Debunking Myth and Correcting Fandom Misconceptions: Destiel in SPN Family

Interest over time provided by Google

Interest Over Time compiled by Google

The Supernatural fandom is no stranger to wank, ship wars, campaigns and disconnects between the fandom and the production, cast and crew of the mainstay CW show, now entering its ninth season. However, this week online has been the most troublesome time period for the fandom in general, as WB Executive Chad Kennedy and director Guy Bee unknowingly created a massive divide within the show’s active and diverse online community. Their comments left many LGBTQ+ fans feeling entirely disenfranchised by the show’s narrative and production side, and alienated a large portion of one of the most thriving internet fandoms spun off by any television show: the Destiel shippers.

It’s not my intention to document the wank. The SPN PR Twitterpocalypse that apparently furthered earlier accusations of queerbaiting by Supernatural has been well covered in other media. For the best breakdown of. . . well, the breakdown, I would direct your attention to The Daily Dot.

However, one repeated “fact” being spread within this mess by a segment of the fans to the cast and crew deserves to be called out for the deliberate misdirection that it is.

The Destiel fandom is more than 1% of the population of the Supernatural Family. 

output_35nGPlThe internet fandom concept of Dean and Castiel as a romantic relationship has existed since the angel’s introduction Season 4, in much the way that Slash ships always arise in shows driven by the close relationships of male protagonists. Long before the term Destiel entered into the fandom vernacular, internet trends showed a fairly familiar rise of interest in the pairing of Dean and Castiel. For a time, they mirrored the earlier growth of Wincest (the fandom sexual relationship between brothers Dean and Sam Winchester) within trends in the online fandom.

However, what spurred the large backlash of viewer responses we saw within the Twitterpocalypse is the increasingly romantic light the pairing has been shown in within the canon of the show itself throughout Season 8. Throughout Season 8, the internet trend Destiel surpassed interest in all other ships, show concepts and even the show itself because the Internet began to wonder. . .

Were they actually going to do it?

Were they going to confirm the romantic relationship they have been displaying in well-known television tropes, in framing, in text and in subtext?

Example from the SPN PR Twitterpocalypse

Example from the SPN PR Twitterpocalypse

If Supernatural is in fact queerbaiting, in Season 8 the fandom took the bait. The pairing had us hooked. New viewers have flocked to the show in curiosity, Tumblr tags exploded with Destiel, fansites were created, podcasts speculated, even the media began to wonder.

The misconception that Destiel fans are a small part of the fandom actually overlooks some very simple truths in favor of unverified and condescending assertions. Based upon the results of Profound Bond’s census, many anti-shippers and more discontented members of other ships within Supernatural’s armada came to the conclusion that the numbers there were indicative of the entire fanbase. This discounts that many if not all methods of achieving accurate census on the Internet are highly flawed and provide an incomplete look at data, particularly fan created polls. Perhaps a better gauge of the ship’s prevalence online, and its prominence within the fandom, would be the fact that Destiel has not lost a single poll this year, or the widespread coverage of the ship in mainstream media over the past two months.

It should go without saying that this level of genuine attention has never been given to a “fandom created” homosexual ship in any show. It is far more on-level with the attention given to slow-burn television romances between male and female leads, such as the Rolling Stone cover of Mulder and Scully, and coverage of Castle and Beckett, or of Booth and Bones. This is a level of legitimacy given to this ship that spreads far beyond the enthusiasm of its fans, and indicates that this is an interest and news generator beyond Supernatural’s primary fanbase.

The systematic dismissal of the Destiel fandom has primarily been led by fans who viewed the introduction of a third lead as a threat to what they believe the core value of the show is: the relationship between brothers Sam and Dean (whether sexual or familial). These same people organized fan campaigns to have Castiel killed, to have Misha Collins fired from the show, and created a false narrative in which they portrayed Destiel shippers as sending hate and threats to actress Shannon Lucio, who was announced as a love interest to Castiel prior to the season beginning. Though these rumors were entirely false, her timeline was flooded with “apologies” on behalf of the fandom for rudeness that was not occurring. Throughout the Twitterpocalpyse, a stunning number of the comments sent to Kennedy, to Bee, and to other members of Cast and Crew were actually passive-aggressive attempts to completely dismiss the views of fans who were insulted and upset by the idea that a queer romance would need to be justified by the story-line. These comments from Bee and Kennedy were particularly concerning as they directly followed an episode in which the narrative had Castiel unnecessarily lose his virginity under false pretenses to a woman who then murdered him, in a series that uses and discards female love interests within the span of one episode on a regular basis.

The one percent myth was thrown at every writer, producer and crew member with even the vaguest form of creative control over the story in an attempt to devalue the view of upset fans and to create a negative view of shippers as being the “bad seed” of the fandom, despite the fact that many of the commentators are shippers themselves (of Wincest or J2) and are frequently the very people who demand changes to the show they are purportedly entirely happy with. When the question isn’t the correction of the mistake they consider Destiel or Misha Collins, they present themselves as the show’s only “true fans” and belittle the interpretation of others.

The truth is very clear, when you stop looking at fan-created ‘facts’ and push away the veil of false narratives and gaslighting techniques and claims of shippers cyber-bullying for their perspective, and look instead at verifiable facts within the show’s very active online fandom.

Interest Over Time provided by Google

Interest Over Time compiled by Google

Castiel overtook both brothers in terms of internet trends following Season 6’s “The Man Who Would Be King” and has remained the show’s most searched, reported-on, and discussed character now for two seasons, and has a staggering lead over the others entering into Season 9.

Destiel overtook Wincest as the primary ship of the show in Season 8, when new fans flocked to the show in hopes of seeing the romantic storyline they had heard about on the internet fulfilled.

Dean’s canon bisexuality has been speculated upon since Season 2, long before Castiel ever entered the picture, and would need no further “justification” within the show to feel natural and unforced.

These are not small portions of the fandom. This is not a viewpoint that should be casually dismissed.

output_9h0KeyIf Supernatural is in fact queerbaiting, with no intention of providing conclusion to the story-line they have built between Dean and Castiel, they need to address it to the fandom in a respectful manner, and they need to resolve it within the narrative of the show. But they need to do so fully understanding that this is not a “delusional” ship steered by a few “weirdo” fans who see “storylines that don’t exist.”

The show’s creative team needs to act with the full understanding that a substantial portion of their online fandom is searching for a romance they have come to truly appreciate as a large part of the appeal of the show’s beloved characters.

Posted on October 26, 2013, in Articles, Commentary/Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 208 Comments.

  1. Thank you for this article! It’s time for people to understand that we are not the minority in the Supernatural fandom. I appreciate this so much that I will start to share it everywhere immediately.

  2. Fantastic, thoughtful article! I am 100% supportive of Castiel and Dean/Castiel’s romantic narrative and would love to see a beautiful resolution to last season which made used of so many literary elements, tropes, and subtext to highlight their ‘profound bond’ and start turning a “more than just friends” storyline. I really hope they have not abandoned it in season 9, because as you have shown here, the popularity of this relationship has grown exponentially over the past 12 months and it is what many, many fans are anxiously tuning into see. Even though some PR this week hinted at this narrative not being explored, I can’t say that I have given up all hope. Until Jeremy Carver himself puts an axe to this ship, I say it sails on. We have the rest of season 9 to explore and season 10 is also in our future. I would tell the writers to take a risk and open themselves up to telling a less conventional love narrative. They can look at Charlie as an example: beloved, dynamic, and gay. Being a lesbian character, or in Dean’s case – being bisexual/pansexual/having a fluid sexuality, does not make you a different character. Sexuality =/= personality. As far as Dean/Castiel goes, for half a decade they have developed and nurtured their bond, I really don’t want to lose this no matter what happens with their romance. They are such a beautiful element to the Supernatural story that I hope nothing overshadows their continual development. 🙂

  3. All this does is show why Supernatural NEEDS to get rid of Castiel. If a side character is outshining the two actual leads of the show, and a fanfiction ship is standing in the way of real story, they need to take care of it and get the show back to what it’s really about: two brothers hunting monsters.

    I think it would be best if they moved Castiel to the spin-off show, so that everyone can be happy.

    • Actually I believe this shows how much they NEED to keep Castiel around. That second graph tells me that the ratings would plummet if they got rid of him. And it also tells me that “moving Castiel to the spin-off show would make everyone happy” is not true.

    • I don’t think that jensen and jared would let that happen you dumb hater.

    • Do you remember Season 7? Yup. This is how “amazing” the show is when it only focuses on Sam and Dean.

    • Uh you do know that season 9 is kind of an angel season as you can see in the new intro of spn ? Which actually means they won’t get rid of misha collins 🙂 he’s an important character for the show since season 4 i don’t think they will change their mind in this season so..

    • Castile is Awesome. Misha is even more awesome. He is a part of the show!

    • I think you haven’t understood that SPN wouldn’t survive without Castiel and the Dean/Cas dynamic. Compare the ratings of season 7 (only brothers) to season 9 and you will better understand these numbers. It’s no secret Castiel is an important character (mostly because of Misha). The moment he’s not around, the viewers leave. A show cannot survive 9-10 years without changing.

  4. what a good post

  5. “If a side character is outshining the two actual leads” then this means that people love him and that they should keep him around as long as it possible. GO TFW!

  6. They should keep Misha on the show forever. He is one of the characters that makes this show great. And it was a very wise idea to make him regular in season 9. Dean’s and Castiel’s realtionship is beautiful and the show runners need to develop it.

  7. Right, the correct business move is to get rid of elements that people are responding to. Thanks, but no thanks, to the worst business advice ever. What the show should do is embrace the elements that the fans are responding to, not shy away from them! In addition, they can revisit other storylines and narratives and figure out why they are not resonating as much with fans. The advice is to see what isn’t working in elements of the show that have always worked and figuring out why their popularity is diminishing. For instance, is it really necessary to have another season asking the question, “What is wrong with Sam Winchester?” How many seasons will the same plot device be used? Sam loses his soul. Sam is crazy. Sam is disconnected. Sam is possessed. Maybe the show should stop writing “Sam, interrupted” and go back to writing Sam Winchester. This is a character that used to be my favorite character, the person I could relate to the most. Season 6 changed that and I have never been able to go back to relating to him the way I used to and that is a pity. Now, this is only one piece of advice. Another piece of advice would be to look at Dean Winchester and really listen to fan opinion and their main concern for the past several seasons, which is that Dean seems to react more to events, storylines, characters than actually be involved in driving the action. Let Dean shine. Let him be at the forefront of a story arc that involves him mainly and let other characters to react to that. Work on tweaking these two things and you will go a long way in increasing fans excitements of Sam’s narrative and Dean’s narrative. Do not listen to the noisy minority of fans who insist that the show needs to regress to season 1 and be an isolated, claustrophobic “bros only” mess, because that isn’t true. If it were, the season that fans would have responded to the most since season 5 would have been season 7. Instead, that is the season that many fans continually say disappointed them the most. We missed Castiel. We missed Bobby. We missed the Impala. We missed having a myriad of rich and intricate characters and storylines *in addition* to Dean and Sam chasing monsters. The show has never been just about Dean and Sam. From the very beginning, the universe was created to encompass so many different characters and elements and it is this rich, diverse, and complex universe that is the reason why we’re still here for a ninth season. So please never listen to fans who want to tear the show down. Listen to fans who want to continue building it up. Centering season 9 around the fallen angels was such an impressive decision. Jeremy Carver and co. understood that fans were hungry for more of this story and wanted to see a more in-depth look at the angel mythology and so far the ratings prove that they were right. Supernatural is fresh, exciting, and compelling again. The series isn’t perfect, and fans such as myself want the series to continue developing the Dean/Cas narrative, but in general terms, the scope and direction of season 9 is absolutely perfect. 🙂

    • Yes! I completely agree! Sam’s story line has been getting really repetitive, and I think they need to mix things up a little for him. I for one would love for Sam to be able to have different opportunities with a new story line. Love this comment.

      • I’m sorry. Did you read the charts? Specifically the final chart that rates popularity of characters. It is the pushing of Sam as central and a (yes, repetitive, now) story line for Sam that is inhibiting the show’s growth. As the least popular of the Sam, Dean, and Castiel trio searched, it does not make sense in the television market to continue to concentrate on Sam. And if you’ll notice, his popularity dropped six seasons ago and has remained third consistently since then – by a wide margin. Continued concentration on him is beating a dead horse and could result in the end of a show we all love.

  8. When a side character is embraced so well by the viewers, it seems to me that it would be ratings suicide to axe him. I think it’s why they made Misha a regular.

  9. Excellent Article! I’m one of those that came to Supernatural trough the curiosity of how/if Destiel is going to play out on the show. And also to see if all of those gifs actually happened on the show

  10. Every episode last season with Cas got a huge boost in ratings and it’s no surprise why! This just proves it – people love him! He’s my favourite character and I know he is a lot of others too! This is why we need him on the show, the ratings would plummet without him!
    And as for Destiel, well! I still stand by it being the greatest love story i’ve ever seen on tv and nothing any of the crew say will change that. They may not have the guts to make it canon but to me, they became canon in 8×17.
    Supernatural was fine when it was just Sam and Dean but that was in the beginning. TV shows change, plots develop and characters evolve. Now its not just the brothers, its Team Free Will and that’s the way it needs to stay! 🙂

  11. I just want Ben Edlund back 😦 he was perfect ! Guy Norman Bee or whatever is such an douchebag what’s wrong with him he called us “weirdos”

    MISHA IS NEVER GOING TO LEAVE! Never never never nope in your dreams! You know what ? Since season 4 Supernatural is not just about two brothers hunting monsters.

  12. BellaWinchester

    Thank you for this amazing article! Finally someone said that we are not a small part of the fandom. In my opinion we are the mayority. This article is just says it all, thank you.

  13. As the show is now in its ninth season, and Castiel has been an important part for five seasons, it occurs to me that the “only about two bros” people are a wee bit out of touch.I love the Winchester Brothers, but I loved Bobby, and I love Crowley, Jody, Kevin, Abaddon, Charlie, Heck – I like Aaron and his Golem. I’m still hoping they manage to bring back Chuck, and Gabriel and Michael. I don’t think Frank is really dead, and where in the heck did the Alpha Vamp go? Bring them back! They are wonderful characters who enrich the show immensely – like Castiel.

  14. Very good article. As someone who is very active in the fandom and has seen most of what you write about unfold in real time, I can attest that all the facts are correct. Thanks for taking the time to research and source and write this excellent analysis.

  15. *slow clap* Awesomely written and well put. Thanks for writing such an amazing piece on a subject we care very deeply about.

  16. I think the crew needs to understand that not every fan of the characters, or the pairings are on shipping, or are fanfiction or slash fiction readers.

    I’ve been watching SPN since season 2 was airing, and I gradually thought Dean had that something that made him maybe insecure about his sexuality, while Sam was the opposite.
    When Castiel came on in season 4, and the subtext between those two increased in season 5 I still thought it was just that, plain subtext, cute funny moments. But season 6 made me believe they were growing as a couple of friends that maybe had feelings other than friendly feelings for each other. And then, season 8 went full romantic text, and no producer or director can deny me that.

    I read fanfiction about Dean and Cas since the end of 2012. In comparison with the many years I’ve watch SPN, it doesn’t make sense that someone tells me that I’ve been brainwashed by slash fiction.

    I don’t need them to kiss each other. I don’t need “canon” to know that they are canon. That they love each other. And maybe that is Dean the one more interested, but it’s so hard for him to acknowledge that because he’s a difficult character. So it wouldn’t surprise me that he will never act on that, and that actually plays on favor of this show, that sadly, will never take that last step.

    But what it makes me sad, it’s this people denying what I’ve been watching. That I can’t think Dean is bisexual, because to them it’s a horrible thing to say about a character. I know it’s taboo, and I don’t need them to remind me that, because fiction is supposed to be an escape to shitty reality.
    Why not letting the characters and the story evolve? And letting them be what they are?
    Why not letting fans believe what they believe?

    If fiction is not supposed to make you feel things, then what’s the job of these people?

    I hope they have a reunion about this stuff. Not everything is numbers and ratings, because when they start to believe that fiction is about that, then people is going to start to move on… like a lot of people that is already starting to quit this show. Which is the saddest thing, because SPN has everything to make a good show, and that good show is about a lot of stuff; Monsters, family, survival, depression, love…
    The narrative is huge, and has space for relationship.

    Dean and Cas is actually the most romantic thing I’ve seen in TV, and they’re not even “together.” Their evolution, their friendship is what it made them be this huge. Because TV is afraid of people really falling in love. Most couples look at themselves, and we know they’re going to get together after a while. But them, they’ve been together for years, and had ups and downs, they’re like a marriage trying hard to not get a divorce in these years that people don’t even fight to mantain love.
    They have everything. But their sin? Society’s rules.

  17. i started watching Supernatural because of Destiel. I had never been tempted to watch the show before. Then I started seeing Misha all over tumblr and i became curious about him and Supernatural. Two years later, I’m a huge Supernatural fan and i ship Destiel.For myself and many new fans, the show has never been just about the two brothers.

  18. great article! and it’s what we all feel, but haven’t really had the stats to back it up.

  19. Thank you for a clear breakdown of what’s been happening in the fandom. I’ve been watching it first-hand and see so many misconceptions carelessly slung around about Destiel fandom and what Dean/Cas fans want and shippers and what went down this week, along with the usual accusations that Dean/Cas fans are a such a tiny insignificant freaksome part of the fanbase we don’t matter and don’t count and should be ignored. Aside from that the size of a portion of fandom doesn’t mean it’s ok to bash and bully them and tell them they aren’t real fans, the claims about the supposed insignificance of Dean/Cas shippers have always looked manufactured. It’s almost impossible to determine actual percentages, but you’ve laid out a lot of how it’s certainly not a 1% situation. Also networks are considering social media statistics more and more. The almighty Nielsen box system has been proven flawed, we have live + 7 stats, twitter ratings, networks count streaming views on their website, and marketing departments use tools like google analytics. Also numbers help, but aren’t the only deciding factor. If the creative minds behind SPN didn’t find Castiel and the Dean & Cas bond interesting, it wouldn’t be here.

    For a show to survive, it needs a diverse fanbase and it needs passionate, devoted fans. It doesn’t benefit the show to get rid of a popular character or a beloved ship that wins virtually every internet poll it shows up in. We have also seen in the past that narrowing SPN to “only the brothers” has hurt the show creatively and numbers wise.

    “Majority” gets used a lot as a shut-down, that because the show’s center heart is Sam and Dean and majority of fans love the brothers, that’s the only pov that matters in the fandom or to the network. But that “majority” isn’t fans into SPN *solely* for Sam and Dean. Dean/Cas shippers, for example, find the Winchester brother bond resonant. Many Sam fans and Dean fans, and fans of the brother bond, love Castiel and the “profound bond.”

    Great article!

  20. This is a really fantastic article, especially in light of all the controversy recently. As a queer fan and Destiel shipper myself, I can’t even express how GOOD it feels to be understood & defended by this article. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you.

  21. THANK GOD (Chuck?) THIS ARTICLE EXISTS! I’ve been estimating the percent of Destiel fans versus the entire fandom and this finally proves my point….Plus, this really is the core of the issue. I mean, I’M one of those fans that came because of Destiel. It took me months find out that their relationship wasn’t actually canon. And now that this whole “Dean was never meant to be bi” and “they were never meant to be romantic” stuff has come up, I’m really just like, “Then what have we been watching for the past eight years?” And yes, I said eight. There were plenty examples of Dean being arguably bisexual before Castiel showed up (and not with Sam). Just saying….

  22. Wow, this article and the statistics supporting everything within it are fantastically done! I am absolutely in love with the clean summarization of statistics and facts! Thank you for writing this!!

  23. I started watching Spn right after the season finale of season 8. It was probably the week after it aired in Australia, so 2 weeks. I was on tumblr and had heard about Spn. My sister and I are very into it. She is not a shipper, and she says she never will be. I however, ship Destiel, whether as a romance or a bromance, and we were chatting about it. She said even she without any shipper goggles saw it. The long stares, the “I need you” and the worry that his best friend died, and lots more examples. If they didn’t want people to think that, then they shouldn’t have written it like that…

  24. What an amazing article. Thank you.
    It will be very interesting to see how SPN goes from here on, will they alienate this obvious large part of the fandom?
    Will they keep the door open to make profit out of it?
    Will they elaborate a formal statement to address the issue?

    Whatever they do, it will for sure determine the values this show stands for, or doesn’t.

  25. The Dean and Castiel dynamic is so so amazing, and I’m glad that it’s finally getting some media attention! I really hope that they will not choose to throw this beautiful romantic story way, because it not only IS worth telling, and would be an AMAZING and groundbreaking representation of queer relationships, but it would be so silly to have them throw away one of the greatest love stories ever told simply because they are both men.

    Some people say that the relationship is ‘left open to interpretation’. My question is this: How come same sex romances like Dean and Cas get left open to interpretation, but Hetermosexual romances (Dean and Lisa, Sam and Amelia, ect.) get defined and pushed in our faces? Why can’t we see ONE believable main queer character who’s storyline doesn’t revolve around them being queer?

    Why are TPTB so scared of taking that one leap of faith and crating one of the best story arcs in the history of television, all because they are too scared of same sex couples?

    I still have a lot of hope for the season, and hope for them recognizing Dean and Cas as a canon couple – but if they don’t, I would really like to see them answer some of those questions.

  26. Thanks, this was a great article!

  27. somethingsamish

    Oh wow, I am so relieved that this article exists. Mark my words I plan on linking the crap out of it to everyone I know. It is so true, so calm and so completely accurate in its breakdown of what has been happening this week. Also, looking at the comments, it is really beautiful and nice to see that others are reacting positively to this post as well. Love love love this article.

  28. DestielIsNotAThing

    You’re out of your mind. Destiel shippers are not the majority of the fandom. You are ridiculous. You can put up all the search statistics you want – I’d lay $100 down on half the searches being to mock or hate on Destiel vs supporting it.

    And yes – there’s an entire faction of you who are cyber bullies – to the show staff and regular fans.

    • Interesting. You have so much more negative a view of the fandom than I do. The majority of searches for a pairing are trolls looking to insult the ship?

      Well, I suppose perhaps you would better know the behaviors of that segment of fandom than I do. Would you care to explain those behaviors? Perhaps it’s a good subject for another article on the trollish behaviors of segments of fandom, and which segments do it most.

      Would you care to provide a quote on cyber-bullying, as a clear expert on the other side of the subject matter?

  29. I have a quick question – if Destiel shippers are the majority of this fandom, then how in the world are you getting the most hate? Are you sending hate to yourselves? Because you can’t have it both ways.

    That being said, Castiel is a great character that deserves to be allowed to develop outside of his relationship with Dean. It’s really sad that you only care about him as he relates to Dean. He should be allowed to have his own identity outside of being Dean’s socially awkward sidekick/potential love interest. By nature of the ship, you are willing to stunt his character development and deny Misha Collins of a wonderful opportunity to make Castiel a three dimensional, muti-layered character. How sad. If you really cared about Castiel or Misha you would stop the fandom meltdowns and support what they’re doing with him this season.

    • “then how in the world are you getting the most hate?”

      Because you guys are the smallest but nastiest faction?

      • What “faction”? The “faction” of fans that actually gives a shit about Castiel?

      • Perhaps the faction that hops onto blog posts like this from the “Destiew” tag and the Twitter posts of self-declared haters who call Castiel “TGDA” and fans of this pairing “Detestielers.”

        Perhaps she means that faction.

  30. It sounds like you are asking for two different things here. Your first complaint seems to be that the rest of Supernatural fandom should treat Destiel shippers better, particularly on Twitter. You are legion and the rest of fandom should recognize it. Okay. I don’t have any problem with that. There do seem to be a lot of you. I don’t mind treating people nicely on Twitter.

    Then you say, “If Supernatural is in fact queerbaiting, with no intention of providing conclusion to the story-line they have built between Dean and Castiel, they need to address it to the fandom in a respectful manner, and they need to resolve it within the narrative of the show.”

    I think “queerbaiting” is a loaded and offensive term, but that aside, what would provide the “conclusion” you want? A specific declaration of romantic love? A kiss? Exclusivity? (as in neither man having any other sexual partners?) Sharing a bed? Cohabitation? Marriage? Is there a consensus on this even among Destiel shippers?

    Any time a fan group claims to be the majority of fans, there is the implied threat “give us what we want to see, or we’ll stop watching.” It’s older than the Internet. You ask that the writers tell you if they are going to give you what you want, because you are so many and so powerful, and why would they do that? When, in the history of television, have writers and producers ever done that?

    They can’t satisfy everyone. Even within in the dozen or so people who left comments here, there are different preferences and desires. All they can do is write the story. They don’t have to “respect” any fandom group.

    • Hello, Liz! First of all, thank you for the comment. You have a few questions and concerns about the article, so I’d like to jump in here to clarify a few things.

      It was not my intent, when I began my research, to try and thumb my nose and declare Destiel the most popular ship; I was looking for some manner to determine if the ship was more than 1% of the viewing population of Supernatural.

      I wasn’t an active participant in the meltdown on Twitter and Tumblr. I watched it unfold, dumbfounded at how many of the comments were flatly dismissive of the concerns of the Destiel fans. It seemed as if the intent was to drown out genuine hurt and requests for clarification by declaring that shippers were simply a weirdo, violent, minority who weren’t true fans

      This is a large part of the narrative being tweeted to Bee and Kennedy, and on from there to cast and crew.

      The thing that really bothers me about the Supernatural family is how prevalent false narratives are within the fandom. That one percent one was specific enough to prove; first, as I was busy on another project, that question was posed by myself and several other upset fans to Fandom (de)Bunker on Tumblr. When they indicated that they wouldn’t know where to begin trying to come up with real numbers, I fell back on my past career working websites and marketing and began research of my own.

      Even I was staggered by the results I saw. I was not expecting that; because I too had bought that false narrative. Because every attempt to speak up within this fandom results in those very sentiments being thrown around in your wake.

      It is at that point that I was generally stung by how very damaging these myths are. My intention in writing this was as much to arm with factual data people whose opinions were being disregarded as entirely unimportant in the manner I outline above.

      Now, to the queerbaiting aspect. I think it’s important to differentiate here between queerbaiting and fanservice. From seasons 4 through, in my opinion 6, the pairing was given a very obvious level of fanservice to gain ratings and keep shippers happy. Starting with the trench coat in season 7, and on through the whole of season 8, I believe they crossed the line. Others may place it at an earlier date, but I didn’t really see the pairing as potentially MORE than subtextual until “The Man Who Would be King” and then “Born-Again Identity” pushed it farther for me.

      And if it was the intention of the narrative, if that was something that they genuinely intended to explore, that would have been fine. I, like many others, was curious as to if they would.

      I believe a misunderstanding of the severity of that problem is at heart in much of these debates.

      Queerbaiting is in some ways even more damaging than outright erasure, because it dangles before the fans the possibility of representation, knowing that LGBTQ+ fans will gravitate to the show and the story in hopes of it. They give hints of potential, they leave “interpretation” so open-ended that queer fans wait in anticipation of a resolution that simply. . . will not come. Sudden hetoronomative themes will be forced back into the story in the narrative’s slap-in-the-face “No homo!”

      Getting that from the production side, not even in the story, and in such a dismissive manner as “weirdos” and “justified by the storyline” was a huge slap in the face of queerbaiting.

      What queerbaiting does, is tell the LGBTQ+ fans that their stories are inappropriate or unimportant enough that they do not deserve to be told. It tells queer people that their stories are only acceptable if they’re shoved back into the closet.

      I think at this point it’s important to establish that both sides of the argument see queer-baiting in the narrative not merely Destiel fans. The problem is, that blame for the queerbaiting is placed on fans who took the bait, not upon the show who put it out there.

      I find that fairly problematic in many ways.

      Now, is there an implied threat of “give us what we want or we leave?” I find that problematic as well.

      That harkens back to true fans mentality. It is the right of any individual to walk away from the show if they are no longer enjoying it, or they feel disrespected by the narrative. We are not a captive audience. That does not beholden the show to the views expressed at them, but if they are in the opinion that this is a noisy one percent minority as they are perpetually told, they’re decision making under false pretenses.

      And if the Destiel fans are being bullied by their fellow fans and made to feel insignificant, then I do believe they should be allowed to stay and fight back or walk away as they so choose. If the LGBTQ+ fans feel personally mistreated by the narrative, they too are allowed to stay and fight or walk away as they so choose.

      But I believe all involved should be able to do so without the cloud of false facts. My intention of writing this article was stated within the title. Personally, I hope that the show can treat all fans with respect; even the noisy minorities.

      • So is your point to establish your victim status? The Destiel shippers, and particularly the LGBTQ fans, are not the aggressors in this controversy, but the true victims of bullying? What if the rest of fandom agrees with you? What if we all say, “Okie-doke, you’re the victims.” What then? You didn’t answer my questions about what Destiel shippers want the writers and producers to do.

        What fan group really ever gets everything they want on this show? The “storyline for Dean” people have never been adequately satisfied. The “amulet” people were told, “LOL, no.” What would make Destiel fans feel “respected?”

      • Not being queerbaited would be an excellent start.

        Not being systematically targeted for things like this, actually, would be fantastic as well.

        Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not a victim in this. I picked a fight with a troll last night who was tagging hate. If by “picked a fight” you mean I said “Please don’t tag your hate” and didn’t back down at the inevitable demands that I overlook the rudeness of one segment of fans because they see themselves in the right.

        Yes. They’re absolutely right in tagging actual -hate- on a con tag about an actor, a real human being, because they think he’s getting in the way of their RPF about two other men, who have wives and children who are all an elaborate beard system . . . THAT is completely valid whereas my interpretation of two fictional characters is not.

        I’m delusional for seeing something being written into the text of a story. I’m delusional for ever bringing it up, or hoping for more.

        Honestly? I don’t care what you ship, or what anyone ships. I don’t care who your faves are, or what aspect of the story drew you in personally. I don’t hop on in defense of Castiel everywhere I see him labeled “TGDA” or my shipmates as “Detestielers.”

        So why does a segment of this fandom feel so insecure that they absolutely have to create false facts like “1%” and charges of threats and complaints of unverified information, to build a false narrative just to drown out an opinion they don’t agree with.

        Why do they need to gather up links to posts like mine, and put out a rallying call “Some delusional destiel shipper is making graphs it’s such bullshit, here’s her name come join me.”

        You do realize all of you, all . . . oh, what’re we up to now? 156 comments? Who piled into my box in an attempt to do that to me, on my own personal blog, merely because I did research and posted something that was of comfort to the people this is done to on a regular basis. . .

        You’re part of the problem.

        I’m not looking for you to see me as a victim. I think I’m pretty clearly holding my own here.

        I wasn’t attempting to portray that my shipmates are the victims, either.

        This post was actually fairly empowering for them. And that is, apparently, not permitted. So. . . stop questioning who the victims are.

        Start looking at where the hate is coming from. Because that is doing more damage to our fandom than any other factor in this entire mess.

        We can have differences of opinions without it devolving into name calling, lies, hate and personal harassment.

      • Because apparently I can’t reply directly to liztalksabout’s reply, I’ll put it here.

        liz, YOU’RE the one using the term “victim,” not anyone else. What are you trying to get at, throwing around that term? Are you saying if someone has been bullied and mistreated, if this is something that has happened to them IN REALITY, and they don’t want to be labeled by you and others as a victim, they should minimize, ignore or deny the bullying and mistreatment? They should say “it’s not really so bad, not nearly as hurtful as it seems” or “nevermind, none of that stuff happened, pay it no more attention”? They should endorse your warped perception of the situation so that you won’t name-call?

        Frankly, it seems like you’re continuing the mistreatment, trying to force silence so you and others like you won’t start throwing around labels.

        Look. There’s no use denying reality. If YOU choose to label people due to the cruelty they’ve faced from others, then that’s YOUR choice. Just know – it doesn’t invalidate or erase anything that happened.

      • First, I want to say that, as a gay man, I find it offensive that you choose to speak on behalf of all LGBT fans of SPN, as I sincerely doubt you are a member of the community yourself. Your whole paragraph on “queerbaiting” is so wrong, I hardly know where to begin- other than at the beginning of the fact that LGBT does not begin and end at destiel. Not every LGBT fan of SPN finds destiel to be either desirable, worthwhile or even appropriate. Dean would be much happier with someone who isn’t as faithless, mistrustful and disrespectful as Cas. If I had my way (not that I would hound and harass the cast and crew to get it, mind you), I would like to see Dean with Benny, if Dean were even to come out as bisexual (which I sincerely doubt would ever happen in this genre).

        Secondly, there are not three main characters on SPN. A main character is someone who is in every episode. I doubt Cas has even been in 50% of aired eps.

        Third, what is so disrespectul of TPTB saying, “we have no idea what you are talking about?” Yes, I realize that you consider yourself the victim of “queerbaiting” but that doesn’t mean it happened, or if it did- that TPTB will suddenly tearfully admit to being big bad meanies.

        Your constant refrain of “we get canon, or they must respectfully there were queerbaiting to the entire community!” – is an untimatum where neither outcome is ever going to happen. Which is why you will always be angry.
        It does make me sad to think you’ve put all this time and energy into this, and you won’t even be able to enjoy the show.

        Your charts seem to indicate that Castiel is the most Googled character on the show, which frankly makes him the functional equivalent of Kim Kardasian.

      • Excuse me? Are you the authorized ambassador to the LBGTQ+ community yourself? Can we see some credentials?

      • …I’m sorry, are you going around questioning “queer cred” now in an attempt to intentionally be invasive? Because whether or not you intended to come across as dismissive, you are deeply insulting at that point to me.

        My ability to provide a rational commentary somehow means I am no longer a representative of my community? Interesting. Please tell that to all of the other many fans who are LGBTQ+ online.

        Let’s look at a very small statistical sampling of some of the fandom’s quite active members. I am going to use this data sent to me that you might find particularly illuminating.

        This poll asked over 10,000 users of popular fanfiction website AO3 (most of whom also used Tumblr) to identify their favorite fandoms, alongside gender and sexuality.

        According to the results, there were 3604 Supernatural fans surveyed. Of this group, 1008 identified as heterosexual women. None of the Supernatural fans who responded identified as heterosexual men. (Both of those definitions include binary trans people, so even fewer that that identify as both cis and heterosexual.)

        Therefore 72% of the writers surveyed in Supernatural identified as queer, an even higher proportion of queer fans than that found overall in the survey, 68%.

        Now, as discussed above, there are limitations to every online survey – but this data guarantees that there are at least 2596 queer Supernatural fans writing online actively. That’s more than 0.1% of the typical episode viewing figures (2.3 million last episode) just from queer people who happened to fill out this survey.

        Now, whether or not you take this one poll to be an accurate sampling (I do not, it speaks more of the draw of AO3 than the whole fandom) it is still indicative that you should not begin posts to individual writers immediately assuming you know ANYTHING about their sexual identity. Honestly, I would think that would just be common courtesy and sense in general, since that’s hardly how I want any conversation to begin in real life either.

        Answering the phone and being asked if I’m queer, for instance.

        So please rephrase from there to give me the least disrespectful portions of your OWN post, and I will address them accordingly.

      • You’re mistaken. The show does not “queerbait”; the show throws around lol-gay jokes. Is it better? No. But it’s quite different. It happened before with wincest-leaning jokes; it happened again with destiel-leaning jokes. Unfortunately, there are too many destiel shippers that seem to be sort of tone-deaf, and take clear jokes as confirmation it’s totally going to be canon.

      • Rather than expect you to read the myriad sources I have within the body of the text, and within the comments surrounding you, I’ll directly send them to you here so you have a better understanding of queerbaiting as regards to this pairing, and how it is not merely my opinion. I recommend reading them. However, I’ll give you a few salient points.

        “But this also caused a lot of anxiety for fans because if Dean was interested in men and, by extension, Castiel, then why, after four years, had nothing happened to make it official yet? One logical response is to say that Dean actually isn’t bisexual after all.

        But it’s not that simple.

        If he’s not bisexual, then why is there at least four seasons worth of story that pretty convincingly suggest that he is?

        When a TV show, or other form of media, allows its audience to think one or more of their characters might be queer; when they hook an audience along (an audience already desperate for representation) by teasing the possibility; when they benefit from the ratings boost and the free publicity, but then end up never following through, what they’ve done is called queerbaiting.”

        “It’s at least a first step in the right direction to have Charlie, the only queer and more prominent character on the show, being treated respectfully. Is it okay to say that people should be happy with such a small step and that she should be enough? No. What people are looking for are believable stories about love and friendship regardless of any orientation. Not sidekicks, parodies, stereotypes.”

        “If you google “queer baiting” the third hit after “definition” is Supernatural. I laughed when I saw that because of course it is. I admittedly watch the show without my shipping glasses because I generally like to focus on the relationships that the show is writing for us. But this past season was queer baiting to a new degree. It seemed like they were truly working on making a character a bit more sexually fluid than he had been before and then the actor completely denied any possibility of that at all. It is possible that viewers and I were just seeing things but I don’t buy that for a minute. If someone sees possible queer representation without even looking for it, it’s probably because it was intentional. It wasn’t just bad gay jokes or fan service, it was queer baiting.

        Once a crew member admits anything about a character’s sexuality, you cannot later claim that a character is a straight ally or continue to make little maybe gay jokes because then it’s just asshole behavior. You aren’t trying to set up a queer character, you are just making fun of even the idea that a character could be queer and that is not ok.”

        “Dean and Castiel have had a very intense relationship since Castiel first showed up four seasons ago, and many fans think this relationship could plausibly evolve into an onscreen romance. Supernatural is no stranger to queer-baiting (let’s be real here: there is a lot of “no homo” humor between Sam and Dean), but recently there have been hints that Dean and Cas might just make the leap into canon romance. Maybe. Possibly.

        Season 8, episode 17 is one of the slashiest hours of television a Destiel fan could’ve hoped for. But according to a recent interview with the cast at a Toronto fan convention, the perceived romance could’ve been a whole lot more explicit. In fact, the original script had Dean saying “I love you,” to Castiel. Actor Jensen Ackles replaced the line with “We’re family, I need you,” because Dean isn’t really the touchy-feely type.
        Aside from the popularity of Destiel for its own merits, a lot of fans would like to see Dean Winchester come out as bisexual. It’s relatively rare to see bisexual men on TV, and rarer still to see them come out in later life, after previously identifying as straight. Dean’s uber-macho behaviour and slightly homophobic attitude are often interpreted as signs of denial, and many longtime viewers feel it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to admit that Dean Winchester is into dudes.”

        “The difference seems to be that some fans believe it is harassment to force the actors to confront the possibility that their characters might be homosexual.

        I’ll just leave that statement right there.

        Of course, no one wants to see the actors harassed. No one wants to see hysterical fans desperately throwing themselves at the cast, demanding that they acknowledge the deep love between X and Y character and/or themselves, because actors are people too and should be treated with respect.

        But in this writer’s personal opinion, there’s a difference between harassing, and asking the creators of these characters you love and identify with to acknowledge you and your interpretation – whether that interpretation is about a character’s love of a brother, a friend, or a potential lover of either gender.

        Do the actors have to agree with it? No, of course not. They’re actors, they are there to act. They go to conventions to feed the fandom, to make fans feel like they have a personal connection with the show, to give loyal viewers a chance to get up close with the stars and go home with happy memories and memorabilia (for a price).

        I’m sure each actor has to deal with a number of questions that make them internally roll their eyes and think, Not this crap again. These fans are crazy! I’m sure a lot of topics make them embarrassed or uncomfortable.

        So singling out slash shipping (or shipping in general), when there is so much more that might be awkward for the actors to be confronted with? That is problematic. Whether you’re an actor, a creator, or a fan, I have to question the logic that “slash shipping is cool as long as we don’t talk about it.” Don’t ask, don’t tell? Really, fandom?”

        I would continue responding, but I would prefer you please educate yourself as to the source materials and the wide variety of opinions apart from ‘tone deaf’ people who didn’t get a no-homo joke! out of Purgatory, out of “I did it, all of it, for you” out of “Talk to me” and “I need you” and out of years of their increasingly romantic relationship actually being a driving force behind major plot arcs as well.

      • Cultural appropriation is a thing, certainly more so than your so-called “queer baiting” and when heterosexual women who fetishize two straight white cis guys kissing start complaining that they are being harmed by homophobia, it understandably gets my hackles up.

        If you can’t parse out the rest of my comment around that (including the later comment where I expressed how sorry I was about what happened to you in Dallas) that’s on you.

      • Again, we’re back to “silly straight shipper girls” being the only people who see this, obviously, and queer-cred discrediting of a ship that has widespread support and interpretation well beyond the viewers you claim are fetishizing.

        Because obviously Supernatural is going to become gay porn on the show at any time now, just to placate them.

        What people are seeing in the show is a romantic relationship: it is entirely possible to portray that respectfully.

        The fact that you are so utterly dismissive of that and of the diverse audience that also sees it, and the opinions of anyone who interprets the relationship that way after years of increasingly blatant text and subtext. . .

        Well, my friend. That’s on you.

      • ZC, I used the term “victim” because that is clearly how ExorcisingEmily is characterizing Destiel shippers.

        Frankly, I can’t understand your post, so I’ll excuse myself from this discussion.

      • liztalksabout, the only thing Emily did was point out actual things that happened in reality. She’s not crying “I’m a victim!” or characterizing D/C shippers as such, she’s saying “shit went down, here’s how it went, and them’s the facts”. You trotted out the term “victim” & used it as an insult. Since you didn’t understand before, I’ll be clear: I’m saying that’s shitty behavior on your part.

      • I’m not sure if this discussion is truly going anywhere, but I’d like to offer my two cents.

        Can we please not ASSUME that all destiel fans are young girls who want to watch two men have sex on camera. After the whole fiasco with Chad’s twitter, I paid close attention to what the reactions were on other sites (namely tumblr). And do you know what I saw? Not ONCE did I personally see a young girl go “oh no, my fantasies are crushed!!” I saw people honestly and (fairly) calmly saying that they did NOT want a Dean/Cas sex scene, instead they wanted the writers / characters to at least ADMIT that there is something there.

        And before you get mad and say that destiel shippers are just “seeing things that aren’t there” …
        When we get lines IN THE SHOW that say things like:
        “Ask him, he was your boyfriend first” – Meg to Dean
        and “You have me confused with the other angel. You know, the one in the dirty trench coat who’s in love with you.” – Balthazar to Dean
        or even “I was becoming too close to the humans in my charge. You.” – Castiel to Dean
        And those are just a few statements made by characters. We could discuss for hours the number of times Castiel did something for Dean or vice versa. But apparently that means nothing. We’re completely delusional and making things up.

        I, for one, did not take one glance at Castiel and think “I want him with Dean cuz that’d be hot.” I did not start shipping Dean and Castiel until late in season 4 when Castiel (in a way) disobeys heaven by telling Dean how to stop Lilith from seeing Sam. Because it was in that moment that I realized Castiel values Dean’s friendship and truly wants to help him. The show did that. I did not make up their chemistry. I did not make up their lines. It was there that I started to see what COULD be.

        I have spoken to many people about Supernatural. There was one instance where I met someone who had NEVER heard of destiel. Upon hearing about this ship, they did not turn away in disgust or think that it was just a young girl’s fantasy. They thought about it and said “I can see that” and that was the end of that conversation. This was a bit of an eye opener for me. Because, it’s true that not everyone know about destiel, but how many of them would be okay with the pairing after learning of it?

        If Castiel was a woman from the start, how quickly do you think she and Dean would have jumped into bed together? And you know what? Nobody would argue about it being a young girl’s fantasy. People might hate it, and get mad at the two characters for doing that (as we have seen previously with other woman who sleep with Dean or Sam), but we would NOT be having the conversation if Castiel was in a woman’s body. Because suddenly, a sexless angel in a woman’s body sleeping with another man is totally okay and believable. But in a man’s body? Scandalous!

        If I wanted to watch two men having sex, I’d go look up some porn. This is NOT what I want to see from Dean and Castiel. Do not assume that because I ship destiel I want to have this happen. And do not assume that all destiel shippers are female.

        This whole thing with the LGBTQ fans being represented is a valid excuse. Even if several LGBTQ fans do not want destiel to happen.

        Dean IS based on a bisexual character. Do your research. “Sam and Dean” are based on “Sal and Dean” in “On the Road”
        In this novel, Dean’s father is an alcoholic who abandons him when he’s a child and Dean searches for his father for many years but does not succeed.
        Sound familiar?
        Also in this novel, Dean is “a womanizer who lives for ‘kicks’ with both men and women.”

        You want to deny that Dean is bisexual, go ahead. But for me, the facts are right there clear as day. You want to deny that Dean and Cas might be a little bit gay for each other? Go ahead. But for me, the facts are right there.

  31. Am I the only one who is completely oblivious to any “wars” with the exception of people commenting about said wars and articles like this one? Holey Moley! Can’t anyone just enjoy a show for what it is???

    • I wish I were oblivious to the matter. Honestly, I didn’t go into this looking for it: I wrote a fanfic because I had an idea, I watched the show with a diverse group of fans representing the main mindsets of the show.

      I briefly blogged about it with my DeanGirl and my Moosekateer providing those perspectives alongside me, but that eventually tailed off. Not because of wank between the three of us (we still watch every episode of the show together) but because typing dictation when we’re all talking so darned much every episode is rather counter the idea of enjoying the discussion.

      Honestly, I think we should record it or something. Great debates. Great perspectives. And we manage to do it hate-free.

      The problem is that there is a small faction on the internet that takes cyber-bullying to extremes, and makes it difficult to be part of the ONLINE fandom of the show. I didn’t realize just how bad that was until it spilled over into my life offline, while I was at DallasCon representing a fanzine and rumors were apparently brewing online that I was there only to ‘stalk’ a Cas-Hater going to Misha’s M&G.

      It was baffling. I had no idea what that was about. But hey, facts were irrelevant.

      It was bothersome, too. Which is how I’ve come to be a target of these silly online tactics.

      I want to enjoy the show. I do. The online fandom, I honestly could take or leave at this point because of behaviors like the myriad comments below. I DO find things problematic about the show queerbaiting, however, and tried to address that within the article.

      I truly hope this level of behavior never impacts your enjoyment of the show. If you’re happy with it, I am happy for you! But we all have our perspectives and opinions.

  32. You guys do realize, you can change the graphics using different key words? Nice try, but next time use real science and real facts! Not something based on how often people look at something online! This only tells what’s a hot topic at the moment and not how many people actually like it!

    • … Yes. Obviously when you change the terms it changes the output. What would be the point of a graph otherwise? I’m frankly baffled by that argument. And since this is about the online fandom response to the Twitterpocalypse. . . why wouldn’t I look at online trends and behaviors?

    • I work for one of Manhattan’s top ad agencies, and while Google Trends and Wordtracker are not “scientific” as such, they are legitimate tools that are used in most market research.

  33. I could not disagree with this article more. I think Castiel after probably one season became a mere fan service character. I bet you if they asked any writer at the time they didn’t intend to keep him on as long as they have. That is purely because a faction started championing him with Dean. Well i for one think he’s changed where this show was headed in a negative way. A lot of us enjoyed the show pre season 4 in fact they were probably the greatest seasons, pre angelic takeover.

    I think it’s all well and good shipping people but when you try and force the writers hands to change the way a show is written for your own desires then you ruin the show we all fell in love with. This show started and will end with Sam and Dean and the brothers. That’s what I think is pretty obvious most people watch for. I’m sorry but you are indeed not the majority by any means at all. You just want people to think that. Most people I’ve seen all over twitter have been raging at the actions of your faction of so called ‘fans’. I just wish you’d make good on your promise and leave instead of sticking around and just threatening to. It’s so tedious.

    You are not only bringing bad feeling to fandom but you are criticizing the very people who gave you these characters you claim to love so much. The writers. They don’t deserve such vitriol. They never had this vision in the first place that’s not how they want the story to go and the day they start being dictated to by the likes of your faction is the day this show is ruined. Please stop tarring all us Supernatural with the same crazy brush. I understand you liking something but accept if the actors, especially Jensen doesn’t want it to go that way, that most of the fans and the writers themselves don’t want it to go that way or think it exists then you need to let it go. It’s so exhausting.

    • Given the bodily type of actors who play Sam & Dean, it’s sort of silly to try and claim high grounded “purity” out of fan-servicy realm. The show would not have lasted for one season if those two have been played by two less that good looking middle aged men. The show IS based on fan service. So, on that point? No cigar.

    • I find this an incredibly amusing viewpoint. You see, one of the common things spewed at me as a Destiel fan is that I am a “Fake Fan” because. . . I am enjoying the show as they have been writing the show. Including the relationship between Dean and Castiel, which has been one of the central relationships of the show alongside Sam and Dean’s.

      Only Kripke’s Season 1-5 seasons (and in your comment, 1-4) are at all in-line with what the entire “point” of the show is in your opinion. And yet, I am the one invited to leave the fandom regularly, though you haven’t been invested in it properly since Season 4.

      I think attempting to force the creative team to maintain an outdated status quo, that has not been the status quo since Kripke left, is about on par with what you accuse me of.

      You’re right now criticizing the very people who have been giving you these characters you claim to love so much, by claiming that anything after Season 4 is inaccurate representation of the heart of the show.

      I understand you liking an aspect of the show; I very much enjoy Dean and Sam and their brotherhood as well; but when your faction starts dictating that they are all there is to the show, discounting the progression of the story over years. . .

      Need I keep going basically feeding your words back to you to show you the hypocrisy, or can you finish yourself? It’s “exhausting.” I sincerely doubt it will change your opinion. After all, I am a fake fan who should leave the show behind, correct?

      • “I think attempting to force the creative team to maintain an outdated status quo, that has not been the status quo since Kripke left, is about on par with what you accuse me of. ”

        Can you give evidence of anyone who has been SO bombarded by those who which to “maintain an outdated status quo” that they have to tweet near continuously “please leave me out of your conversations.”?

      • How about Robbie Thompson, who had to continually tweet that he respectfully 100% disagreed with the fact that Castiel’s story was boring, that the angel should be gone, that Misha Collins only looks out for himself, etc.

        Or how about Adam Glass having to come on and say the same thing. And then invite anyone who dislikes Misha Collins to get off of his cloud.

        Please don’t pretend this is something that comes merely from Destiel fans, and has never been addressed by the writers/producers that are bombarded perpetually as well from your side.

  34. Sorry to debunk this bs, but you guys need to realize you can manipulate these graphs like you wish –>
    Nice try 🙂

  35. And a nice try yourself. However, “Supernatural” is much like searching “Vampires” for “The Vampire Diaries.” Unless you’re telling me

    Supernatural | Exhibitions | Japanese American National Museum › Exhibitions‎
    Supernatural: The Art of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters. February 9 – March 17, 2013. Traditions are an integral part of every …

    Supernatural –‎
    When the Sky turns Red, the Moon turns Black, and monsters begin roaming the streets, Satsuki Kakeru is at a loss for what to do. Along with his best friend …

    Touring Kayaks: Supernatural Paddle Board, River … – Jackson Kayak‎
    The Jackson Kayak SUPernatural stand up paddle board is a great SUP for recreation and touring is up for any mission, from fishing to camping and cruising.

    and the literal MILLIONS OF OTHER sites that use the word supernatural because it’s a WORD on its own are relevant search results.

    • You only adressed the search for SPN, not for Dean Winchester or Sam Winchester as key words 🙂 Nice try again! 😀

      • I addressed Dean and Sam in a chart with Castiel. Whom I see that conveniently forgot to graph. Likely because I graphed it myself. And sourced it above. If it helps, no matter what term you use Castiel is still the higher interest generator and the interest online in Destiel still clearly rates more than 1% of internet interest in the show. Unless you’re telling me that only 5% or so are interested in Sam?

        It might also interest you to know that SPN has 54 different active uses as an acronym, with an additional 122 useages that are no longer as common. Which is why that chart goes all over the place, as opposed to actually corresponding with seasons etc.

      • You still didn’t get my point: these graphs just show how much something is searched, doesn’t mean people who search this like that thing! It’s even more likely, that people were just interested in finding out what this cyberbullying on twitter is about, or these people don’t like it at all. Building something on such vile graphics is delusional, because many people search for different reasons, and might even search for something sompletely unrelated. But good luck backing up your fandom numbers with such insecure source! 😀

      • How much something is searched on the internet IS indicative of online interest. Which is why Google calls that an “Interest over time” chart. And as this is a very active online fandom, and I was using that chart to illustrate why there was a backlash to summarily dismissing the Destiel fans online when Destiel is a very hot topic and has been for quite some time now. You’ll note that I never attempt to ascribe numbers to that graph. I use it to indicate interests and behaviors of the online fandom.

        Which it does.

        Thank you for adding the delusional line to the discussion, though. It wouldn’t feel like a Wincest comment without calling a Destiel fan delusional.

      • “good luck backing up your fandom numbers with such insecure source”

        Jumping in to say that I work for one of Manhattan’s top ad agencies, and while Google Trends and Wordtracker are not “scientific” as such, they are legitimate tools that are used in most market research.

    The same method of the graphs shows us that Misha is the least favorite one from J2M, which doesn’t make sense at all, if it comes to this article. These google graphs are total bs and using them as proof just shows how insecure and hungry for approval this fandom is and how good you are at manipulating them. Good luck with that.

    • No, actually, considering that Misha’s breakout role is Supernatural and Jensen and Jared had more established careers prior to that, it’s not surprising.

      I also may have inflated Jensen’s search results. Do Google Images count?

      I welcome you to see my response to that transparent and ham-handed attempt to manipulate facts at

      Would you care to give a comment for the next article, or should I use my previous quotes from you on the subject?

      • We can scream at each other that the graphs are manipulated till we are both dead, the fact is: the graphs are pretty insecure source, and one can let them look like whatever they want by searching for the ‘right’ key words. I can let them look like Sam Dean are the most searchable words, you can let the graphs look like Castiel is the main character of SPN. But if it makes you happy to back yourself up with these, so be it, I and many others who dared to have a look at these google graphs, stay unimpressed.

      • You know, it’s funny you use the word insecure. I used this the other day as to why Wincest and J2 fans felt the need to lambast every creator, writor, producer and director with an unverifiable 1% statistic and attempt to completely discount the myriad facts outlined in the article, because the only “true fans” are the ones that subscribe to their view of the show.

        I am a Sam Winchester fan. I like Jared Padalecki, he is my hometown hero along with Summer Glau, and a great deal of why I got into the show in the first place.

        When I speak up, people follow in my wake declaring that I am a Sam hater, or a Jared hater. Why? Because false narratives within the fandom, particularly from your segment of the fandom are prevalent and damaging. All Destiel shippers obviously hate Sam and want him written out of the show. It’s a level of paranoia that is staggering.

        I use the specific you, not the general ‘you’ in this case, because I am actually quite familiar with your tactics after the false narrative spread that I was stalking you at a convention that I was working for a fanzine. This trolling, and the subsequent discrediting of my opinion by your segment of the fans because I was a shipper (to that point a fairly peaceful shipper who barely tweeted and never really engaged in any of these battles) who dared to write a fanfiction, is actually a large part of why I left writing for fanzines and moved to a blog of my own where I would be free to express my opinions without screams of “BIAS!” any time I dared to mention something that your segment of fans didn’t like.

        Like when I was tweeting on the DallasCon tag about Misha’s panel and was sneeringly asked if I’d give the same regard to the J2 panel. Which. . . of course. That wasn’t even a question? Why did it need to be made into an attack and accusation?

        Because that is the overall tactic of your segment of the fandom.

        As illustrated once again here. On my own blog. In an article I published on a WordPress, unassociated with any news site, fanzine, popular blog, etc that I could have written a more balanced piece for, rather than this clear opinion piece containing my research.

        The fact that these opinions aren’t even allowed on my own blog, and need to be followed back to the “source” from Twitter and Tumblr in order to dogpile me, is VERY indicative of the problem I illustrate within the article.

        Thank you. This experience has been very amusingly illustrative of the situation in general.

  37. WinchesterSandra

    Ehm, the last few comments made me check the graphs, and it’s actually pretty manipulative, depending on which key search word you use, the graphs change completely, and they all don’t really make sense to me. But if it makes you guys happy…

  38. Dude, you are not the only one with numbers!

    the season 9 premiere garnered 2.5 million viewers. and that figure is obviously just including domestic usa viewers, because those of us who are international and have to stream do not count.

    there are, at the precise moment of me typing this, 7550 signatures on the petition to make destiel canon, but because i’m feeling generous on this fine rainy morning, i’ll round it up to 8000. this petition is open to viewers from any country.

    and we all know how to work out percentages, right? yes so do i, i totally didn’t have to look this up at all.

    8000 / 2 500 000 = 0.0032

    0.0032 x 100 = 0.32%

    international destiel shippers make up 0.32% of domestic usa supernatural viewers.

    and you know what? i said i was feeling generous, so let’s quintuple the number of destiel shippers. yeah, quintuple. that’s 40 000.

    40 000 / 2 500 000 = 0.016

    0.016 x 100 = 1.6%

    even with the number of signatures on that petition multiplied by five, destiel shippers (international) still make up less than 2% of the general spn viewer base (usa only).

    so, in conclusion, destiel shippers need to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up because no amount of petulant, screaming insistence that you are a majority is going to make it true.


    These numbers make much more sense to me, since they don’t include a searching engine, that people all over the world use for many different reasons than just shipping, and which one apparently can manipulate as one’s heart wishes.

  39. Holy shit. You are so freaking Awesome! Thank you so much. I seen these haters or ” true fans” say such awful

  40. I’m only interested in the box holders that has a so in ratings not tumblrs. Give me those statistics. In by the way I made one of these graphs in my College algebra class.

    • . . . I genuinely have no idea what you were trying to say here. Please clarify coherently so I can address your concerns?

      I too passed college algebra. And then ran the marketing division for a business.

      • Yes I was stating where is the statistic from nielsen? Those are what matter, not searches that always lead back to tumblr. In about the graph I was simple trying to say you can change it to how you wan’t it. It’s flawed. I’m sorry. Bottom line no one can make that claim on what side has more influence unless you talked to ever person who watch the show.

      • Then I assume you also accept that the 1% myth is equally incorrect.

        And that the only way writers and producers and the creative team will know the opinions of the viewers are if those viewers are permitted to address them unimpeded to provide their opinions, without perpetual attempts to discredit them before they finish speaking.

        Good. That’s progressive thinking. Thank you.

  41. If you really study TV show ratings Like I do I can indeed tell you SPN ratings mainly saw a in crease, because the move from Friday. Friday shows have a higher DVR rate cause not many watch live. But SPN DVR ratings been the about the same virtually since S5. SPN ratings hit 2 + million for the first time at the end of S2. Saw a spike in beginning of S4 with the return of Dean then threw out S4 it drop back to what it normally gets. SPN is one of those rare shows that leaks viewers slowly threw out it’s life and able to re tool it’s self at a maintain level. While the rest of the CW shows collapsed SPN maintain what it had. This is a reason why this show could possible live to see a season 11. It is the NCIS of the CW. SPN never been huge ratings hitter ever but it outlast shows that were because they fell quickly.

  42. Apparently the Destiel shippers are the only ones using Google o.O

    • Because Wincest shippers so invested in Bing after Misha’s commercial, right?

    • What I was trying to say: if people look for Castiel on Google, they are not necessarily shippers, right? And if people look for Destiel, they aren’t always shippers either, because most shippers are on tumblr, browsing the tags, so the main group of people GOOGLING destiel are people interested in what it is, who maybe heard about it but don’t really know what it is. Because google doesn’t provide you with such great shipping material as archiveOfOurOwn, deviantart, lifejournal or said tumblr.
      If we had for example a forum with only-one-IP-restriction, and all of the members were destiel shippers, when we could say that the number of members is the number of Destiel shippers at minimum, but backing up your data with how often something was googled, is rather misleading in many ways. But it’s only my opinion.

      • Oh! Well in that case that was actually the point of that specific graph. I was not attempting to prove a shipping point there. I do however find it indicative less of Sam’s popularity (heavens no, I love Sam!) that they outpaced him and more the fact that they are now linked search terms as well.

        I believe Supernatural is using the Destiel fanbase as a method of growing their overall interest in the show and generating traffic, so to speak, but they have no intention of resolving the increasingly blatant fanservice they are using to do so.

        Which is where queerbaiting comes into play, as discussed in my article.

        Meanwhile I think it would behoove all of you to know that there are actually scientific studies that have used Google Trends to determine things such as influenza outbreaks based on symptom searches, transaction volumes of stocks based on company searches, national economic success based on the search patterns of citizens of a country, signals of large losses in economic times, and so on.

        So, in general, matters far beyond something as simple as internet trends of a fandom community.

        Which my search term choices were also researched and studied by volume of usage and relevance based on other analytical methods as dictated by market analysis, per my previous profession.

        You will also find, just on a smaller fandom scale, that the Super Wiki will reflect that character interest chart very accurately on their overall hits on the related pages of the characters, indicating that chart is a fairly accurate representation of interest within our internet community.

        The inclusion of Castiel’s trend is to show that the general mindset of “Sam and Dean only” is an outdated one that hinders the growth of the show from what is clearly a thriving portion of the fandom community that finds him of rather staggering “interest.”

      • Okay, to Emily- as I read thru the comments, I read about what happened to you at the DallasCon, and I can see why that would make you upset and angry. I am very sorry that happened to you.

        But then we are back to “I believe Supernatural is using the Destiel fanbase as a method of growing their overall interest in the show and generating traffic, so to speak, but they have no intention of resolving the increasingly blatant fanservice they are using to do so.”
        Let’s say for the sake of argument that is true. My question is- So what? If they are the big bad meanies you think they are, why would the Light of Truth suddenly strike them and turn them to the happy land of destiel?

      • It was a jarring introduction to this portion of fandom, to say the least, and opened my eyes to behaviors that I tended to miss because I was further removed from it to that point. But this post was not made in anger, nor are my responses here.

        I didn’t hop online to rage at a segment of fandom that ‘slighted’ me. I spent time researching, and compiling data to the best of my ability.

        You and I, however, hit the wrong note from the start. We have too many assumptions made about each other because of sweeping generalizations, and one of them is that because I am a woman shipping Destiel, I am a ‘silly straight shipper girl who doesn’t know what she’s talking about.’

        Which I find vastly insulting. And the queer-cred card struck us off on a wrong note, at which point I abruptly disengaged rather than allow anger to dictate the terms of my response.

        So. Back to the points at-hand.

        So what? So the people who are upset by it, and who do find it insulting, and who would like the chance to voice their opinions should be permitted to do so without their opinion immediately being invalidated.

        Even if Destiel WERE the 1% minority that this damaging myth was spreading in condescending posts and hypocritical “true fans” commentary . . . would it be right in ANY other context to completely silence a minority opinion simply for being ‘the minority’?

        Why is fandom the only context in which that’s socially acceptable?

        Because the attacks, the hate, the bullying aimed at any segment based upon stereotypes of their beliefs is ludicrous.

    • She won’t accept the graphs tinaj2 made, but holds her own manipulated ones for the truth from God ~.~
      The truth is: you can make them show you what you want by simply playing with the key words, but people are so desperate for approval, they will believe everything, if it suits them. Whatever.


        My response stands. As does my note that your looking at the graphics in this article rather than actually reading the article or addressing the points there is hilarious. Please do try and tell me where I give numbers? What I discuss is the backlash on Twitter when the queerbaiting happened as reflective of the fact that the internet trends and interests have skewed heavily in favor of Destiel since Season 8’s queerbaiting tactics to grow their audience.

        I welcome further reasoned discourse on those points which comprise the main purpose of my article and topic of discussion. Also, I still emphatically consider the myth that I originally set out to debunk, the 1% nonsense spewed about on Twitter, thoroughly debunked considering these interest levels. If it were merely 1%, you would barely see an increase in the term at all.

  43. People who believe the whole stuff without trying to make the graphs and stats themselves are just idiots.

    • And people who look only at the pictures within an article are. . . ?

      • If your source data doesn’t make sense, the rest of the article is bs *shrugs*

      • My source data is well researched, linked throughout the article, and incorporated into the comments surrounding you.

        Additionally, my charts are thoroughly defended throughout the comments as well.

        I apologize if the charts didn’t make sense to you. I recommend you read the supporting information surrounding them. Including within the text of the article itself that you dismissed because you disliked the graphs.

    • By not reading how the charts were created, the givens, the steps used to eliminate false skewing of data, and only reading your buddy haters’ comments and accepting them as factual, you show your lack of intellectual capability.

  44. Excellent article and absolutely true! The dynamic and relationship between Dean & Cas is what got me interested in the show. And Misha the actor is an amazing man who is using his influence to make a difference. The comparison to long-standing series UST, such as Mulder & Scully, is valid. And in today’s growing acceptance of LGBT equality, I believe the time is right for Destiel to happen onscreen. Thank you for a well-written story!

  45. I think you are getting it all wrong. The majority of viewers are not shippers (and I’m including both Destiel and Wincest here), or even part of fandom. The majority of the audience are those people who doesn’t even bother to enter tumblr or livejournal and just tune the CW because they like to see two badass brothers and their friends fighting against demons in a classic car. Those are the ones who give ratings and those are the ones the story is directed to (and those who would be afraid of what’s talked about in the darkest corners of the internet).

    The whole fandom could wither and go away and still it wouldn’t really be more than a blip in the ratings. We tend to believe fandom is way more important that it actually is because this is close knitted community in which we feed back each other and it’s difficult to realize a lot of people is unaware of us and our troubles. But sorry to break your bubble, we are not that many, nor we are that important in the big scheme of things.

    • I second this.

      • *I second this.*

        That rather leads me to ask why you and your friends pursue destiel fans so enthusiastically?

      • *snorts* A continuation of the bully tactics indicated in the article. I stung their pride.

        Honestly, I am not offended by this outpouring of haters, but I DO find it very, very familiar considering this is precisely what is seen within the fandom, but on a smaller and more individualized scale.

      • What an insightful addition to the conversation. Next I expect you’ll be answering everything “Me too!”

        Pleasure to have you here. We don’t have enough party line repetition and dogpiling going on already, clearly.


        Man. You guys really are laying it on thick here, sorry. Back slaps and ass pats for everyone, you guys found people you agree with by. . . trolling the comments section of an article being circulated on a hate tag you all share!

    • And yet, it is the passionate fandom that keeps a show going. I welcome you specifically to review Mark Sheppard’s comments at Dallas Con regarding it. It’s likely in my write-up of the event.

      The truth is, it is the passionate fans these days that shows DO look at, that they DO pay attention to. As he said, the idea of just ratings as driver discounts what is, essentially, the Firefly effect.

      Meanwhile, if the implication is that the ‘general viewing public’ couldn’t handle a queer relationship on television. . . what show have you been watching?

      What network is it on, because CW has taken worse risks.

      We’re not actually all that close-knitted, though. Obviously. As you can see by the tone of the responses here. Unless you mean this particular clique? ‘Cause they seem very cozy.

      The fandom is a diverse creature that could allow for myriad points of view, and let people talk to creators without trying to yell over them, too. They could share the internet, and not attempt to bully and dogpile and shame and attack people of alternate viewpoints.

      But they do it all anyway.

      We are bigger than your closeknit group by far. And yes, the fandom is powerful.

      I’m a Browncoat. I got my movie. I’m a Marshmallow. I got my movie. I’ve helped raise thousands of dollars for charity with Whovians and Browncoats and Trekkies and the like.

      Do not dismiss the power of fandom, or you are doing yourself a great disservice, my friend.

    • Thank you Kata for saying this i agree with every thing you said supernatural fandom is just a small faction who think they can dictate to the writers how the show should run, I like many of my friends watch this show and just sit back and enjoy watching two brothers and their friends fighting the bad guys, but i must admit i do have a soft spot for Castiel evern his fuck ups his flawed i cant help it and im glad he is still around.

      • Well I’m glad you appreciate Castiel. I find him to be a fascinating character and a good addition to the show, flaws and all.

        But my answer to Kata stands for you as well, then.

        And my answer to Kelios regarding popping in to yell “Me too!” on what is essentially a personal blog post being lambasted by trolls in an attempt to batter me out of my opinion. This isn’t exactly a CNN article here.

        Man. I shoulda monetized this site. I’d be making a killing off of all these hits from that hater post circulating around sending people here.

  46. I have googled Destiel some times, am I a Destiel shipper now? Because my statistics are now in the whole graphs, but I don’t ship it, like, at all 😀

    • And yet you’re clearly “interested” in it. As evidenced by your confession to that effect and your comments here. Amusingly enough, I don’t ship Wincest (I do have friends who I coexist with quite peacefully who do), and so. . . I don’t search it. Because I am not a troll.

      I truly hope you’re not implying that the majority of your ship is trolls in this manner? That would be disheartening for my view of humanity.

      How’s that going for you, meanwhile? I seriously do think I should work on that other article. Or, I suppose, I already am. Look, market research again!

      • I said some times, if every second shipper with much free time googles once or twice the other ship just out of sheer curiosity, the whole stats are not really true., just saying.

      • I don’t actually have all that much free time. *LOL* I am just an exceptionally fast typist and writer. But free time would be a fantastic luxury.

        More time for apparently answering comments that do nothing to further the conversation. Like this one. Next?

  47. Wow! the comments are growing – and the hater trolling comments are prevalent – unfortunately highlighting a profound misunderstanding of 1. storytelling 2. TV Tropes 3. Market Analysis 4.Queer baiting vs fanservice 5. How easily someone’s fake identity accounts can be pierced.
    At any rate – congratulations, Emily, for taking one for the whole SPN family. You have given the ignorant haters somewhere to direct their fire and prove their irrational hate, maybe keeping them from hurting more sensitive responders and spewing their false facts.
    Thank you.
    P.S. Haters? You do know how comprehensive the data sent to the author of a WordPress article about the responders is, don’t you? Or is your ignorance showing again?

    • Because a writer of a wordpress article can in no way be biased, or having shipping goggles on? Yeah, sure, and everyone who googles Destiel is a Destiel shipper, makes sense.

      • I only seek view points from people with neutral opinions now. If you are from one side or the other you will always have those goggles on. That’s what the SPN fandom taught me over the years.

      • Jason – If that is true, then why are you here? You had an agenda or you wouldn’t be here at all, would you? It seems your agenda was to try to be dismissive because you do not agree with the writer. Good luck with living your life that way. I never saw where denying facts or even other’s opinions resulted in anything except woefully ignorant people with only a few friends because they cannot abide being made to face the fact that the world is a much bigger place with more divergent views that the ones they allow.

      • The SPN Fandom taught you to be exceptionally jaded, then.

        Please make sure you also personally interview every news reporter about every one of their political opinions individually so that you can find one that isn’t “biased.”

        Except. . . wouldn’t that just be vetting people for the bias you approve of?


        Meanwhile, this is an opinion piece, on my personal blog, featuring. . . my opinion. You are welcome not to seek it out if it’s distasteful to you.

      • Don’t try to put words in my mouth. I am neither stupid enough to think or say this. Additionally – I am a landlubber – I have no ship and appreciate them all except for the real people ones because I find questioning real people’s sexuality invasive of their privacy. Writers of opinion articles on WordPress would have nothing to say if they had no opinion. You get that, right? She didn’t come to the haters seeking their input, did she? Therefore your continued interjections wrongfully and woefully ignorantly trying to skew what the article says is indeed laughable. Seriously think some of the haters need remedial reading classes.

      • I agree with Jason, if the person ships Destiel, their article is biased. I have five reallife friends, who watch the show every week, and they never heard of Destiel. Destiel shippers are really a small percentage of the main SPN fanbase, which happens to just watch the show and not use the internet whatsoever, aka they are not included in the stats.

      • …I’m sorry, in a HEAVILY social-media day and age, in a show that involves creators, writers, actors on the internet, and in a general culture that focuses heavily on entertainment news, you’re now claiming that people don’t use the internet?




        Please see my above comments re: uses of Google Trends to determine far more weighty topics on the internet than the behaviors of an INTERNET FANDOM which is what my article discusses.

        And your statistical sampling of five individuals is more factual than my research how?

      • This is a reply to Viktoria – unfortunately I can’t reply directly to her comment (I assume because it also is a reply?).

        “if the person ships Destiel, their article is biased.”

        Then would you all agree that you and your Wincest friends who are commenting here are also biased, and this is coloring your view somewhat?

      • I didn’t actually begin watching Supernatural with the intention of shipping anything. I was a reluctant fan, and then a reluctant shipper. I never have shipped anything non-canon, either. I tend to watch without goggles whatsoever so I can enjoy the story being given to me.

        The story given to me was a romance.

        I fought it for several seasons.

        The Man Who Would Be King told me the story of Cas being in love with Dean and really truly screwing things up. Like, a lot. The road to hell paved with good intentions.

        Season 7 and 8 showed me a Dean in love with Cas.

        Fought it as long as I could. But I am not in denial of the story told over the past couple seasons. As opposed to the majority of people commenting here who still maintain that family is just Sam and Dean and there is no room for relationships outside of that.

        In contradiction of canon.

  48. It’s interesting how there are passionate Destiel shippers all amazed by this without second thought, there are haters, and there are people who think rationally and find actual points why some of the points in the article are wrong…

    • And it’s interesting how I respond to comments differently depending upon the amount of rational thought that goes into applying their perspective (as this is all opinion piece).

      And this is a short response.

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