vibe of uneasiness, even when she’s smiling and happy, which is rare.
That’s it for STNG. If I get a lot of guys requesting more posts like this, I’ll do another one, perhaps with Deep Space Nine (which has a bigger and more interesting cast than STNG) or some other mainstream sci-fi or fantasy TV show or movie series.