Alpha Female: 10 Types of Leading Women

alpha female dressed in red on a throne

Alpha females are driven, high-power women who actively pursue their goals and take responsibility for their life.

Being a high-powered woman is not easy.
But the best alpha females can combine femininity with power.

This article shows you the different types of alpha females, and how you can spot them -or become one-.

alpha female sitting on a throne

The Types of Alpha Females

These are some of the main types of alpha females:

1. Sexual Alpha Female

The sexual alpha female is the woman who is comfortable with her sexuality and is not afraid of leading all her interactions with a constant vibe of hinted -or not so hinted- sexuality.

She might add a touch of (fake) baby-innocence, naivete and even madness, like Marilyn Monroe.
All extremely powerful in driving men crazy.
Look at Monroe’s facial expression, a mix of orgasms, madness and the promise of never-ending sensual abandon:

At the extreme end of sexuality she can be “all in your face”. This alpha female revels in making people socially -and sexually- squirm in her presence.

Think of Sharon Stone and her “leg crossing” in Basic Instincts.

Don’t confuse her with the histrionic…

The sexual alpha female should not be confused though with the histrionic woman, who puts on an act of sexual abandon to fill her craving for attention.

The difference between the histrionic and alpha female is all in the results.

While histrionic women spin their wheels in sexuality and go nowhere in life, the top sexual alpha female knows how to leverage her sexual power to go where she wants to go and get what she wants to get.

The High-Functioning Sociopath Alpha Females

Most high-functioning female sociopaths have a strong sexual charge, and fully leverage their sexuality for power.

Sharon Stone is in Basic Instinct is the Hollywood representation of a high-functioning sociopath.
In this forum entry I describe my romance with a high-functioning alpha female sociopath:

Fake Sexual Alpha Female

Another easy-to confuse low-quality variant is the woman who always introduces talks, jokes and references sex.

The alpha female owns her sexuality and uses it to get what she wants and to put pressure on the people around.

The low quality, wannabe alpha female instead hides behind sexuality. She has the rebellious streak of a child and she is nervous and insecure.

Madonna at Letterman was one such example:

Confidence and power are not synonymous of “fame” and success, and you can see there is no real confidence and power there.

2. The Butch Alpha Female

Pardon the name, no intention of being offensive, but it just makes sense.

The butch alpha female resents the femininity of some women, resents the social pressure of “having to conform to feminine ideals” and she makes it a point to stress her un-femininity.

The butch alpha-female is often politically far away from the mainstream. She can be a hard-core feminist, a no-global or even a militant in a subversive group.

Usually men don’t like butch alphas… Unless she’s hot.
In which case, her masculine traits can make her all the more fascinating to some men.
Including making her the darling of men hiding homosexual tendencies, as Robert Greene brilliantly points out in The Art of Seduction.

Uma Turman in the movie “Beautiful Girls” plays a butch alpha female:

Notice her exaggerated, un-feminine movements.
Making fun of the guy’s bald head, a typical one-upping male game, and then kissing that head, an overly-dominant move.
Then jumping across the bar like a male teenager, and later pouring shots like a truck-driving barfly.

3. The Alpha (Fe)Male

When the alpha female completely leaves behind her feminine traits, she assumes all the qualities -and limitations- of the alpha male.

When that happens, it’s the female genitalia that qualifies her as an alpha female, but from a social power point of view, she’s otherwise playing by male rules.

These women are very rare.
When you read in the history books of women leading armies or taking up arms, they sometimes are alpha (fe)males.
And some other times they are exaggerated and romanced works of literature where they served more as inspiration for the armies than actually leading the fighting themselves.

joan d'arc alpha femaleJoan D’arc, leading armies, is a historical exception (and likely wasn’t nearly as feminine as this portrait)

4. The Feminine Alpha

The feminine alpha is a woman who apparently shows no interest in power.
Except for securing a man who does hold power, that is.

But don’t go thinking these are gold diggers.
These are high quality women who get high quality men, as simple as that -and no, this is not an endorsement of Donald Trump below, but for many women quality and power often go hand in hand fellas-.

Many wives of tycoons, high-quality men and super driven men are feminine alphas.
They take a step back and avoid the limelight unless they really have to.
But when they have to… They do it with class and tact.

Feminine alphas, together with sexual alpha females, are the most lusted for women, albeit by different cohorts.
Feminine alphas tend to appeal more to high quality males while sexual alphas slightly more to the masses -but then again, the appeal is so broad on the male population that there is huge overlap-.

alpha female malania trump
Our political credos notwithstanding, Melania Trump is a feminine alpha female

Trump has explained it better than I could:

Interviewer: you said that women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they’re real killers.
Trump: I feel that the smart ones are the ones that really go out and do it, without waving the banner of women’s liberation.

Exactly right.

5. The Ultimate Alpha Female

The ultimate alpha female combines the assertiveness and cunning of her male counterpart with the femininity and sexual energy of her female side.

Her ability to switch from “in need of protection female” to assertive hard driver makes her a versatile player who can get a man to do the hard work for her and lead herself when she has to.

Old school, highly driven and successful women were very good at this.
Their hunger and fierce independence allowed them to go toe-to-toe with their male counterparts.
But living in a more repressive, male-dominated and not yet feminist-imbibed society they had to develop their femininity.

alpha female sophia loren

Sophia Loren always struck me as a woman who could flawlessly marry the two sides.

Please check this picture and look at those tiger eyes. Dripping lust of pure feminine power. She mixes the sexual, the assertive and the feminine all into one.
Spectacular.
Heaven must be a place guarded by Ultimate Alpha Females :).

Recent Example

More recently and to have a visual reference, the character of Pam Grier in Jackie Brown is a good example.

Going from sensually chill:

To assertive and cut-throating:

But even more, I like the portrait of Claudia Cardinale in “Once Upon a Time in the West”.

See the analysis and video here:

6. The Charming Alpha Female

The charming alpha female has mastered social skills to a T.

She revels in social environments and no matter her age, she’s always the queen.

But she’s not a club queen or a big group entertainer: her biggest power lies within small groups or one-to-one conversations.
She talks to you and makes you feel like you’re the only one in the world.

The charming alpha female smiles warmly, like she’s really happy to see you. When she asks you how you have been she puts a hand on your arm to emphasize the emotional bond. And then she floors you when she asks of something you really care about, something you’d never think anybody would remember in a million years.
But the charming alpha female does, because that’s her power: people.

Everyone loves her, and everyone thinks the world of her.

Similar to the feminine alpha, She is perfect to go along with a high quality man, since she complements him well. They won’t quarrel over who’s in the leadership role and she makes for a great partner to accompany him to functions, balls and gala dinners.

Charming alpha females defy age, a constant issue for more sexual females, because her power is not based on either aggression or looks.

But then again, don’t listen to me, I have a soft spot for a smart and feminine woman with great social skills… :).

7. The Behind The Curtain Mistress of Puppets

These are the women who officially defer to a man.. But who actually control him.

Most women control their relationships anyway, but with alpha males it’s not always as easy.
It takes indeed… An alpha female.

The game of control of influence among alphas can actually end up being an up and down of emotional swings, male obstinacy to subdue an unconquerable woman and a game of chicken as to who needs the other the least.
But alas, she exerts huge power of him.

Cleopatra with Mark Antony is one of the most famous historical examples. But, more recent and better documented, Josephine also had Napoleon eating out of her alpha palms.

And, of course, mistresses behind the curtains might much more frequent than we think. But we’ll never know because these alpha females know that their power is strongest when those curtains keep them in the dark.

8. The Driven Alpha Female

Driven alpha females are women with big goals, ambition and passions.

Sometimes they put their own personal life on the backburner and don’t start families. And if they do, they still keep working on their goals and dreams… Hard.

Oprah is another example, albeit sometimes she overdoes it:

“Driven” alpha female doesn’t mean that she has to be any less feminine, though.

Mother Teresa was also a driven alpha female.
An example for us all, she shows us all that you don’t need to be aggressive or overbearing to lead the change that you want to see in the world.

9. The “Pussy Power” Alpha Female

On the fringes of the alpha females galaxy lays the pussy power alpha females.

I call them “pussy power”, which sounds endearing, but it’s not really a healthy form of power.

Growing up with feminist ideals they see themselves as the banner carriers of pussy power in a world of (repressive) men.
They make it a point that they “don’t need a man” and (secretly) harbor resentment against a world that is (still) dominated by men (in their opinion at least).

They do use their sex appeal, more and better than butch alpha females, but contrary to the Ultimate Alpha Females many of the Pussy Power gang haven’t developed their femininity quite as well and powerfully.

Which is a huge pity as they don’t realize that by dropping the combative mindset and embracing their full femininity they might live a happier, freer life –and get double the power-.

They can flash boobs and asses, especially if it helps to sell. But they do so in a more aggressive fashion, as if to scream to men:

you’d like it, but you don’t get any. And I might as well give it to another woman. Who needs a man anyway“.

I don’t mean disrespect towards the subject of this example, and I don’t know her well enough, so take it simply as the first example that came off the top of my head.
Lilly Singh felt to me was leaning towards the pussy power alpha female:

alpha female pussy power

Unneeded appeal to “girl love” and generalizing the behavior of a few idiots to the whole male population are sometimes signs that bitterness has crept in and mental radicalization has taken place.
That’s when an otherwise top-notch alpha female becomes a darker, “pussy power” alpha female.

10. The Abrasive (Fake) Alpha

Finally, special note goes to the “fake” alpha women.

These are women who yell, subdue, and aggress.

They are mostly value-taking aggressive women, and they often struggle to remain at the top because of their uncalibrated and largely poor social skills.

Similar to the histrionic woman, behind a facade of confidence and determination they over-extend and crash and burn in a fiery ball of fury, fire, and smoke.

Sometimes these women are political animals in the workplace or straight-up sociopaths. Women in sex professions such as hookers and strippers tend to grow rough around the edges and end looking like alphas, but not always high-quality ones.
They seem strong and hard-driving, but their flare ups make their lives more difficult than it should be -both to them and to the people who share their lives with them-.

Tyra Banks had a famous Fake Alpha Female moment:

This is obviously not submissive and it’s clear she’s the leader of the pack. But it’s not “high quality alpha female leader”.
It’s out of control, abusively aggressive.
Most high quality, emotionally stable people would frown upon with disapproval.
Top-quality (female) leaders don’t behave like that unless there is a real reason or an emergency.

Signs of Alpha Females

Female expressions of power is often different than male expressions of power.

It often ends up being more indirect and subdued.
And also the signs you need to watch for more are more indirect and subdued.
Here are some of them:

1. Other Women Point at Her

When they are standing in a group, you will notice that most other women turn towards one particular woman with their bodies or their feet.
That woman is often standing in the center, and she is the alpha female of the group.

Whenever there is a lull in the conversation or when people are not sure what to do, the other women will look at alpha female.
See here an example from Mad Men (girl in blue who says “lovely to see you”):

2. Other Women Follow Her Cues

Humans are social animals, both men and women. But women, even more so.
This means that women are very attuned to what the group says and does and, most of all, to what the alpha female says and does.

3. Punishments and Rewards

The alpha female makes the rules within the group. And while most women would not say anything or simply let a mistake slip, they are not afraid of stepping in.

4. Alphas Can Socially Destroy Other Women

In the case of really powerful alpha females, they can single-handedly decide on who’s in or who’s out, who gets a nice social boost or gets the boot.

For fairness to Tyra, here is another example where she cracks the whip in extremely effective way -albeit possibly too ruthlessly-:

5. When The Alpha Leaves, There is a Big Shift

Here is an interesting social phenomenon and a good way to understand the social standing of the alpha in the group.

When a group member leaves, little changes.
But when the alpha leaves, the group dynamics change abruptly.

If the group loved the alpha female and she was the glue of the group, there will be a sudden drop in social interactions and everyone will be looking around for the new leader.

But if the group hated the alpha, there will be an increase of smiles and social interactions. It’s as if the group was finally liberated of a tyrant and now they can finally be themselves.

5. Hatred & Drama Among Two Women

Alphas can co-exist… Barely.

You might see instances of two women at the top who start a partnership and rule together.
Or you can see a big flare up where they contend the top spot and both hate each other.

However, the final alpha female is always the one who stays. And the one who leaves has just relinquished the top spot to the real alpha female.

Samantha Jones, should be on any list of apha females :).

6. They take charge when you approach one of her hens

God this one has annoyed the hell out of me more than a few times.

You approach a shy girl in her group because you like her… But guess who replies? The meddling alpha female of the group of course.

I specifically remember once when I was talking to a shy cute girl and she liked me. And I liked her too.
And then the alpha female stepped in asking me questions and interrupting our flow. In the beginning I was confrontational with her hoping the shy girl could step up to “reclaim” me.

So I told the alpha female I was having a good conversation with her friend and if she didn’t mind we would like to keep it that way, one to one.
But nope, she stayed there and the shy girl was too shy to step out of her alpha’s long shadow.

So I tried to be more friendly towards her alphaness, but she would still monopolize the conversation and step on the poor shy girl’s toes.

In the end, Miss Alpha did not “allow” her hen to exchange contacts.
Talking about beyond annoying alpha females :).

How Women Express Power

We can’t do a proper article on alpha females without first prefacing it with some female power theory.

Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain says that women in new situations will not look for pecking order like men do, but for connections.

And the same approach can be found for social power.
Indeed, while men are more focused on top-down hierarchy, women tend to have a more social approach to power: they look for alliances.

Punishment and dominance are more subtle and happen more in terms of social inclusion or social exclusions (the “shunning game” is a typical female political game).
Indeed some authors said that while men have and “up and down” approach to power, women more often present an approach of “in or out”.

Wide Variety of Alpha Females

There are a few different ways of being an alpha male.
But they are not too dissimilar.

There are far more ways to be an alpha female.
And they can all be very different.

This goes back to the different styles of dominance and the differences between genders.
A man can hardly use a female style of power and be considered an alpha male.

But a woman has more leeway.
She might use very feminine ways of wielding power and she’d be an alpha female.
Or she can use more typically masculine ways of wielding power. In that case, she would not be considered a feminine woman, but she’d  still be an alpha female anyway.

The Role of Alpha Females

A good, strong group of women needs an alpha woman.

When there is no alpha there is no conductor. The players look around, waiting for someone to take the lead, but nobody steps up.
Group conversation is poor, stalls or is hijacked by social burdens who shouldn’t be leading in the first place.
But without a leader, there is little the group can do to regain its footing: it’s at the mercy of the events -and of poor improvised conductors-.

The alpha female instead functions as the main conductor. She dictates the music (topics), the tempo and the mood.
In difficult social situations, she will carry the day. If one of her girlfriend is in difficult waters, she will step in to socially rescue her. If someone interrupts, she will throw them off the bus.

If she is a bad alpha female, it will be a bad dance.
But if she is good, everyone gets to play and have fun.

Walking The Alpha Line

The alpha female is not an easy role.

It’s more difficult than being an alpha male.

An alpha female has the tough job of “walking the line” between the more assertive and controlling male traits and the more typically reserved female ones.

If she goes too into the male traits, she can become gender deviant. And nobody would say so in the current political climate of PC, but the truth is that most people -and men- would condone and accept a man for being too aggressive.
But most people -and men- are much less likely to grant the same benefit to women.

In my opinion, this is one of the reasons why Hillary Clinton lost the election -or you can read her own excuses in What Happened, if you prefer-. She went too much into the masculine.
It might not sound fair, but reality could care less of what we think is fair and unfair.

Furthermore, if alpha females care about it, going too much on the male side would make her lose lots of points in the dating arena.

However, walking the line is not impossible.
Much respect and much spoils to be earned to those women who venture and succeed.

Here are some resources to help them along the way:

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