I was thinking about the A/B/O phenomenon in fanfic (also known as omega!verse fic), which dates back to a kink-meme prompt from 2011. It’s a pretty recent development, but it’s damn popular. At first I was not too interested in it (mpreg, which features strongly in most A/B/O stories, is not a kink of mine at all), but I’ve since read some really good Avengers fanfic that deals with the dynamics of the various genders in interesting ways.
If you are fan of C.J. Cherryh, you’re probably wondering what the hell this has to do with the Chanur Saga, as that is definitely not in any way shape or form A/B/O.
Or…maybe it is?
What I was thinking about is how in most stories the omegas are usually portrayed in ways reminiscent of the traditional female gender: perceived by society as weaker, unpredictable, ruled by emotions, and needing a good Alpha to take care of them. Whether this is shown as a reason to oppress omegas or as a reason to put them on pedestals, or both, I have found that it’s pretty consistent.
But then I thought: what if the opposite was true? What if the nature of alphas — violent, prone to fighting, sexually dominating, ruled by their “knots” — were the same reasons they were NOT the empowered gender? What if omegas and betas ruled the world because they were seen as more reliable and rational, since potential child-bearers naturally have the best interest of the species at heart (or sumsuch other propaganda). That fic might be out there, but I haven’t read it.
Then I realized that such a set up was done perfectly by Cherryh in the Chanur saga, her stories about a race of people called the Hani (who are basically people-lions). While the males ostensibly rule their prides (clans), they are mostly figureheads. The females of the species run everything, from basic business to interstellar spaceships. The men aren’t allowed to serve in almost any job outside of “head of clan”, and the discrimination against them is pretty harsh. The male Hani are viewed as “weaker” by dint of their propensity for violence.
Pyanfar Chanur, a Hani captain of a space ship, eventually challenges the social order by bringing her defeated, displaced husband Khym Mahn onboard as a crewmember, resulting in a convoluted political situation for Py who is viewed by her fellow females as a gender-traitor. Interesting, n’est-ce pas?
If you haven’t read the series, I recommend it. It’s some of her earlier work, not as nuanced as her Foreigner series, but still a rip-roaring good space opera.
I’m pondering writing an original fiction A/B/O story, obviously. I’m not sure what I would do with it at this point, but in thinking about all of the above points, I’ve concluded that it might be fun!