Why is the Alpha always a male?


#1

Not only the idea of the Alpha male and hierarchical structure in wolf packs is completely outdated in favor of a more family-based structure with a breeding pair as leaders, but also female Alphas exert dominance other females the same as males do to other males. But not only that; wolf packs are almost always matrilinear, which means that the mother is the one determining the lineage, not the father. In fact, when the Alpha female dies, her mate often leaves the pack to look for another female, while one of her daughters become the next Alpha.

But hey, I’m not trying to bore you to death with a canine behavior lesson. What I’m trying to say is that female Alphas aren’t “rare”, as many books portray, but more like the opposite. Yet, in the werewolf genre, the made-up hierarchies keep portraying females as followers, and very rarely as leaders. I find this very sad, and even more when most of these stories are written by women and have female main characters. There’s nothing wrong with not being the Alpha, I just want to remind you that there’s nothing in the wolf nature that implies the leader has to be a boy.


#2

The thing is with Wattpad werewolf stories is that a vast majority of them take no consideration towards real wolf packs at all because fantasy.

I have had female leads in a few of my books, female Alpha’s and even an evenly matched pair but where I’ve stopped using the lead female as Alpha has served to push my plot along. So while one of my packs might have a female Alpha another pack doesn’t share the same values and still see’s masculinity as strength and will have a male alpha, another pack may just be a family unit so the parents and their extended family who don’t welcome anyone new unless its partnered with one of their kids etc.

But those are just mine, lots of people and even lots of readers still prefer the male dominance which is why its so popular still.


#3

It’s a trope I think. WP is so saturated, though I think it’s starting to come around that females are these weak lil wolves, but are just as good as any other.

I can say I value my alpha females and alpha males in my book :slight_smile:


#4

I had almost give up hope that anyone knew anything about genuine lupine social dynamics.
I have the feeling these tropes began the same way that those ridiculous pick artist cults started, the ones that sell the idea that women are stupid and slaves to their biology and can be tricked into thinking any guy can be an ‘alpha’ and bed any women they want as long as they pay ridiculous amounts of money for the seminars and books.
There were some studies on wolves done way way back on captive wolves that weren’t related and yes, they formed a rigid, dominance based hierarchy over breeding rights and researchers assumed that was natural. They also assumed any same-sex interactions were displays of dominance. These assumptions were heavily influenced by the biases of the time but they fit a very marketable, hetero-normative male-centric narrative and now become so entrenched in tropes and cliches that people don’t even think about it let alone question it.


#5

In my Universe, wolves aren’t titled Alpha’s because they have the position of Alpha. My female MC is an Alpha wolf, but her eldest brother is the Alpha of the Pack – the leader.

However, once he dies she assumes the role of Alpha, the dynamic is kind of strange as her mate is the Alpha of another pack. The power roles are rather odd, as once their packs are merged – the pack has both a male and female Alpha, rather than a male Alpha and a female Luna.


#6

It’s not uncommon in my book, but some packs are sexist, not for wolf reasons, but because humans suck and put other people down. My MC eventually becomes an Alpha herself, which is when she begins to encounter other packs, some of which have co-alphas and some are male and some are female.


#7

I think it’s just that most of the werewolf authors are women so they like to represent their ideal males as Alphas … :joy: I am “half-kidding”. There is also the fact that most of the audience is feminine and the oldest werewolf books were written that way, so there is some sort of sacralization of that male Alpha, the model, and it becomes almost rude to attempt to change that image of the dominant male, the opinion grew fond of the stereotype and heavens know how hard it’s to get rid of the clichés. The notion of female Alphas does probably not interest a lot of readers (I’d be honest, they don’t interest me Alphas or not lol) so authors tend to choose the secure beaten track rather than concretely provoking the unknown, dangerous even, change. That’s my theory :thinking:


#8

Then I think what you mean is that she’s a dominant wolf, not an Alpha. Alpha is simply a word that means leader of a wolf pack. A pack can only have two leaders, the breeding pair, or just a single one. A dominant wolf is a wolf who has the potential to become Alpha, but for whatever reason hasn’t become one.

This isn’t odd at all, as it is how real wolf packs work. I don’t see anything rare in it. The word Luna, however, is something I’ve never heard of. I guess it’s a trope of the genre, but as far as I know, it has nothing to do with wolves.


#9

No, in my universe the word “Alpha” has multiple meanings. You are an Alpha if you have Alpha blood, and generally, those who have Alpha blood are in line to become the leaders of packs also called Alpha’s. My MC is still an Alpha in the sense that she is of Alpha blood, but she is not the Alpha (leader) of her pack (until she does become it).

I see this as a matter of not “well this is actually what it is” but rather – it’s my universe and that’s how it works in my universe. There aren’t specific definition rules every Werewolf author has to abide by.

That’s interesting. I’ve always found that the mates of Male Alpha’s are generally called Luna’s. I like how that isn’t always the case.


#10

Personally I find the entire “alpha” concept pretty irritating, considering that the entire “alpha wolf” thing is mostly a myth that came out of only observing wolves in captivity. Wild wolves do not really have the same degree of hierachie - and what hierachie there is mostly originates from what is parcieved as the “alpha couple” being the parents of the other members. As werewolf packs rarely have this dynamic, the entire alpha thing does not make sense to me.

Which is why I cannot stand the entire alpha trope and won’t use it for my werewolves. My main werewolf pack has a leader though. Who is female. And aroace.


#11

they do have Alpha males and females, so I am not understanding


#12

I do understand where people are coming from on this thread. I think it comes down to in the Werewolf genre, most writers are writing from more of a fantasy point of view where things are a little bit altered for dramatic flair and interesting social dynamics. Rather than actually taking into account how real wolves act in the wild. And in wild packs there is a dominant breeding pair, which we have labeled the Alpha male and female for convenience. In most werewolf stories this is translated into the Alpha and Luna (Alpha female). I’ve seen the term Luna used a couple a times, and it’s just to stop any confusion between when it comes to readers telling the difference between characters. I use it myself. However because quite a large demographic of readers like to see a powerful dynamic in a relationship, writers often use a possessive ‘Alpha Male’ trope, as its easy to do and builds tension between multiple characters. It can be an interesting tool to use, but it sure as hell shouldn’t be the defining trait of a plot important male character. In my opinion, Alphas and Lunas are equally as important as one another, so that’s how I write them in my stories. I like to take inspiration from Hayao Miyazaki’s quote, “Many of my movies have strong female leads- brave, self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe with all their heart. They’ll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a savior. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man.”


#13

That basically sums it up there.


Although, in reference to the OP, I’d like to point out that werewolves are not wolves. They are human/wolf shifters.

For mine, I really embraced the combination of wolf and human. They have a lot of “wolfish” tendencies, but they operate with a human brain at the same time.

There are more Alphas that are males, but there are a few Alpha females.

My females are also just as strong, if not stronger, than the males as well. They are also highly regarded, and I even have a group of them that are called the “matriarchs” that deal with the religious aspect of society. Essentially, they have a lot of males that lead, but the females are just as capable. It’s just a preference to have the males be the official “alphas”.