It's like Sex and the Suburbs and 30 Rock all rolled into one…
The female social hierarchy is a complex and confusing structure comprised of sisterhood, fellowship, and just a bit of backstabbing. We’re not so easily divided into categories such as Charlotte, Miranda, Carrie and Samantha or Liz Lemon and not Liz Lemon. If men find women just a bit frightening, women find other women even more so. We are the ones hardest on each other for how successful we are, how attractive, and how we dress and act in polite company. Men might point out a particularly attractive bits on a lady but a woman is sure to point out another with unfortunate features. (Of course both genders might be crass about it; humans can be cruel sometimes.) A guy might look in horror as a woman fawns over one of his friends in desperation but other women will surely chat about how terrible it was for days. (Of course men forget but never forgive; women forgive but never forget.) In my travels of the social scenes in Albany, I’ve found three general and yet distinct types of women.
1. The Alpha Female isn’t so different than what it means in the Animal Kingdom. Here is a dominant woman, self-assured and in control. Typically she’s a type-A personality – impatient, time-conscious, controlling, concerned about their status, highly competitive, ambitious, business-like, aggressive, and has difficulty relaxing. They are often high-achieving workaholics who multi-task, drive themselves with deadlines, and are unhappy about delays. But furthermore, these are the women that thrive on being the center of attention and will do what’s necessary to be so. They tend to go out on the town looking impeccable, often in designer or close knock-off attire. They are the women with the gin martinis at the bar, the ones who can and do buy men drinks. The alpha female knows what she wants and makes no bones about getting it. She’s fabulous, and is great for taking control when things need order and a leader.
2. The Beta Female is everything the Alpha Female is with a few notable exceptions. This woman is also self-assured and highly comfortable with herself. She’s probably successful, but doesn’t put quite as much importance on it for herself or for others around her. They like being the center of attention, thrive on attention from men, but are completely comfortable with stepping back in the presence of an Alpha Female. Chances are this lady is pounding a beer with a bunch of guys, laughing about some funny cultural meme or dancing with her friends. She’s the girl who’s having the most fun in the room, not because she’s in control but because she’s with her friends and that’s all she needs. As good at style as the Alpha Female, she’s probably in something fun or funky, something thrown together but equally as high concept. She needs someone to sometimes take control as she finds things get too convoluted or complex and waffles of decision making. While probably not the sexual aggressor, she carefully manipulates situations so that men approach her.
3. And then there is the desperate whore who, like the Alpha and Betas, wants to be the center of attention and will do what’s needed to be it. However unlike her classier counterparts, she makes a fool of herself by not reading the necessary social clues to gracefully back out of a conversation when her advances are merely making someone uncomfortable. If she is dressed in a slutty sort of way, it’s not ironically but under the guise of attracting sexual partners. She makes out with women not because she likes the girl she’s kissing but for the attention of men around her. (Which is the worst possible reason to kiss a girl.) The nail on her coffin – she drinks Bud Light not for the blue-collar appeal or fond under-age drinking memories, but because she honestly thinks it tastes like good beer.
So there you have it adventurer of social scenes. Three types of women. (Psst, I’m a Beta Female.)