While the designation ‘Alpha’ is normally applied to men, it does apply to women. Only if you isolate it to the harem situation do you exclusively single out the male gender, otherwise it is encompasses far more. Since people normally speak of dominant sexual roles for men, it’s easy to get into a habit of conflating the two. There’s another way to look at it, however.
The process of evolution resulted in behavioral modifications. But those models, such as the harem, buck, rooster, pack, herd, water buffalo, prey, or predator routines are not ends in themselves. They weren’t created, adapted, or modified just to be. They were there to do something: a job, a goal, a function.
Essentially, nature has no preference for some style or form of power or order. If things work better, that is the way it is. There is no self-deception in the fabric of reality. It does not have fetishes, preferences, or ideological goals. It doesn’t need things to be one way rather than another, for fear of the things we fear.
If you review modern Hollywood esque culture, you might notice that sex is marketed almost as an end in itself. Money, fame, glory, lack of inhibitions are all designed to produce pleasure, but only one specific type: sexual.
People who have grown up with this dream or utopia in their minds, tend to judge worth and value, especially self-value, in the number and quality of sexual partners. Anything that gets in the way, inhibitions, religious mores, self-control, self-discipline, awareness of risks, must be bypassed to get to the End Goal: sexual pleasure.
When they encounter the harem situation, one man being orbited by many attractive or young women, they immediately make the value judgment that this is high class or high value, something equated with strength or survival or whatever jumble of emotions one would call serenity/happiness.
Regardless of how many times they may speak with their mind about seeking the one thing that would make their life worthwhile, these archetypes, illusions, and utopian esque dreams are embedded in their unconscious thoughts from the time when they were very little and had no resistance to external stimuli. Children do not reject the world, but rather embrace it in the form of curiosity. They have no inhibitions, normally, that would prevent them from learning. They lack a formed political or self identity that would be threatened by the presence of new, counter-factual, or inconsistent datum. Because this was absorbed early on without question, the conscious and logical mind has a difficult time when it is necessary to challenge such premises. These were accepted as reality, with no resistance in the core of the self, much as one accepts that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. Not only is the answer not sought, but the question never even comes up. There’s no point questioning the fabric of reality, so people don’t do it. Not even when they should. Fables are at least recognized as not entirely true by adults. But when the whole world agrees that sex sells, there is an implicit assumption of power and validation there. There’s no reason to question, if one has imbibed this philosophical premise from an early age. But there is a reason.
The very act of life requires basic necessities. To get a clump of organisms together such that they are working together, providing security, food, water, and reproductive capacity for sustainment, requires functions: jobs that must be done. Cooperation requires more than just the intention or agreement of need, it requires an actual function or ability, a bridge, that must be created and then used. Over the eternity of this universe, this work in progress has been done, whether guided or unguided by a conscious determination.
Our single cell progenitors didn’t do their work for aeons just so we can reproduce ourselves. If reproduction was the end goal, that could have been accomplished a long time ago. Yet, single cells sacrificed their own existence for something greater. Never aware or aware in a way that cannot be perceived, during the aeons of existence on planet earth pure existence was sacrificed in favor of shorter, more complex, states. Reproduction, the sexual act and the incentives for it, is a means to an end. Because the ultimate goal of life cannot be accomplished in a year, or a thousand years, preparations must be made to continue beyond mortality. And while it would have been simple, in comparison, to simply reproduce a cell endlessly through copying and reproduction through splitting or duplication, it would not have produced more complex life. It would not have been able to serve the function of adapting to the world or to the fabric of reality. It would not have gotten stronger, nor have become self-aware.
It would be a mistake to lose sight of this goal in favor of what got us here in the first place. What got us here isn’t the end goal, it was the means to allow us to get here and it is the means by which we can use to create better functions to get us even farther. Getting stuck now, wasn’t the Game Plan to begin with.
When you see it that way, when you can look into the future and draw a line from where you are at to that point in the future, regardless of how nebulous the initial vision was, then you can reverse engineer what sex, relationships, and alpha leaders were supposed to be. There were seemingly unsurmountable problems dealing with how to create cooperation where there lacked a will or desire. But they were solved. If a plant cannot reason, it at least has one clear desire: sunlight. Its very being is designed for it and it will change itself to better acquire it. Failure or success is almost beside the point compared to that all encompassing desire.
The concept of hierarchy can be seen as a tool designed to deal with the problems of getting life together and making something out of the raw material. No single cell could produce, on its own, the necessary functions of life. Cooperation was mandatory, not an ideological whim. The moment the laws of the universe cooled down to this state, it became so. Yet, it was one thing to tell a hive or a clump of obedient cells what to do, another thing entirely to convince people with complex self-aware thoughts to do something specific. An alpha role was adapted for this purpose: the more complex the life, the more complex the coordination required. Any systemic failure will result in warfare, where organisms destroy each other rather than cooperate. This deficiency in resources could mean ultimate failure, so there preserves a motivation to fix failures using whatever was available.
If your cells could sing, all you would need to do was to listen to your own blood to see an example.
If it wasn’t for the magnetic shield this planet has, life would either not exist here or would have taken a different form entirely. Yet the end goal would never have changed, even if at the end of the universe, final entropy, that goal was still without concrete and precise form.