The Mr Grey phenomenon is yet another example of women loving a strong man.  Although I am not suggesting we all want to be dominated or whipped there is something pretty seducing about a man who is in his alpha flow – strong, powerful,  in control and maybe a little naughty!  My alpha of choice is my husband but in my fantasy it is always Russell Crowe, particularly as Maximus!  But when I ask other women Colin Farrell, Jason Statham, Liam Neesom and Hugh Jackman are mentioned on a regular basis.

Pretty boys like Jude law, Zach Efron or Rob Lowe and metrosexuals like David Beckam, Russell Brand and Ewan McGregor  have their place but nothing powers our fantasies and makes our heart flutter  like an alpha, but why ?

They make us feel cherished, feminine and safe.  They position us as their number one priority and we feel certainty around them.  We feel protected and girlie.  But it’s not all about macho, macho, an element of sensitivity and/or emotional intelligence is needed too.  Let’s not forget Neanderthals are extinct for a reason!  Alphas let their guard down for the woman they love and their children and they also need a woman in her feminine flow to make a perfect partnership so where have they all gone I hear you say?  This all sounds a bit movie star and not real life eh?  I can assure you they are out there.

But maybe they are  feeling disempowered?  Confused about what we want and hiding, or trying to morph into someone new?

I have talked before on this blog about how as women we are pioneering our way through a new world and maybe this has an impact.  We are changing, in many households we are now bread winners, we can raise children alone, we are financially independent,  we can and do own property and we are no longer prepared to stay in a relationship that is not working.  We are rocking our world and sometimes this gives the wrong messages to men.  It says we don’t need you.  It projects an element of self sufficiency that makes him feel redundant.  It says we are in control and do not need looking after!  Now I am going to go out on a limb here when I say many of us are attracting the men we deserve!

Over the past 10 years I have worked with thousands of women and the biggest gripe about men goes like this ‘He never makes any decisions, I have to do it all, he is so laid back so I end up doing everything.’  They feel alone in the relationship, often taking on too much male energy and then losing their feminine sassy.  Quite rightly they crave attention and compliments but as they have hidden their vulnerability their man is not sure what to do and they both start to behave out of character.  The bottom line, these women have no certainty.  The one thing we need and the one thing an alpha male delivers.  Somewhere along the line individual identities and roles are getting confused.  Now before you get antsy and start ranting at me –  this is not about who earns the most money, who washes up or who checks the tyres on the car.  Real men are not phased by modern day living just as real women are not phased by taking a seat around the  boardroom table, it is more basic than any of this.

It is about both of us living our truth and being in balance, the yin yang thing!.  Many women end up shifting their identity so much in a relationship they behave like their partner’s mother, keeper, master and boss and this is not attractive for either party.  No man wants to woo his mother! And no woman wants to get sassy with a wimp!

So before you despair at your man be sure you have not emasculated him. He can only step up and be the sensitive, modern alpha male you desire if you are giving him the space to and meeting his needs.  He needs to be acknowledged, admired and appreciated not nagged, controlled and ignored.

This is a huge subject, one I am sure will come up time and time again and create many debates.  In essence I am encouraging you to be comfortable in your feminine skin – be confident and self assured, mysterious, nurturing, emotional, smart, sexy, fun  and embrace your vulnerability and you will attract your polar opposite, Mr Alpha!

Oh Russell what have you started??  I did not mean this to turn into a Dr Phil sermon, I apologise but would love to hear your views as I am sure there will be many women out there who agree with me  and several  getting ready to lynch me!  Bring it on……


  1. Sean Handley

    I think it can work in both directions.

    I find I get a lot of conflicting signals from women about expectations. There’s the impression of a need for independence and power, and yet a want to be cherished, praised and looked after. It can be hard to know when to step up and when to back down.

    Communication (and a willingness to get this all out in the open) is the only way I see through.

    There’s a tendency to overthink it on both sides. I actually think men and women’s needs aren’t as different as our historical roles have led us to believe. I’m a man and I want to be cherished and looked after, as well as be protective and providing. I don’t want a woman who’s a shrinking violet – I want someone with ideas, drive and the ability to go out and get what they want.

    Power and drive is attractive on both sides!

    1. janekenyon

      thanks for the comments Sean, good to hear a male persoective and I agree we all think a bit too much sometimes!

  2. Heather

    Well said Jane, It is something I really identify with and eventually left my partner of 15 years for the reasons you mentioned, no decisions, no lead, not enough assertiveness. I too , believe this is the reason for the popularity of My Grey. (I havnt read it but from a one page excerpt that I read I immediately knew he had been abused as a child.) I have no aversion to S & M but do recognise when this is the case. I believe playing with power in the bedroom can be healthy as long as you know why !
    My current partner, I recommended a book to him, ‘The superior Male’ and I am grateful that he chose to read it. Don’t let the title put you off. He understands me as a female better but more importantly it resonated with deep needs he had to appreciate his alpha male . His own father wasnt around much and he now sees even more the value that men have to our children. He is great with my son and I am grateful to him. In the move to empower women , I believe we need to empower men with us. this is the new feminism.

  3. Manjir

    Jane I am not sure I understand. I have never needed a man for me to be ‘cherished, feminine and safe’. The men you mention as alpha men as opposed to ‘pretty boys’ are probably like that due to shutting down of their emotions and that is why Russel Crowe’s character appears so strong in the film – he kills people. And to do that you need to shut down your connection to the humanity of another. It is then a tall order to ask of these very same men who are shut down and therefore aloof to suddenly become emotionally present for you.

    A really strong man can deal with their emotions – that is true strength not the illusion of strength. A really strong man has stayed connected to himself and others and feels empathy. This is a tall order in a culture that teaches boys exactly the opposite – that being ‘tough’ and not showing emotion is good. And also – that you are not ‘other’ as in a woman or gay. Because to be so is to lose your dominant position in society and so it is imperative to shut down anything that looks like the ‘other’. They are also taught to keep ‘other’ at a distance.

    Some women want men to be everything, but when they show their emotions they call them ‘wimps’. Isn’t it about we women healing the need to be ‘protected’ and realising we are powerful in ourselves?

    And why do women become nags and do everything? Well sociological studies from the 00s have shown that men stop doing household chores once moving in with a woman regardless of their incomes. Even in households where a man is unemployed and the woman works full time, she still does most of the work with the least credit although I think Gen X behave differently now.

    The reasons are complex and have been discussed at length but maybe to do with men wanting to hold onto the dominant position in society – housework is seen as the domain of the subordinate – the ‘other’.

    Women don’t want to do all the thinking and the work – they want equality but are left holding the baby. And they nag because they feel duped at the injustice of it all.
    This is why 50% of women under 50 have never been married. (June 2012) They are choosing not to as it has been shown time and again that women lose out under marriage with greater rates of depression etc.

    “It says we are in control and do not need looking after!” – turns out this is true for many women but they would gladly be with a man if the were getting something better and more equal than at present.

    I believe we need to give a different option for boys from the start. Don’t ridicule them for feeling emotions and educate women that men who feel empathy and show emotion are not weak and to be laughed at. The so-called Alpha males are really the weak ones. The ones who use brute force rather then love to interact with others because something in them died a long time ago and they haven’t had the strength to heal. But underneath every alpha male is the little boy who shut down long ago – back in his fullness just waiting to be expressed and to show love and connection.

    I also don’t understand the need for a man to place me at the centre. We all need to put ourselves at the centres of our own lives male and female. We don’t need someone else to do that for us.

    And then maybe we can love each other for the fullness of who we are, side by side, not the expectations of what we are not. This is not ‘alpha’ vs ‘pretty boy’ this is healing and expressing the fullness within – all of us.

    1. janekenyon

      Thanks for joining the debate Manjir, always a pleasure to absorb your viewpoint. I agree with many of your viewpoints and I do think we need to educate boys differently. I am not suggesting a woman needs a man to validate her or make her strong but i do think our yin yang nbalance is way out of whack!


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