Gammas have taken over so much of popculture that their world view is strongly affecting our tropes.
A few years ago, I watched the anime series Death Note. Cataline Recommends with Enthusiasm, by the way. It is brilliantly written and meticulously crafted. It keeps you on the edge of your seat right until the last episode. If you are given to binging, then avoid this one until you have a lot of time on your hands.
Anyway, I really liked it. So when Netflix announced that they were streaming an Americanized version of it, I was cautiously interested. It turns out my caution was well merited.
Within five seconds of seeing Light Turner, I knew that they had blown the character completely.
They couldn’t have gotten it more wrong. Light Yagami, fits the Japanese trope of the “Top Student.” The Top Student is revered by his classmates for his intelligence. As the guy with the highest test scores is extremely high in status in Japanese high schools. He is also quite competent at athletics. Socially adept and physically attractive.
This is the Japanese version of Light Yagami.
And here is the horrible, Americanized version.
He is introduced writing cheat sheets for athletes. He is socially inept. Sexually undesirable. Physically weak and low in social status. An offbeat outsider. He is however, high in intelligence. In short, he’s a “nerd.” That’s his trope.
Whereas the highest status students in Light Turner’s school are quickly defined as being athletic, sexually desirable and quite stupid. And rewarded far beyond their merits simply on the basis of their good looks. In short, the “Popular Kids.”
Oh yes, and the Popular Kids are always bullying the Nerds. That is also a defining trait of the Popular Kid trope.
This is how you know that Gamma Males have been writing our tropes for a while. Because this is the Gamma viewpoint of high school.
And it’s all wrong.
Gammas are indeed bullied in high school and so far as the Gamma is concerned the guy bullying him. The guy who has all the power over him is at the top of the heap.
Except this is never the case.
The good looking quarterback invariably gets good grades because stupid boys can’t be quarterbacks. It’s a job where you juggling a hundred things in your head all at once, on the fly while you are physically exhausted and usually in pain. He had his college picked out by the time he was a sophomore. He is at the top of the social ladder and likely will be elected homecoming king.
In summary, the good looking quarterback fits the Japanese trope of Top Student to a tee.
And Gamma Males are invisible to them. The American Top Student doesn’t care about Gammas. He is unquestionably an Alpha male and those guys don’t bully. An Alpha’s biggest defining trait is protecting the health and cohesion of his group.
There is such a massive social divide between the two that the Gamma Male, in all likelihood, doesn’t know who the most popular boy in school actually is.
You see, to the Gamma Male, the most popular kid in school has to be his bully because that is the guy who is the biggest thing in his mind the whole time he is at school.
In truth, the Gamma’s bully, assuming he’s on the football team at all, is a lineman, not the quarterback. The bully is in the lower middle of high school status. He doesn’t have the hottest cheerleader, his girlfriend is the slut who couldn’t get picked for the pom-squad. He’s not too cool about the fact that he’s putting up with his own high school bullshit and a Gamma makes for a handy and safe target for his frustration because he knows they won’t fight back. He’s making sure that Gammas stay beneath him because he can’t afford to risk going any lower himself.
Yet, so far as Gammas are concerned, this loser is the most popular kid in school. Because he can’t imagine it being anyone else.
Since this image is now our cultural trope for the popular kid, in fact, our only one, you know who had to have come up with it.
If you want a more thorough evisceration Deathnote, here’s E;R’s