Omegaverse, sometimes known as Alpha/Beta/Omega or A/B/O, is a fanfiction trope in which humans have certain animalistic traits and are divided into three categories - alpha, beta, and omega - based loosely on (now debunked) ideas about the hierarchical social structure of dogs and wolves.
Omegaverse fanfiction got its start in the Supernatural fandom in 2010 and spread rapidly to other fandoms. Variations on the theme also sometimes appear in published original fiction in the romance and erotica genres.
Some fanfiction uses the trope primarily to fulfill certain kinks, while others use it to explore social issues relating to gender roles and gender identity, since the addition of alpha/beta/omega dynamics to existing human biology adds an additional wrinkle to conflicts between biological sex and gender identity, as well as sexual attraction.
- Alpha - Alpha males and females are typically depicted as behaviorally and socially dominant. The genitalia of alpha males is often described as being able to "knot" like the genitalia of male canines. Alpha females may also be depicted as having a penis or enlarged clitoris with the ability to knot and impregnate omegas.
- Beta males and females are most commonly described as having normal human biology. Some fics leave betas out entirely.
- Omega males and females are typically depicted as behaviorally and socially subordinate. Both can get pregnant by alphas males and often by alpha females and beta males as well.
In addition to overturning many standard gender roles by allowing males to get pregnant and females to impregnate, Omegaverse fics may also play with different aspects of the human sexuality spectrum by making certain types of relationships perceived to be socially unacceptable, much as homosexual relationships have been in many cultures and periods of history. For example, some writers depict Alpha/Alpha or Omega/Omega relationships as the in-universe equivalent of "queer."
Other behaviors and characteristics typical in Omegaverse fics include:
- pair bonding
- bonding bites
- going into heat (omegas) or rut (alphas)
- Dom/sub elements
- animalistic vocalizations - growling, whining, keening, etc.
Omegaverse fics have often been accused of sexism, particularly due to its tendency to erase female characters (since Omegaverse fics are overwhelming written about m/m slash couples), surprisingly heteronormative, given the same emphasis on slash, and transphobic.
- Alpha/Beta/Omega on Fanlore
- Alphas, Betas, Omegas: A Primer
- A/B/O: Adventures in Fake Science
- Fandom Stats: Omegaverse Edition
- I think I'm kind of over omegaverse fics
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