I’m going to present to you a quotation from the writings of a respected Dominant in the BDSM Lifestyle, Orpheus Black. In this passage, which I’ve trimmed a bit for length, He talks about why “Alpha” women not only make excellent submissives, but also why they are highly desired by certain Doms. He references Dr. Marianne Schmid Mast, a (social) psychologist who writes eloquently about, among other things, “Interpersonal Hierachy Expectation” which, to me as a feminist woman, is fascinating. After His passage, I elaborate a bit, as I feel what He says also applies to people in “vanilla” (or non-BDSM) relationships.
Her IHE scale goes as follows:
- 1. If people work together on a task, one person is always taking the lead.
- 2. Every group needs to have someone with extra power and authority to be sure that things get done properly.
- 3. It is probably a good thing that certain people are at the top and other people are at the bottom.
- 4. Usually, people are very happy when someone takes charges and lets them know how things should be done.
- 5. In general, it is necessary that some people subordinate themselves to a leader.
- 6. To get ahead in life, it is sometimes necessary to step on others.
- 7. I feel more comfortable if I know the hierarchical structure of a group of people I’m introduced to.
- 8. It is best if some people only contribute their ideas so others can make decisions.
Feminist women are almost always perceived as being tough-as-nails, take charge leaders who don’t want to answer to anyone and who want to control everything, all for the sake of proving their equality to men. This simply isn’t true, not even of the MAJORITY of us, yet it is the stigma with which we live. I’d like to think women who identify as “feminist” are intelligent enough to have researched feminism and have made the choice to “come out” as feminist consciously and bravely, despite the negative stereotypes. Yes, some of us are rather strong-willed, outspoken, capable leaders and independent thinkers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. With such a personality and though process, we’re more than likely intelligent enough to recognize that we cannot control everything or lead every time. It is simply impossible and counterproductive to our desires to live happy, balanced lives with minimal stress. bullet points 4 and 5 speak directly to ME, as I am a leader who relishes in relinquishing control in certain situations. I recognized long ago that I cannot do everything and make every decision, and that has informed the psychological choices related to my submission.
Here is what Sir Orpheus Black says…
“Can an Alpha female truly submit? Yes, an Alpha female can submit but it is contingent upon her IHE (Interpersonal Hierarchy Expectation). Marianne Schmid Mast defines IHE “as expecting dominance hierarchy’s to be present or to form in interpersonal interactions or relationships… It is expected that individuals share specific performance expectations for different group members. These performance expectations are based on external status cues. Through the mechanism of self-fulfilling prophecy expectations affect personal perception and as a consequence, the information of a hierarchy within a group” (i.e. People who expect interpersonal hierarchies are prone to perceive hierarchies in interactions and relationships and because our BDSM lifestyle is so deeply rooted in hierarchy it is easy for a person to not only perceive interpersonal hierarchies but there place in them).
This is why a sub can [exhibit] a dominant personality in his/her work hierarchy, then come home and submit sexually and emotionally to someone that s/he perceives sits higher up on his/her interpersonal hierarchy.
I feel that issues arise with the addition of perceived expectation. Every sub has basic criteria that s/he feels a Dominant should possess and early on in the relationship s/he bases a person’s position in their dynamic solely on perception and the limited information they have about the dominant. In order for the sub to continue to perceive that person as dominant, S/He must be able to continue to perform up to the sub’s expectation of what it means to be dominant… (sexually, physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, financially etc…) . To me, the only difference between your A type submissive and your Alpha is that Alphas set the bar for their dominants higher and require a person that completely personifies there expectation.
I think that it is often hard for Alphas to find companionship because so many Dominants can’t or don’t want to be under the kind of constant pressure that relationship with an Alpha sub entails. But isn’t that the whole point of being an Alpha anything… having the strength and ability to stand on your own until the right person comes along and not settling for Mister or Miss Right Now….?
Lastly, Marianne Schmid Mast defines dominance as “having or striving for control or influence over another and (or) as having privileged access to restricted resources.” The “Alpha” sub has a very high self-worth and feels that granting access to his or her resources is a privilege for those that are worthy and not a right by title. This is why I personally respect, long for and require this rare commodity.”
I wanted to speak to the bolded point, which I think exists even in vanilla relationships. Some people settle for being with partners who don’t quite meet their expectations and/or standards because they understand, all too well, that being with such a person requires more from them than they’re willing or able to provide. I get a lot of questions about relationship dynamics that center around this idea of the lack of reciprocation. A number of women, especially, lament that they encounter men who recognize them for all of their greatness but who won’t commit or substantiate a relationship because they aren’t in a place to do so. Or I get laments about being hurt by men who couldn’t “handle” them.
Ego and selfishness is a big part of it, as is the need for companionship at almost any cost. Unfortunately, dynamic people are finding themselves settling and dealing with people who simply cannot handle stepping up and providing for all of their needs. It’s lonely at the top, what can I say? When you hold yourself in high regard, others will too. Some might be intimidated in the sense that they begin to question not only if they can handle it, but if they can meet your needs and wants without failing; no one wants to feel like a failure. Isn’t it easier to feel like a winner when you’ve conquered a mediocre challenge?
Yet, there are still those out there who appreciate the challenge that is an “Alpha” woman because the “challenge” keeps them on their toes, keeps them sharpening up their game, and keeps them motivated to be better. When you’re discontent with mediocrity and want the best out of life, you are more than likely going to seek a partner who encourages that and pushes you towards greatness. What better woman to do that than a woman on a similar path and track as you? Don’t dismiss her as being hard to deal with because clearly many of us are not only capable of submission, but we seek it and crave it.