I'd never come across the Alpha/Beta/Omega phenomenon before I hit the Teen Wolf fandom. It just wasn't a thing in my previous fandoms. While there's elements of the trope that I enjoy (mpreg, male lactation, knotting, made them do it), I steadfastly resisted it in Teen Wolf.
Mostly because I'm a canon whore, and IMO, Teen Wolf already had a perfectly good Alpha/Beta/Omega mythology, and Omegaverse wasn't it.
But also, because it was, more often than not, kinda rapey. Sometimes very rapey.
I like a good non-con fic as much as the next deviant, and I love dub-con. The rape/non-con warning has never scared me away. But within ABO, where the balance of power is significantly uneven because biology, it's a squick.
I'm the same with BDSM fic. If consent isn't explicit, or if the bottom has any 'they don't love me' hangups even if it's revealed to be a misunderstanding later, or if the top is using subjugation and pejorative language in regards to the bottom, I'm running a mile fighting the urge to vom.
So ABO, if I read it, like BDSM (on the extremely rare occasion I might read that), has to be fairly fluffy and with all the consent and explicit feelings and communication and stuff. Or eww.
I've been reading a fair amount of ABO in Supernatural lately. Mostly it's good. Rape/non-con warnings are there to cover the dubious consent of biological imperative, there's respect for the omega, at least in the main pairing, lots of lovely mpreg and I don't have to completely disregard a canon mythology in order to read it.
Then I was reading a fic that had no rape/non-con warning, not even a dub-con tag, and was trucking along nicely with what seems to be a fairly common 'Dean hides his omega status from Sam for years and then spontaneously goes into heat when they're adults and they fuck' trope.
Then when Dean's heat is revealed, Sam suddenly turns into this rapey asshole, all 'I own you' and barely saying two words before throwing Dean down and fucking him.
Urgh. I squicked hard, and now I'm all shaken and kind of put off. And it all could have been avoided with a little dub-con or 'controlling language' tag or at least some hint in the summary that it was going to go that way.
I'm going to be wary of ABO going forward now, when I'd almost lost that fear because most of it is well tagged and doesn't ping my squicks. And that kind of sucks.
There's all these questions in my head now, too. Do I have the right to be pissed at getting squicked by this fic? Or is rapeyness to be assumed simply because of the biological imperative of ABO?
In my experience, a rapey vibe shouldn't be automatically assumed just because ABO, because it's not all like that. I feel like the author should have used the archive warning, or at least a dub-con tag (the work was 'no archive warnings apply' so the rapey vibe really was a surprise).
I guess I'm a little hesitant to leave a comment to that effect, though, because I ignore requests for top/bottom 'warnings'. There's a difference between an official archive warning vs a tag for something that shouldn't ever be a 'warning' at all, though, right?
I guess I'm afraid I'd get called out as a hypocrite :/