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24 October 2013 @ 11:54 am
Supernatural wank (tl;dr)  
So, the other night, as SPN was airing, some guy named Chad who apparently works with the WB mad some very ill-advised tweets (that account is now deleted, apparently) starting by saying that neither Cas nor Dean were bisexual and Destiel would never happen, followed by a whole bunch of other ridiculous comments that were things like "well, I wouldn't say no if it crossed my desk". I have to admit, if it wasn't queerbaiting, it came awfully close. Basically, it was tacky and fandom (particularly Destiel shippers) exploded.

For me, though, aside from the tweets being unnecessarily obnoxious (I'm pretty sure the two Ben's pulled bullshit like this too, back in S6 and S7 - man I hated those writers), the news of it didn't surprise me. 9 seasons now, and I've never expected or assumed that a slash ship would become canon or even that Dean at some point would actually come out as bi or gay. They give little tidbits (that are actually intended to be done for humor, not to actually hint that Dean is anything beyond straight), and I'm perfectly content with that. So, below, I have some more in depth thoughts on this whole situation. Mainly about how I don't understand when fandom decided it wasn't happy with fanfic anymore and how all ships must now be canon.

(Also posted on tumblr, so feel free to skip or whatever if you've read it.)

All this Supernatural wank makes me feel like a fandom dinosaur. While I get and fully support the idea of canonically queer (gay, bi, pan, trans*, etc) characters, Supernatural is not the show that’s going to have that happen. We are lucky to have a few Charlies who are awesome - and that is how the show listens to the fans and represents a broader (non straight) audience. But you also have to remember, this is the show that made a mockery of Wincest. And yes, some Destiel fans seem to think that’s great, just because they don’t ship Wincest, but it’s the same thing. Two main male characters who have always asserted their straightness except to get laughs (see: Aaron in Everybody Hates Hitler) aren’t suddenly going to develop same-sex relationships. The show isn’t about that type of drama (i.e. a soap opera where I wouldn’t at all be surprised if a character went through a sexual identity crisis). It’s on the CW. It’s a show that’s always tried to cater to the rare male demographic (think how the convention scene was dominated by men other than Becky). Whether its out of sheer naivete of the actual audience or because in the TV world males=ad money (despite the fact that it’s women who do the shopping, that’s a rant for another time), it’s not going to happen. You know what else isn’t going to happen? We’re never going to see canon Oliver/Diggle, either. That pairing could get the biggest fanbase ever, and it wouldn’t matter. This isn’t HBO and it isn’t a show that set out to explore sexuality.

I am very upset over the tweets of that Chad guy. I was very upset over the tweets from the two Bens a few years ago, too, who felt the need to mock the fans.

But at what point did we decide our headcanons and our ships should be the show? It’s not like the fandom is united. And TV isn’t a democracy, the majority doesn’t win. Or else we’d have had Wincest through S4 and then Destiel. And no one would be happy. When did fans decide to leave fandom? Why isn’t fanfic and subtext good enough any more? Yes, it’d be great to see Dean/Cas as canon. But when did fandom at large decide its ships need to be canon? I am truly confused. It’s not just SPN. It’s Teen Wolf. It’s Rizzoli&Isles. It seems* to be a portion of Sherlock fandom. I have to say, if anyone thought and demanded that Mulder/Krycek be canon, it was probably two people in all of fandom and they kept it to themselves. Did M/K fans always want more scenes of them together? Of course. Every ship (particularly the rarepairs!) want more screentime. But there’s a difference between saying to yourself and your friends “I hope Dean and Cas get another moment that shows their “profound bond!” and actively campaigning for it to become canon. What’s the response you expect from a bunch of mostly cis, white, straight, middle-aged to old men? Is it fair? No. But maybe there are other ways to educate these people on presenting a broader spectrum of people that more accurately reflects real life, than tweeting about how Dean and Cas should have sex.

It’s not about representation. It’s about your ship. If it were about representation, we’d all care more about the actual out sexual minority characters (like Danny in Teen Wolf). We’d ask the writers for more stories involving them, for more representation, generally. We’d create letter campaigns to show Elementary how much we appreciate their take on Ms Hudson. But this push for Destiel isn’t about representation, it’s, quite frankly, about fan entitlement. And maybe that’s what happens when people are born into fandom at 12 instead of even 18, much less later years in life. Maybe that’s what happens with the creation of twitter which allows fans direct access to the elites, the TPTB, that didn’t exist when TOS or X-Files or hell, even Heroes (I don’t recall a whole lot of demand for Petrellicest to become canon! We took our feels and ran with the fanfic) was around. The internet and media is ever evolving, but in this case, I’m beginning to see more and more of a fandom monster than fandom growth.

So, I’ll continue to be the old(ish) fandom dinosaur, content with my subtext. If a show in the future surprises me (like Once Upon A Time - I did not ever expect them to make Mulora explicit!), then I will be happily surprised and please with the representation being shown, as well as my ship becoming canon. But I’d much rather campaign for more representation (of racial minorities, sexual minorities, physical shape minorities, etc) on the whole and tell a show how pleased I am with characters they’ve made to represent, and bring about change as a whole to TV - then just campaign for Dean and Cas to kiss. For that need, I have fanfic. Fans write the characters a hell of a lot better, anyway.

*(Saying seems as I am not actively in that fandom myself)

ETA: Fandom debunker uploaded all the tweets here.

This is the one that I saw pop up predominently and seemed to send fandom into a tizzy.

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Profiterole: Star Trek - Kirk and Spock_profiterole_ on October 24th, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
You make a good point mentioning Danny and I'm a bit sad that people are always talking about Sterek (that I don't ship) and Scisaac (that I ship) and rarely about Dethan (that is actually canon).

But overall, I think people are getting fed up with the lack of representation, they get emotionally involved in m/m ships involving main characters and then nothing ever happens with these main characters. And TPTB can be influenced, characters that were supposed to be in a few episodes become regulars (Spike in Buffy), so why couldn't they be influenced into writing m/m?

I saw The Mortal Instruments on the big screen last weekend and it felt so incredibly good to finally see queer characters and not just subtext that will never lead anywhere.
MF Ludermf_luder_xf on October 24th, 2013 05:47 pm (UTC)
Admittedly, I do ship Sterek and OT3 Allison/Scott/Isaac, but yes, I always wish we had more Danny (particularly not with a murdering werewolf, perhaps? Cute as they were, lol). It does seem fandom strays away from actual canon ships (there was never a lot of Teyla/Kanaan fic for example, versus Teyla/Ronon or Teyla/Sheppard in SGA), which is sad and frustrating when it's about a non-straight couple.

I really believe the push for these main characters to become sexual partners alienates TPTB, frankly. Again, I don't think it's fair or that it should, but I still recall Michael Shanks talking with disgust at the idea of Daniel/Jack slashfic. And the Destiel shippers are ALWAYS tweeting or campaigning somehow, *I'm* sick of it and I am one. I can only imagine how the writers/creators/etc feels when they have a vision in their head. If I wrote original fiction, I'd gladly let people write fanfic of it. But I'd get pretty annoyed if people campaigned and told me I wasn't representing them by not making fandom's biggest ship into canon. I truly miss the days when fandom didn't interact with the show except at cons. I'd rather not get canon ships and not have to deal with the show mocking them (again, as seen with Wincest) at the sake of its own storyline. Which is why, yes, people should ask for representation. I want more representation. But why is fandom stuck on only their pairing? Write to execs to create new shows with a minority lead. Or to expand the main cast (ala Charlie) with some minority representation. But just because I'm emotionally invested in a ship doesn't mean I have the right to demand it be put into canon.

And as for TMI (heh, that's kind of a fun shortened name), having my problems with the author aside, the reason why it has representation is because the creator was a fanfic writer. She did delve into slash. I'd hope her own work showed some representation! But that's what we need more of (minus the plagiarizing) - new writers who are determined to provide representation. Not people campaigning for their ship to become canon in an established show. It's not that fans can't influence the show (their are tons of examples of Spike-like characters, including Castiel!), but if 5 years later Destiel isn't canon? Maybe we should move our efforts elsewhere.
Profiterole: Without Reservations - Chay and Keaton_profiterole_ on October 24th, 2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
At some point, it did look like they were building up towards Scott/Isaac/Allison, and I would have been so into that, but then they switched to only Isaac/Allison, which is a bit of a pity, even though I like them all.

I don't know about fandom liking non-canon ships more than canon ships, but in terms of the rare canon m/m pairings, they tend to get together super fast, and fandom, I suppose, like having UST first and then having this UST get resolved. This is much more satisfying, at least as far as I am concerned, and I have seen talks about this in different places, so I'm not the only one.

I can understand why it would be annoying to TPTB, especially when it gets excessive with many campaigns. I just can't imagine myself talking to TV execs. I've done it online with some book authors, but their books all had gay content, so I was not asking them for anything, just telling them I liked their books a lot.

I know about the plagiarism issue and that is the reason why I hadn't read the books before. I'm thinking of buying them, now that I'm hooked through the movie. Plagiarism aside, I'm grateful that she got us queer characters on the big screen. There are a handful of TV shows that do it nowadays (Teen Wolf, Lost Girl, Orphan Black, Warehouse 13...), but movies just won't go for it...
MF Luder: Arrow don't need you to save memf_luder_xf on October 24th, 2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
I know, I was really disappointed when they moved it to just Allison/Isaac, but, it still provides me plenty of fodder.lol

they tend to get together super fast, and fandom, I suppose, like having UST first

That makes sense. And given they're often not main characters (with exceptions of Queer As Folk, Glee, etc), I suppose that's why it does happen quick. And yeah, I like UST, too, so that undoubtedly affects a lot of people's interpretation.

I don't understand talking to them, either. I cringe every time someone mentions slash or fanfic at cons - because I know it tends to make actors uncomfortable (or the response will be violently against) and I feel like it's fandoms thing, not theirs. IDK. Like I said, I feel like this old person saying "it was better in my day when we had to walk up hill BOTH ways to school".lol I converse with one TV exec, but it's his personal blog, and I've never once asked a fandom related question.

Yes, that is nice. I also had to give her a nod for insisting the character (not having read it I don't know the name) played by Godfrey Gao HAD to be done with an Asian actor. Apparently, the movie people wanted to whitewash him.
Profiterole: The Secret Circle - Diana Adam Cassie_profiterole_ on October 24th, 2013 08:00 pm (UTC)
I appreciate that the Teen Wolf actors seem to be all super okay with fandom and Sterek and everything. I've only seen the first season of SPN, but I hear things here and there, and apparently Jensen Ackles does NOT appreciate being asked about Dean's bisexuality. I don't know the guy but the result is that it makes him seem homophobic. I get what you say about not sending porny fics to actors, but slash fandom shouldn't be ashamed of existing and hide in a corner. When you're an actor of a popular show, you should accept that people are going to have different ideas about your character.

I don't know about the movie people, someone told me some fans were not okay with Godfrey Gao being cast as Magnus because they hadn't picked up on him being not white in the books. She gets extra points for him being a queer POC (from what I've read before, I think he's bi, but from the movie, you don't know if he's gay or bi).
MF Luder: TW Allisonmf_luder_xf on October 25th, 2013 12:20 am (UTC)
Haha, no, he does not. He gets very uncomfortable about it. And no, he's not homophobic, but I get the impression that he'd feel awkward if a man flirted with him. Or maybe it's only in connection to the how and fandom that he's uncomfortable with it. But it does always seem weird in comparison to Jared and Misha's willingness to explore it and joke about it (in a way that isn't making fun of homosexuality itself, just teasing the fans about it).

And sure, you're right. I don't think it should have to hide. I admit it's more my level of comfort with it? Like, I will not ever really support these active campaigns, but I suppose a fan mentioning they like Destiel to an actor/writer/etc isn't offensive. Again, I think I came of fandom age in that in between period and kind of naturally think "don't talk about it!". But ugh, big NOPE to the sending of porn. *facepalm*

Oh, that's interesting! I didn't know fans didn't like that casting. That's disappointing. I have to admit, he was the only thing that vaguely interested me in the movie. I've never seen Godfrey in anything, but damn, that's a beautiful man.lol

Also, your icon...did you OT3 them? I wasn't active in the fandom, but I sure as heck wanted them together! (I was annoyed when they revealed Cassie and Diana were related because it meant it would never happen on show.)
Profiterole: Inception - Eames Arthur and Girl!Eames_profiterole_ on October 25th, 2013 09:58 am (UTC)
Maybe that's when she insisted on Magnus being played by Godfrey Gao, because of the fans and not the movie people, or there were two different situations, I don't know since it's all hearsay for me. I suppose once she insisted on him being Asian in the canon, people were all right with it. I hope so. My flist sure would never say no to a hothothot guy like Godfrey Gao. I've never seen him in anything before, I think he's only been in Asian dramas and I haven't seen any of these in a long while and the ones I watched were mostly j-dramas.

Oh yeah, I OT3ed them badly! ♥ At some point, they could have easily gone there, especially the scene in my icon when they were all in the bedroom together. *happy sigh*
MF Luder: TW Allisonmf_luder_xf on October 29th, 2013 10:41 pm (UTC)
Yes, I remember being really excited, thinking it might actually happen. I get so sick of love triangle and am always "just be a threesome!"
Profiterole: Kings - Jack and David_profiterole_ on October 29th, 2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
Polyamory gets even less representation than queerness. I don't know if you've read The Inheritance Trilogy by NK Jemisin. m/m/f is very present in it, plus it's really good mythological fantasy.
MF Luder: WC Elmf_luder_xf on October 30th, 2013 12:02 am (UTC)
I've never heard of it! Thanks for the rec. I will definitely check that out.
KimberlyFDR: Paul Moviekimberlyfdr on October 24th, 2013 05:26 pm (UTC)
I apparently missed ALL OF THIS. I knew that some of the writers / directors / actors from SPN were making response posts to the uproar, but I didn't know what caused it. Thanks for clearing that up a bit.
MF Luder: Batwomanmf_luder_xf on October 24th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
I updated with a link to all the tweets, too, now.
Why all the pearls?Why all the hair?Why anything?: MishaJensenJiB2013rhymephile on October 25th, 2013 08:57 am (UTC)
Ugh. All this. *sigh* I agree with 90% of your post, because for one thing the teenagers that are presumably in power right now exhaust me. If you feel like a fandom dinosaur, I definitely am one.

You bring up an interesting point about Mulder/Krycek, in that I shipped them in oldschool fandom style, never wanting or hoping or expecting it to be canon, and not because those were the 90s, but because Mulder and Krycek were portrayed specifically as enemies despite their strangely emotional attachment to each other. That being said, neither of them ever said "I need you" to the other. Neither of them declared they would die for the other. Neither of them had a bond literally described as "profound."

What I'm saying with all this is that rationally I know the CW would never go through with something as groundbreaking as having a straight male character take nine years to realize that he may love someone because of who they are and forget about gender. These are the times we live in. The world is run by white male heterosexuals who want money.

But. I have watched TV drama for a long time, wrote reviews about it professionally, wrote newspaper articles about it professionally. I have seen male friendship. I have seen camaraderie. I have seen the bonds of men in war or harrowing situations, I have seen "bromance." The way they have written Dean and Castiel is absolutely different than any of that, based on dialogue, character interaction, and emotional moments, and *that* is what the fans are angry about. When have you ever heard another straight male character say "We're family. We need you. I need you" in such an emotionally open moment as the crypt scene between the two of them? TPTB consider them just friends? Family? As close as brothers? Fine. But nothing we have been exposed to on television or in dramatic interpretation tells us this. These "tropes" that are common are that way for a reason. We're conditioned by popular media to recognize them.

I think it's a combination, also, of the actors telling fans that TPTB are aware of what the fans are seeing (or interpreting) between Dean and Cas, that they are aware, and they continue to write moments between them they know the audience will love and interpret as a deeper emotional connection, yet continue to vehemently deny they're not. This is what the fans (and me) are frustrated about, not just that they want the ship to be canon. The queerbaiting, the wink-wink stuff at conventions, the wink-wink stuff by writers/producers/whoever on Twitter, it all takes its toll, because it feels like they are saying, "Hey we know you think these characters should be together, and we're going to do everything in our power to keep you watching and keep ratings up by giving you just what you want, except we never plan on going through with it because nohomo!"

*deep breath* It's all very exhausting to me. If TPTB want them as family, close friends or whatever, hey, great. I like the characters, I can continue to write that they love each other, just as I have every slash ship I ever shipped that wasn't canon. Cool. I won't expect it to ever happen because I am being led and told in dialogue and action to make that assumption. If they want me to do this, then they have to stop purposefully and willfully leading us to think otherwise.

MF Luder: Arrow don't need you to save memf_luder_xf on October 29th, 2013 10:49 pm (UTC)
Sorry I never responded to this! I thought I had. Ugh, life is insane right now.

That being said, neither of them ever said "I need you" to the other. Neither of them declared they would die for the other.

No...but there was that kiss. There was Krycek sacrificing for Mulder in later years.

You're right, they do write them a little different. However, have you ever watched Hawaii 5-O? (The new one.) The number of times people ask/refer to Danny and Steve as married is ridiculous. There's a scene where they CUDDLE on the couch. I mean, Danny's arm is around Steve's shoulder and everything. And there again, someone(s) (I forget who it was) has mentioned that they've thought about it, or they could be viewed as more than friends...but there's no intention to write them that way explicit. It makes me feel this is the way they are going. The same with Teen Wolf! Jeff Davis actively encourages it, and then they turn around and shit on the idea that they'd actually get together. It's such whiplash. And so I feel like this queer-baiting is the way of TV these days. They want to attract the shippers and attract the queer population, without alienating advertisers who are all about brohood. (I'm seriously recalling a lot of the arguments Miss Representation makes about ads and the way media represents women because its all done to attract men 18-35 who are the hardest people to get to watch TV.)

I won't expect it to ever happen because I am being led and told in dialogue and action to make that assumption. If they want me to do this, then they have to stop purposefully and willfully leading us to think otherwise.

At the end of the day, THIS. I'm exhausted too, and I haven't even been doing this as long (though like I said, I do feel so old in comparison to these people. It's really making me wish I'd gone into sociology.lol Then I could do nothing but dissect and analyze fandom movements over time!
Why all the pearls?Why all the hair?Why anything?: MishaJensenJiB2013rhymephile on October 28th, 2013 07:07 am (UTC)
You know, I did forget to mention that I had no problems with Cas having sex with April, which was the start to everyone in Destiel fandom freaking out. I neglected to say that I found all that completely insane, for obvious reasons like you were pointing out with people getting entitled for the ship to be canon, but also because if there's a possible love endgame they're not going to have Dean and Cas get together in the third damn episode of the season! Hell, if it were ever to happen, it would be a huge season-closing thing or maybe happen in Season 10 IF such a thing were ever to occur.

I think the most logical way to look at this is thus: after everything we've seen and the writers have written between the two characters (with some scenes more subtextually "romantic" than others), I will be very, very disappointed if they don't at least *consider* the possibility that the Dean/Cas relationship is something more than friendship. They have a unique situation in which two actors have undeniable chemistry for one thing, and secondly Cas is the first person Dean has opened himself to in, like, ever. Hell, he doesn't even talk to Sam the way he talks to Cas. I'd like Dean to get his happiness (which includes Cas) at the end of all this, the same way I'd like to see Sam leave hunting (and Dean) and have a fulfilling life. If Dean isn't meant to settle down (and we know he's not) I'd like to see him strong and happy and taking on what comes with someone he absolutely trusts by his side. And if that can't be Sam -- because despite their issues Dean does want Sam to have that hunterless life -- it should be Cas.

And I have metaed all over the place here and sorry for all that. But I didn't want you to think I actually gave a shit about the whole Cas/April sex wank, LOL!
MF Luder: SPN Chuck!Godmf_luder_xf on October 29th, 2013 10:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but a lot of that was wank leading up to the episode. Some people (particularly a set of shippers) is always going to object when their boy or one of their pairing has sex with anyone not the other person in the pairing. I didn't care going in, either, though I did think a) it was a worse se up than most fanfic, b) she had to be evil, OF COURSE and c) she had to die. REALLY? Why couldn't they have made a normal sexual experience? (Also was it really his first? He WAS married as Emmanuel after all...)

And yes, it wouldn't not happen (at least not full-blown sex) in the beginning of the season. But ugh, I never want them to do it because clearly they fuck everything up. I will read my fanfic by good writers and be happy with the platonic/familial relationship they have on the show.

I guess, how do we know they "consider" it? Part of the whole wank is that so many people have suggested it (Edlund, Misha, others) was a possibility or that some sort of connection beyond friends existed...but then this Chad guy, the Ben's of S6 and 7 and Guy Normabee (sp?) have all been like "wtf are you talking about" At the end of the day, it seems some people consider it, some people haven't and will never recognize it. It sort of reminds me SGA. The writers put in many references to John/Eizabeth and John/Teyla, but they never really planned on going there. And if you listen to different writers/producers, each had their own pairing they sort of thought of when they wrote or acted or directed something, but at the end of the day, John was always going to be a Kirk-like character, forever single (unless maybe we'd gotten a movie, like TOS!) so that they could set him up with the girl of the week. (Of course, those specific pairings don't have the additional issue of queer representation, but just the way TPTB talk about it seems similar to me.)

And no, I figured you didn't! I think you and I tend to agree on things like that. :) And yes, I do wish they could end up hunting together forever (because Dean won't ever give it up, nope), but it may just be that - them as platonic friends driving off in the distance. TBH, I'd like that more than them being together onscreen (because, again, I don't trust the writers).

Ugh, some of that was all over the place, but hopefully it makes sense.