I think betas really are doomed. I haven’t seen a single fic where they featured as anything other than bland and inferior. ah, the lost potential…. XD
mngh ;_; been brainstorming with people for two hours and the only things that would make them relevant in reproduction and wouldn’t make them redundant not-as-good pseudo alphas or omegas are things that would make the whole dynamic into aliens. ABO is still supposed to be about humans, so. ugh.
You could have it that society’s mostly betas, and you get African wild dog style, like–if betas hang with betas, it’s all normal and they have families and kids. But if an alpha or omega is present in the household–is born, moves in, etc–everybody’s “"cycles”“ shift to give them reproductive priority. You’d have to spend WAY too much time at work and be too invested in it for a coworker to affect you, it’s more of a family dynamic thing; betas might mostly have nuclear families and do fine, in the modern world of beta liberation and reproductive rights rather than fiefdoms, but the Old Fashioned Way would be packs of betas assembling themselves around alphas and omegas. Perhaps in the modern world alphas and omegas would mostly nuclear family it up, too, but their mostly beta children would (stereotype to the point of comedy) just not leave the nest, so most “large families” would spring from a/o pairs, and most only children and small families arise from more common b/b pairs.
Betas might have various more-cryptic reproductive patterns within their a/o centric large family groups, especially when the households passed a certain size, but would generally experience reproductive suppression (but increased life-fulfillment) as parts of these groups. Instead of only pressure to have kids as they got older, betas would be asked about finding a nice other beta to settle down with, sure, but also told leading anecdotes about the a/o pairs in their own family tree, and how their farms and businesses and the children and betas around them are doing.
So being an alpha or omega would make the betas around you keep half an eye on your progress, more obtrusively than it would make other alphas and omegas attentive to you, though it wouldn’t be the same strength of attraction exerted by a/o pairs. The same way humans need to express some reserve towards one another to avoid entanglement, alphas and omegas not ruggedly empire-building would maybe feel pressured to distance themselves a little from most other people (betas). Most betas would, stereotype to the point of comedy, consider themselves immune to their a/o friends (internet friends, etc) in this modern world (esp considering a/o rarity), until actually pressed, at which point they might find themselves to feel more loyal and supportive in That Way after all than they thought. (But it’s a fall in love thing–feelings don’t happen just from proximity, it just can sneak up on people–only household close-proximity reproductive suppression is annoyingly involuntary).
So a/os would play more like an anime style subset of Chosen People Set Apart, in a world by and for the regular people they’re allegedly so distinct from. And alphas and omegas could happily settle down with betas, but without an a/o counterpart they wouldn’t exert the same pheromone dominance over others, and it would be a beta/beta style relationship with no extra pull on the people around them.
Probably these relationships would get routinely bi-erasured, and people would always still be obnoxiously waiting for the a/o person to find an a/o counterpart and start a Real household (that they could send their good beta children to support, etc). A/a and o/o relationships would likewise be (im)politely assumed to be perfectly decent but somehow still just phases, and, even if obviously lifelong, very good and noble but still representing the mild tragedy of not having found their Real counterpart.
In such a world, Real relationships would be beta/beta foremost (as and os representing relationship roadblocks ala sexual infidelity for both parties to avoid entanglement with in order to keep their pairbond prioritized), a/o second but also significantly as a focus of beta attention and energy (who can “fall for” the a/o pair), and beta/ao understood to be the ao partner preferring their beta partner to fulfilling their own aoness (VERY touching and modern and perhaps vaguely metrosexual), and aa oo mostly disbelieved in due to not serving beta interests at all.
MOTHERFUCK it ate my reply.
oh well, there wasn’t a ton of it anyway. mostly just me saying i’d read that fic from you, because yeeeee weird social dynamics, but i keep getting stuck on the biological and evolution aspects. like, imagining a female alpha with a dick – dicks and clits come from the same thing. a guy with a womb? well, he could have the genetic blueprint for that one. but a three-parents thing i have not the FAINTEST idea how to make work in a mammalian context. and if one of the types of parents was unnecessary to the reproductive process then it would eventually get bred out, wouldn’t it. bluh.
why do i try to make sense of kink ‘verses.
Not three bio parent, indirect repro benefit. Either: beta is related to the a/o pair and helps their kids (contain shared alleles) succeed, else, beta gets to have kids once in a while and the group setting works a lot better than alone.
I see it as alternate reproductive strategies that vary in effectiveness depending on context.
Betas don’t have heats or ruts, which makes them less likely to a) attract an A/O partner, and b) reproduce quickly once they have one. Plus, male Omegas and to a lesser extent female Alphas are frequently portrayed as being capable of both insemination and pregnancy, which adds a potentially valuable degree of versatility that Betas lack.
However, Betas not having heats or ruts means they are spared the costs of those hormonal cycles. A/Os in heat/rut are often depicted as having physical symptoms suggesting that they’re probably using up more energy than usual (sexual arousal, increased body heat, restlessness, increased body heat, and for Omegas increased lubrication), and frequently heat and rut lead to impaired judgement and they end up doing stupid things. These things come with costs – Alphas and Omegas will probably starve more easily than Betas because of the energy cost of heat and rut, and get accidentally killed more often because they do something stupid when addled by hormones.
In addition, it’s likely that heat and rut would make childcare more difficult, especially since one member of an A/O couple having heat or rut will affect their partner, and often heats and ruts synchronize. Which makes sense for reproduction, but not for division of labor. Presumably they have some way of making sure they don’t just leave their toddler to die because the Omegas’ heat started, but I wouldn’t be surprised if infant mortality would traditionally have been higher in kids from A/O couples compared to those with one or more Beta parent.
Many animals species have multiple reproductive strategies in play. For example males of this one species of cuttlefish can either be big & strong and fight for the females, or they can disguise as a female to sneak past the fighting males.
Plus, it’s entirely possible that secondary gender might be environmentally influenced, kind of like how many reptiles have temperature-determined sex, or some fish change sex to adapt to circumstances. So, for example, being stuck in an all-male environment might make people more likely to present as Omega so that someone can get pregnant; or vice versa for Alpha females. (Or maybe even self-inseminate if they’re alone, just like how many female reptiles do parthenogenesis if there are no males available.) Meanwhile, scarce resources might produce more Betas so they can focus more on survival and reproduce more slowly while focusing on raising the children they do have.
Conversely, Betas and A/Os could be separate subspecies in the process of differentiation. In the Packrunners fanfic, available on AO3, a political movement that de-emphasizes scent and instinctive behavior has resulted in subpopulations where the hormonal features of Alphas and Omegas are muted, and many individuals have impaired sense of smell to the point where they can’t actually respond to A/O hormonal cues. They’re basically on their way to becoming Betas.