Sigma Males or Sigma Male is a slang term referring to a supposed classification for men who are successful and popular, but also silent and rebellious, a type of man who likes to "play by his own rules." In most analyses, they are considered "equal" to Alphas on the hierarchy but live outside of the hierarchy by choice. John Wick has often been cited as a prominent example of a Sigma Male. After the discovery of the classification was unearthed by Twitter user @LilySimpson1312 in 2023, it was mocked online by people expressing distaste for the greek alphabet system of male classification. However, the term has since become widespread in memes and internet discourse, such as Sigma Stare and Sigma Male Grindset.
The term "Sigma Males" has been attributed to writer Vox Day, aka Theodore Robert Beale, a self-described Christian nationalist. On his blog, he often goes into detail explaining the hierarchy of males using the greek alphabet. On May 16th, 2010, he published, "Explaining sigma. Again," in which he wrote that the "sigma" is not just a social outcast, but a person who despite being a supposed social outcast "wins" at the social game. He writes:
Sigma: The outsiders who don't play the social game and manage to win at it anyhow. The alphas hate sigmas because they are the only men who don't accept or at least acknowledge their social dominance. (NB: Alphas absolutely hate to be laughed at and a sigma can enrage an alpha by simply smiling at him.) Everyone else is vaguely confused by them. At the party, it's the guy who stops by to say hello to a few friends accompanied by a tier one girl that no one has ever seen before. Sigmas often like women, but also tend to be contemptuous of them.
He has also described some pop culture characters as "Sigmas," including Han Solo, Neo, and many Clint Eastwood roles.
Over the course of the 2010s, explanations of "Sigma Male" began growing more popular online. It has been defined in articles on Hack Spirit, Medium, A Conscious Rethink and others. On March 19th, 2014, the subreddit /r/sigmamales was created, gaining 430 subscribers over seven years.
On January 25th, 2023, Twitter user @LilySimpson1312 tweeted several images about Sigma Males, writing, "what the fuck is going on with men?" The tweet quickly grew popular, gaining over 25,000 retweets, 11,000 quote tweets and 190,000 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below).
The tweet seemed to be many people's first exposure to the concept of "Sigma Males," as many of the responses to it joked about the excessive classifications of men in social situations. User @caseyexplosion made a joke implying men who argue "there are too many genders" would ascribe to the greek alphabet hierarchy of men system, gaining over 1,000 retweets and 4,100 likes (shown below, left). User @SVR13 wrote, "The Sigma Male idea is stupid, pseudoscientific and reveals the flexibility of the pick-up artist grift, telling clients that they're basically John Wick because they have commitment issues, but can also explain away their own failings to meet 'alpha' standards."
Writing for the Daily Dot, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw wrote, "Conveniently, [the sigma male concept] offers men the chance to rebrand themselves as a cool, sexy loner if they've alienated their friends and loved ones by ascribing to self-defeating theories about gender and relationships."
On March 6th, 2023, following the popularization of both Sigma Male memes and hustle culture memes, Instagram page verywokeindeed started posting ironic motivational "Trillionaire Grindset" videos based on clips from American Psycho and other films, using "Drive Forever" by Sergio Valentino as an accompanying song, as well as ironic image macros. In some examples, imagined dialogues and thought processes of alpha, beta and sigma males were added.
The videos received viral spread online, with other users on Instagram posting their own video and image macro versions (examples shown below, left and right). The format became known as Sigma Grinsdet.
In June 2023, the format gained further popularity following a viral June 15th post by Twitter account @profitwithant.
We Are Not the Same
We Are Not the Same is a catchphrase which grew popular on Twitter in the fall of 2019. The catchphrase has been used in memes that parody self-aggrandizing comparisons such as "You pray for me to fall, I pray for you to get back up. We are not the same." The parodies often end with a self-deprecating punchline. In 2023, the format regained popularity with ironic image macros featuring actors Giancarlo Esposito and Mads Mikkelsen following a viral Gamer Joker meme posted in May 2023.
 A Conscious Rethink – 13 Characteristics Of Sigma Males That Set Them Apart From The Rest