In response to The Pill Causes Bad Mate Selection, Gunner Q objected to the alpha/beta terminology used.
“…you are trying to use non-Vox Day/Heartiste definitions of Alpha and Beta. I missed that footnote on the first reading and it makes your arguments disingenuous at best. An Alpha man is the specific man that a specific woman SHOULD want? That’s a hopelessly moving goalpost.”
It’s important to note that the Manosphere did not invent these terms and the way it uses them need not be scientific nor consistent. In the context of scientific research on hormonal contraception, we need to consider how the terms are used in the scientific fields (e.g. evolutionary biology and psychology; anthropology).
It’s also important to note that the definitions are inherently fluid as a function of selection and adaptation. Different traits will be selected in different times, places, and situations (e.g. socioeconomic differences). Nevertheless, certain genetic expressions are fairly consistent and non-variable.
Alpha traits are (merely?) proxies—or indicators—of genetic fitness. Good looks (e.g. facial symmetry; tall height), good physical fitness, no deformities, masculinity, wealth, and high social status all suggest good underlying genetics. It is fairly uncontroversial that most fertile women are attracted to men with these kinds of traits.
Beta traits are those traits that are not alpha traits, that is, those traits that do not correlate strongly—at the population level—with genetic fitness. Such traits may include being fun, nice, woman-like (e.g. emotional; caring and nurturing; empathetic), physically sub-optimal, and unattractive.
“The most sexually attractive men are very often terrible choices for fathering children. The Pill is not driving such behavior. Women have always gone for the bad boys.”
Simply put, ‘alpha‘ implies genetic fitness and ‘beta‘ does not. Both sets can include both positive and negative traits. This is a very important point. While alpha traits indicate good fitness for reproduction, beta traits indicate long-term relationship stability and good child-rearing skills. A woman can mate with someone with any combination of traits, desirable or not. But—critically—reproductive choice is permanent and thus the more important consideration. It’s possible to influence and change her mate’s traits over time, but she can’t change her children’s genes after the fact.
“Women SHOULD want healthy, emotionally stable, productive men. Women DO want sociopaths, drug dealers and starving musicians. The Pill doesn’t change that.”
Not all such good men are beta men, nor are all alpha men sociopaths. Women do want these positive things and can find them in men of all types. Regardless, the alpha/beta distinctions are not about what any individual woman explicitly wants or should do. Choosing a mate in this context is amoral. It is her evolutionary imperative to find the best genetic match she is able to. Any given individual may fail at this task (either intentionally or unintentionally), but the pill lessens the desire for genetic (and sexual!) compatibility.
Hypergamy states that women will try to marry up. We know that there are upper bounds to this, for many different reasons (competition, limited selection, personal fitness, socioeconomic status, etc.). The most genetically fit man that an obese, low-intelligence, chain-smoking, tattooed, debt-ridden, short, blue-haired woman can mate with is going to be her ‘alpha’. He probably won’t have many (any?) really good alpha traits, but it’s the best that she can do personally.
In modern society there is now a disconnect between having sex and reproducing (and marrying). Abortion, contraception (e.g. the pill), social acceptance of fornication, and the rejection of patriarchy have all contributed to separating sex from the evolutionary imperative to reproduce. Historical societies, almost universally patriarchal, had structures in place to ensure that negative traits were suppressed socially and positive ones expressed. A modern woman can have it all: consequence-free sex, children with anyone (including bad boys), and having the State or a beta-male raise her children (e.g. society sanctioned cuckoldry).
Statistics on virginity show that women are almost universally promiscuous in their youth. Who they have sex with need not be who they end up choosing to mate or marry. There is really no question that women today are having sex with alpha men, but they are not necessarily staying with them. Not even Brad Pitt can keep a woman.
While on the pill women can have as much sex as she wants, but she won’t have children with anyone, alpha or beta. What matters is what she does when she goes off the pill. There are a number of possibilities. Is she giving an alpha children, but marrying a beta man? Or is she now denying her husband sex or frivorcing him?
So what we see is that the very structure of society has changed and the pill’s effects fit right into it. Whether this is causal or merely correlative is unclear.
 Another term that should probably be defined, if possible, more specifically.
 One well-known example is a woman laughing at a not-funny joke that a tall, attractive, muscular, wealthy man says while otherwise mocking a short, unattractive, fat man who does the same thing. Or how some men are praised for “getting in touch with their feminine side” while other men are rejected for the same.
 This almost certainly happens in almost all real marriages, but research on this topic is outside the scope of this post.