I posted this a few years ago on an old blog, but I feel it will tie into future posts.
Monday, December 3, 2007
The summer before my senior year of high school Newsweek printed this article Meet The Gamma Girls Newsweek Culture Newsweek.com
. It’s about the three types of girls that exist within girl culture: the Alpha females, the Betas, and the Gammas. According to the article, the alpha female is best characterized by the various incarnations of high school girls Kirsten Dunst portrayed (this was around her Bring it On
days). The alpha is able to find a balance between being “bitchy and nice”. The beta is the wannabe alpha, doing whatever she can to get people to like her. Then we have the focus of this article, “The Gamma Girl”. According to the author of the article the Gamma girl pretty much walks on water. She’s pretty, funny, smart, involved in sports and her community, she has her own ideas. She’s made of awesomeness.I’ll be honest, when read the article at 16 I was thrilled by the idea of the Gamma Girl because I identified with her. In the original article they had this chart of who each girl could be compared to Hollywood-wise, a list of her “interests”, and a brief description of her. “She loves Shakespeare!” Check. “She thinks Gwen Stefani rocks!” Check. “Her Hollywood crush is Tobey Maguire!” …errr Check?! My favorite part was the ideal Gamma Girl, Julia Stiles. Oh, how I adored Julia Stiles.
I found this article at work today, and I began thinking about the whole concept of Alphas vs Betas and Gammas (who avoids competing with alphas and betas). I’ve been thinking about these labels the past couple of months. Usually I applied them to men as I had been watching The Pickup Artist, which basically transforms beta males into alpha males (or so they say…). In the article, example of the “alpha female” is a blond narcissist, who will basically do anything to remain popular, and appears to have zero intellectual capabilities. This characterization contradicts the description on the handy little chart they provide us with, which tells us the alpha is aiming for an Ivy education (Princeton), and is heavily involved with student council. Hmm. Perhaps, the girls the article (not the chart, mind you) deemed as “alphas” are really “betas”?I’m beginning to wonder if there are any real alpha females out there, or if we label the pretty betas “alphas” because they whip their claws out to keep others in their place. Let’s think about it, would and actual alpha who can maintain a balance between being “bitchy and nice” (re: be assertive), resort to catty passive-aggressive ways? Would popularity matter to her? Honestly? What if the gamma girl, is really an Alpha in disguise? Maybe she got tired of some vapid eternal adolescent trying to compete with her, so she took herself out of the race by creating a new category?
For the last few cycles, I’ve avoided America’s Next Top Model; I don’t know how or why, but I got sucked into watching this season. Over the past few weeks we’ve gotten to know contestant Alexandria Everett, who has managed to piss off all of her housemates.
On last week’s episode, things reached the boiling point when Alexandria won the challenge and ended up with a brand new Ford Focus. To say the other girls were disappointed would be an understatement, but the most vocal of the group was Brittani–who couldn’t help but bitch to the other contestants. Unfortunately, she was overheard by the client, and Nigel Barker who brought these shenanigans up at panel. During the confrontation and again, when the issue was brought up in front of the judges, Alexandria was amazing. She knew exactly how to play the “poor little me” role and get Tyra’s sympathy, while Brittani came off a little cray-cray.
I have to take Brittani’s side in the drama-fest, I’ve lived with
crazy passive aggressive people. The problem with people like Alexandria is, they can be these wonderful rays of sunshine with those that they believe to be important, or those that just blindly think they’re super. However, if you don’t fit into either group, they really don’t mind making your life miserable. They’re also seasoned performers who know how turn on the waterworks to get out of situations. Once during a confrontation with a roommate over something mundane, she tried to fake cry. Alexandria also employs this tactic.
But, Brittani is young. She hasn’t learned to pick her battles. Nor has she learned who to engage with and who ignore. There’s a saying I like to keep in mind when dealing with people like Alexandria, “the more you try to prove someone’s crazy, the crazier you look.” I know plenty of people who haven’t caught on to that idea, and there are times when I struggle with it. The thing to remember is, people reveal who they truly are. For a time they may have others fooled, but eventually other people will realize something isn’t right.