Summary: alpha/beta essentialism is a misconception whereby people believe that a man is entirely alpha or entirely beta; equivalently, that women perceive any given man as either alpha or beta. To understand sexual dynamics and how to exploit them, it is far more conductive to think in terms of alpha and beta traits
The alpha/beta dichotomy
A periennial topic of discussion on TRP, a topic that has existed in much the same form among PUAs, is what defines alpha and what defines beta.
Much of that discussion is done in terms of alpha men and beta men, which means with the underlying assumption that a man can wholly be described as an "alpha" and another entirely as a "beta".
And much of that discussion barely goes anywhere because it clashes with the fact that most men display traits of both an alpha and a beta. A man might be physically imposing, which people recognize as a characteristic of alphas, but then be pussywhipped, which everyone knows is beta. So is he alpha or beta?
The answer to that question is recognizing that the question itself is posited incorrectly. It is posited incorrectly because it moves from the underlying assumption that it makes sense to define a man as entirely alpha or entirely beta, an assumption that clashses with observed reality.
Alpha and beta traits
Instead, it is much more useful to think in terms of alpha traits and beta traits. If we refer to evolutionary psychology, we can derive meaningful, self-consistent definitions that allow us to correctly model sexual behaviour, which is the first step towards exploiting it. Notice that these are traits that any given individual can possess in any combination: we no longer think of a man in terms of wholly alpha or wholly beta, but in terms of which alpha and beta traits he displays.
Alpha traits are those that make a male desirable as a sexual partner. In evolutionary psychology terms, they indicate that you appear to possess desirable genes. These traits includes:
physical size (height, broad shoulders)
masculinity (deep eyes, prominent brow, deep voice, beard, masculine body and facial proportions)
Beta traits are those that make a male desirable as a relationship partner. In evo-psych terms, they indicate that you appear to possess desirable resources and/or the ability to provide more in the future. These traits include:
Notice that while some alpha and beta traits are incompatible, others are compatible. For example:
Why this model is better
When you think in terms of any given man "being alpha", you almost inevitably encounter contradictions, like "that guy is tall and built, but he's rich so bitches only want him for his money, so he's a beta"; we have a frontpage post right now attacking this exact misconception.
When, instead, you think in terms of alpha traits, you get a much clearer picture. The tall, fit rich guy is not alpha or beta: he displays some alpha traits that make women want to fuck him, and also some beta traits that make women want to be in a relationship with him. His overall management of those traits will determine which kind of relationships he gets.
Once you understand this, you can use it to your advantage. Want to generate sexual attraction? then work on your alpha traits. Want an LTR? then you know you also need to show some beta traits. Want an LTR without a dead bedroom? then you know you need to work on your alpha traits, like being fit and dominant. Want an LTR without your woman thinking she's just a fucktoy? then be nice to her once in a while.
Essentially, this mental model gives you enormously improved fine-tuned control over your sexual strategy. It also rids you of maddening mental contradictions, and might even get you over hangups such as "I'm short I'll never be alpha and get bitches".
Recap and conclusion
Thinking in terms of "being alpha" and "being beta" gives you a contradictory mental model that only enbles rudimentary control of your sexual strategy. Understanding and displaying alpha and beta traits promotes you to much finer control, enabling you to control outcomes much more closely.