Guest post: The females don’t stick around to make the Alpha sandwiches

Originally a comment by Anna Y on Top lobster.

Yet another guy who thinks he’s very “Alpha” spouting off about how all the feeeemales should be irresistibly attracted to him (and conveniently picking a species where this is the case; admittedly lobsters are a novel choice, normally this sort goes for lions; funny how no one talks about hyenas, or elephants, or bonobos, etc, with a female topped hierarchy). But, even accepting his premise that all women should be irresistibly (and exclusively) attracted to Alphas, I don’t think he’d like that in practice.

For one, in the animal kingdom, high status males don’t just magically spring forth full-formed: they rise up through the ranks by competing with other males, often violently, sometimes with deadly consequences. Once they’ve achieved the “top lobster” status, they continue to have to defend it against challengers. Eventually (which, in practice, can mean “almost immediately”) they are deposed (often fatally) by the next in line. The reward for this high-stress existence is also fairly fleeting: the Alpha gets to mate with the most females while holding the title. These females then lose all interest in him, once they received what they wanted: sperm from an ostensibly fit donor, that makes it more likely their offspring will have a better shot at survival. The females don’t then stick around to make the Alpha sandwiches, and listen to him endlessly prattle on while pretending to be utterly fascinated, and nodding in the right places. In fact, just as soon as he gets his ass handed to him by the next guy, his popularity is history: it’s brilliant strategy after all, for the females to move on to the best and brightest, not stick around to soothe the loser’s bruised ego. There’s also no mention whatsoever of beauty contests among the lobster females to get a shot with the top guy, so presumably our Alpha is happy to fertilize grandma lobster and morbidly obese lobster, or whatever passes for unattractive in lobster terms. In other words, the brightest females in the animal kingdom (according to Peterson), behave precisely like human gold-diggers: they zero in on the male with the most to offer, take him for everything he’s worth (in exchange for a little nookie, sure), and as soon as they get what they want from him, they move on to the up-and-comer. Brilliant strategy indeed, but I’m gonna bet Peterson has something unflattering to say about it when properly applied by members of his own species.

Also, I’m kind of curious how he squares the “Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today” rule (which ostensibly invites a person to forgo competition and focus on fostering one’s personal virtue as an end in itself) with his ideas on dominance hierarchies (and their corollaries re: sex and reproduction).

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