The USAToday quoted the term, "the beta boys," when writing about the grudge letter the Umpqua Community College (UCC) mass murderer (who killed nine people) left behind to "justify" his butcherings:
The rambling document left behind, and believed to be written by the gunman, lamented an isolated life with little promise, the official said.
The contents and tone of the document, the official said, tracked the often desperate and depressed writings from members of a loosely affiliated group known as the "beta boys." The official said members associated with the group share profound disappointment with their lots in life and the lack of meaningful relationships.
Emphasis is mine.
It is possible, though not likely (1), that the UCC killer posted about the massacre a day before it happened on an anonymous 4Chan thread, to some considerable support, applause, admiration and jokes (2).
Then last Friday an anonymous 4Chan poster threatened further college massacres for the following Monday in the Philadelphia region, calling them a "Beta rebellion:"
“I plead to thee, brothers! We only have but one chance, one spark, for our revolution. The United States will soon condemn us to the status quo forever, and soon after, the United Nations. Don’t let our one chance at writing history slip away. Martyr yourself for the cause or support those who have the courage to do so. We have the chance to make the world a better place for betas everywhere.”
That threat didn't materialize. But the FBI is investigating the messages at that 4Chan site. It is important to note that these Internet support groups for the "betas" may not be directly connected to the mass killings. At the same time, the concept of "beta boys" deserves closer scrutiny, and so do all the sites which serve up this concept as an ideology and an excuse.
What are "the beta boys?"
To answer that question we need to put our wading boots on and enter the intellectual sludge in some of the shallower ponds of the Guy Lands on the net: the homes of some extreme Men's Rights Activists and Pickup Artists.
We have to learn their "alphas and betas" theories: That human men can be divided into alphas, successful, powerful and handsome men, who get all the women, every single one of them, and betas, the ordinary guys or the losers, who get no sex at all. This idea is taken from wolf packs, except that the leaders of wolf packs are not the kind of alpha males the manosphere believes in, but the parents or grandparents of the pack, both the alpha female and the alpha male.
But never mind that. This Manosphere theory now exists as its own justification. It drives the instructions Pickup Artists give to their followers (act like an alpha and you get lots and lots of pussy, however unwilling that pussy really is), and it also drives the despair of many troubled young men, who have been taught that the blame for their social isolation, lack of a sexual partner and pretty much everything else is caused by Others, especially by women who are all going after the few alpha males, and by those (mostly imaginary) alpha males.
Why are "women" (some detested pile of all womanhood, but really meaning only sexually appealing young women) rejecting as much as eighty percent of all men (based on some of the sites I visit, numbers of that size, however impossible they actually are, are routinely flouted)? Because of hypergamy, the tendency for women to marry socially upwards, of course!
So the completed theory is stitched together from some flawed early research about wolf packs, a lot of rage and an iffy concept from evolutionary psychology. (3)