Omegaverse fiction is a sub-genre of fanfic which gains popularity among boy-love(BL) fandom culture since 2010. It has a hierarchical system consists of two gender systems, in which a character’s gender is not only classified as male or female, but also with an “ABO gender”: Alpha, Beta or Omega.
Different settings are further developed based on this special gender system, causing different responses from Omegaverse readers and writers: Some of them stated that it strengthens the sexism in actual patriarchal society; whereas the others believed the settings may also empower women against patriarchal society. Besides, the reception of readers as well as the appropriation and transformation of writers to the world settings turns Omegaverse fictions into a projection of social and gender fields in the reality that worth for further investigation. In view of the rising popularity of Omegaverse fanfics together with the gender movements having taken place in the past years, we would like to further investigate the gender function of Omegaverse fictions to the reality.
Both interview and online ethnography were conducted in this research. For the interview, a focus group was held with three interviewees, in which both reader (receptor) and writer (producer) were included. The interview mainly followed three directions: The relationship between omegaverse fic and gender repression, gender resistance in Omegaverse reading/writing, and the relations between Omegaverse and sexual autonomy. For the online ethnography, Weibo, Lofter and MTSLASH are selected as the three Chinese fan fic platforms so as to investigate the proportion of Omegaverse fictions and the user’s responses to it.
The results show that Omegaverse fiction has a generally positive role in gender perspectives. The unique world settings in Omegaverse fiction provide a duplex function in female writing: As female erotica, it allows women to explore and achieve sexual autonomy; As a patriarchal world setting, it on one hand mirroring the sexism in actual patriarchal society, but at the same time provide a chance for women to reverse and resist the gender situation through the female gare and initiating role in the nature of BL-writing.
Omegaverse has two gender systems: The male-female gender and the Alpha-Beta-Omega gender dynamics. The former determines merely masculinity/femininity of characters’ appearance, whereas the latter determines their reproductive features, such as estrus, pheromones, fertility or knotting capability, which influences the social status the characters obtained in the stories.
Alpha, Beta and Omega have both male and female reproductive organs, however, their sexual characteristics vary according to their gender. Alpha has a scent-stimulating pheromone like alcohol or tobacco odors, whereas Omegas usually have sweeter scents of pheromone. An Alpha can have multiple knottings with Omegas, while an Omega can have knotting with one alpha only. Alpha is rarely pregnant and has therefore been assigned an dominating role in the society, such as warrior or leader; whereas Omegas, who not only have a high fertility, but also have a mating cycle which periodically release pheromone to attract alpha to intervene with them. Therefore, they are considered as breeders who should spend their lifetime for pregnancy, instead of being labour in workplace.
In BL Omegaverse fanfics, the male couples in the imaginary world are put into Alpha-Omega(AO) or Omega-Alpha(OA) relationships, in order to create another form of living for them, or as erotica to depict their sexual behaviors. Meanwhile, the characters in the fictions may face plights based on their ABO gender, such as the “Mob” troops and gender discriminations, which implies the sexism in actual patriarchal society as well.