Debunking Myth and Correcting Fandom Misconceptions: Destiel in SPN Family
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.
The 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?
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.
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.
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. 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 Castiel, Dean Winchester, deancas, Destiel, queerbaiting, spn, Supernatural, television. Bookmark the permalink. 208 Comments.
I doubt many people out of the two millions who watch the show, are going to google anything from the show. People who google it, are most likely the small percentage, the devoted fans.
Again, at what point do I attempt to determine numerical size of fandom based upon these scales? I am determining interest in the online community as it pertains to the blowout that occured on the internet, which makes these graphs quite relevant to the actual topic of the article.
I don’t understand why Alexandra decided to multiply her answer by 100. Maybe she doesn’t know how to make percentages? She inflated her own answer. Also, measuring the total domestic US viewers on a season premiere against a petition online that includes foreign signatures would seem to invalidate her own claim.
“international destiel shippers make up 0.32% of domestic usa supernatural viewers”
Okay, this statement makes no sense. International means INTERNATIONAL, how does this make them part of the DOMESTIC USA SPN VIEWERS statistic? It’s like measuring the popularity of frosting against banana nut muffins. (or you could read this stat as how less than 0.0032% of the current viewers have actually heard of and signed this particular petition; it’s not like there’s only one floating around at any given time).
And one point I could make is that this doesn’t seem like a very popular petition in the first place, since I have seen multiple posts on Tumblr, Google, Twitter, Facebook of all places, Livejournal, Dreamwidth, and several fanfics (popular archives or otherwise) with many many more alerts, favourites, likes, reblogs, notes, what have you then the total signatures on that.
And really, considering this article wasn’t about the support for the Destiel ship, but rather that you wanted to point out that the shippers make up more than 1% of the fandom and how alienated by their source material writers they feel, I have no idea why these commenters are slinging about “fake graphs,” and “NO SOURCES!!!”
Isn’t the whole point of a chart that is a manipulation of information? Any high school government class would tell you that.
Google graphs lol. I’m not going to say anything about that because, really?
You guys keep saying they owe you a conclusion. Lbr the writers/showrunners don’t owe any of the fans anything. They give you the show, its your choice to except it as it is or watch something else.
Now about Destiel. Both characters have been shown, repeatedly to be heterosexual. Is that not a conclusion? Do they need to come out on the show and say “I am straight”? You’ll still go on doing what you do now, which is finding subtext where some don’t see any in how they ‘look’ at one another, or how they speak etc. So do they need to stop looking at eachother, stop speaking? Would that stop the ‘queerbaiting’ as you guys have labeled it? What kind of conclusion do you need to stop harassing the writers?
What makes you any more worthy of having your wants fulfilled than any other ships on this show? What about the fans who want Dean/Lisa, Dean/Jo, Sam/whoever, Cas/Meg? Why are they any less deserving? Is see alot of you touting lgbtq rights as a reason. If that’s really what this is about for some of you, would you be happy if they just made Cas gay? How about just Sam? Would you be happy if they gave you a gay couple in the form of Cas/Kevin? Two prominent characters on the show.
I don’t understand the entitled faction of Destiel shippers.
I think people, who regularly campaign and harrass the writers need those articles to feel better and keep going…
Just as SamNDean fans who regularly spam the writers with “true fans” and “heart of the show” and “Kripke’s vision” and “Kill the angel” and the like need false facts like 1% in order to justify their systematic dismissal of other opinions?
Or cyber-bullying tactics like dogpiling a personal blog in order to beat down an individual who posted an opinion they didn’t agree with, in order to feel more secure in their own opinions.
No hypocrisy here at all, I see.
“Do they need to come out on the show and say ‘I am straight’? ”
Well, Dean has literally said ‘I don’t swing that way’, so…
… why the hell are we even having this fight again?
*chinhands* I don’t know. You tell me, man. You’re the one jumping into my blog to keep it going after you found me to start it and only hearing what you want of what I say.
Why the hell ARE we having this fight again?
Yes, Dean did say that. But many people point out that in “Everybody Hates Hitler” Dean was hit on by another man, and did NOT say “I don’t swing that way.” He instead said, “uh, this is a federal investigation.” and when asked if he was freaked out by it Dean said “I’m not freaked out, it’s just uh, a…federal…thing…” and proceeded to walk away and stumble into a table on his way out.
Call me crazy, but that scene did NOT scream “heterosexual” to me.
Watch the commentary on that scene as well. Ben Edlund says “[the scene] reads in this weird way where it does feel like Dean’s a little bit like.. its almost like a romantic comedy type fluster, which is very interesting for the character Dean like because it just sort of suggests this weird…this potential” and then Phil Sgriccia replies “This potential for love in all places.”
Why are we having this fight? Because some of us read into these scenes and these details, searching AND finding evidence to support that we’re not just making these things up.
Shane, you have inspired me to actually go ahead and respond to something more than the ‘why are we even fighting’ which was just. . . to me, an amusing line. I’m ’bout to hijack in on your conversation, and thank you for making it. Because I think after a hundred and twenty responses or so I stopped fully answering as I should have.
You’re awesome. *fingergun*
Now I’m back to talking to you, too, Bay.
This is a point I think that you, and the commenters on here who flocked from Destiew and Wincest tags, continually like to miss.
See, despite the fact that most of the people on here are perfectly content to write or read Dean as a bisexual man, they have consigned that strictly to fanfiction BECAUSE if the show goes that direction the likely outcome is Destiel.
Which, if these comments are anything to go by, they find reprehensible.
The issue is, though, we have plenty of on-screen evidence of Dean’s bisexuality dating back to before Castiel, and including scenes that have. . . well, absolutely nothing to do with the angel at all.
Let’s look back a bit, shall we?
Yellow Fever. Boy was Dean flirty with that cop when drunk.
Season Four. The male Siren. Most Bros-Only! fans will go “Yeah, but it was a brother!!!” And I know quite a few happily take that to porn-laden interpretations. The implication being it’s entirely okay to point out that Dean’s siren is male as it relates to Wincest, but not to his own bisexuality.
When you look at Nick, his conversation with Dean at the bar, Dean not paying attention to strippers around them at all. . . they’re talking cars and classic rock. Dean stuff, not Sam stuff. Nick’s not acting like a brother. He’s acting like a DATE.
Let’s keep going.
Did Dean have any reason to lift up that blanket and check out that hot naked young old guy when they had his ID?
Did Dean have any reason to check out that soldier’s ass when two women in skirts were walking by?
Did Dean get incredibly flustered when the highly sexualized character Doctor Sexy looked at him, after having just admitted that his show was a guilty pleasure?
Did Dean have the same reaction when Elliot Ness complimented him, looking down and smoothing over his fancy duds?
Does Sam, in pretty much the best bratty little brother moments he has (I love bratty little brother Sam) frequently call into question Dean’s sexuality as if to tease him for his insecurity?
Yes. Yes he does.
And sure, there are the “strictly into Dick now” types of moments, and ‘well, you are kind of butch, they probably think you’re overcompensating’ types of lines, but there are also moments where Sam backs himself off of topics, or lets Dean back him off of them.
The ballet slippers. When Dean, flustered, puts his watching Black Swan to hot tutu-on-tutu action, we get from Sam “Wow. The depths of your…Anyway.” Because Dean IS in denial. Hell, if it was ‘the depths of your perversion’ do you really think Sam would hold back? It’s not like Sam doesn’t roll his eyes at big brother Dean all the time for his pervyness. But it’s NOT. It’s about the fact that Dean’s hyper-masculine attempts to portray himself means denial of things like even having wanted to dance because it doesn’t suit how he wants to be seen.
Hell, I’m going off of memory. There’s more, doubtless. I welcome you to go grab a good meta about it. And everything to this point? Isn’t even about Cas.
If you claim you don’t ‘see it’ with Cas, as many of these responders do. . . let’s look at how Sam looks at Dean and Cas.
Sam REPEATEDLY calls attention to the fact that Dean’s feelings for Cas are different. And in season 8, you have two very significant moments where Sam actively actually seems to be trying to patch their relationship up.
Because he’s seen Dean without Cas now in Season 7 and Season 8, and that Dean is miserable. That Dean drinks, and hates himself, has nightmares, needs to be drugged to the point of not even caring that he doesn’t care about Cas being dead, that Dean is so guilty (in Sam’s opinion, though we learn the truth of it later) that he’s seeing Cas everywhere. . . the way Sam did Jessica on the streetcorner, after her death.
So when Cas comes back and we have that Goodbye Stranger scene, Sam tries to get Dean to open up. About his feelings. About Cas.
He lets Dean back him down.
When Dean is still angry at Cas, after they meet back up again, Sam tries to get Dean to forgive Cas, to go easier on him.
Because it’s Cas.
So, we have subtext for Dean’s bisexuality.
We have subtext for Castiel being important to Dean in SAM’S eyes (even if you ignore years and years of subtext from Dean and Cas themselves).
And then, you have Eric Kripke himself. Deciding to name him after Dean Moriarty of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” Dean, a man who’s father was an alcoholic who abandoned them, who Dean spent years searching for. A man who is a womanizer who lives for kicks. . . but is just as happy to get into bed with another man.
You can’t pretend Kripke didn’t know that about the Dean from the book, either. It not a tiny matter in the character’s life. And Kripke obviously called back to other “On the Road” elements in creating Dean.
Perhaps in this you should look at the creator’s original intent and purpose. As we are perpetually told to do.
Once again, Shane, thank you for inspiring me back into addressing people with more than increasing annoyance.
Seriously. This thread is old and you may never see this reply, but THE CHARACTERS ARE STRAIGHT. Dean said to that vamp one time “I don’t bat for your team.” There was NO subtext. Cas? I think he’s open to any possibilities…chillin’ with earthlings is a relatively new experience for him. Sorry to disappoint, but that’s just what it is. New gay characters? Sure, why not! I’m as liberal as they come…I just honestly didn’t think shipping all these dudes on this show was a thing until I googled to see what I missed on a recent episode. Then I saw Wincest?! WTFLYINGF is that even about?? Are people serious? Disgusting. Thank goodness Cas came along when he did, or they’d be obsessing over Dean and Sam still (I know, I know. Many still are). People, incest is never cool.
@guest You’re under the impression that Destiel is referring to Dean + Jimmy Novak’s body. If Cas were in a female body, would we be having this discussion? No. Destiel is the relationship between Dean and Cas, who is, I remind you, a “multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent” not a specific gender. Destiel fans are NOT shipping Dean + Jimmy Novak’s body necessarily, they are shipping Dean and Cas, whatever form he might come in. AND, just because that form happens to be a man, doesn’t mean they have stop shipping those two together (but the fact is, they do, and that’s not a problem). If somebody says “Dean and Cas are in love” as I hear many destiel fans say, they’re referring to LOVE not SEX. Even if Dean is 100% attracted to women, so what? You say “sure why not, I’m as liberal as they come” but you’re still not open to the idea of a relationship without gender coming into the mix. The same way that straight people might fall in love with someone of the same gender, or how gay people might fall in love with someone of the opposite gender, a relationship does not have to be built on gender preferences alone.
I would argue that they’ve shown Dean to be categorically, absolutely infatuated with at least one male on the show; Dr. Sexy. It may have been a joke, but it was still canon. Which means that Dean Winchester cannot be heterosexual. 99% straight is still bisexual.
All those ships you named were m/f. Why is it such a terrible thing to want an actual m/m relationship portrayed on television? It’s not like you couldn’t find a bromance on a different show (or hell, this show, since Sam still exists and Sam and Dean are literal brothers), there are entire sub-genres, like ‘buddy cop shows’, devoted to that dynamic.
Cas isn’t gay. He isn’t straight. He doesn’t have a gender, he just inhabits a male form. You can’t have a preference for same-sex or different-sex if you don’t have a sex in the first place. It wouldn’t make narrative sense to make Cas and Kevin enter a relationship; that’s an absurd argument, and you know it.
It’s not being entitled, it’s asking for a meagre scrap. Not a sex scene. Not even a kiss. Just an on-screen acknowledgement of romantic feelings. They could do it over the phone for all I care. I just want to see it.
“They could do it over the phone for all I care.” My g-d I needed to laugh about this today. I don’t know who you are Amber but THANK YOU (and yes).
Since I clearly cannot expect you to read the contents of the article itself, I assume you also have not seen my comments regarding queerbaiting in previous responses:
“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 https://twitter.com/River_Ablaze/statuses/394616408052477952 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, within the content of the article itself, you will also note that I address Dean’s bisexuality (speculated upon since S2) and the issue of Destiel both, as opposed to lumping the two together.
Should they confirm Dean’s bisexuality, that aspect is taken off of the table. Then I might argue they were merely shipteasing. At this point, however, the creative team’s off-show “No Homo!” and “weeeeell it has to be open for interpretation” mindsets are just as disconcerting as the story itself if not moreso.
I read what you wrote. I don’t agree that they’re queerbaiting.The writers can’t control how you interpret a scene.
But just so we’re clear,your problem is that starting in earlier seasons, in your opinion, the writers gave ‘hints’ at a relationship,and that they’re queerbaiting because they gave hints(unintentionally they’ve claimed) that are, lbr, a product of your interpretation and then said the show was open for interpretation? So now they’re obligated to what? Adjust the show to fit your headcanon?
What I asked before was:
1) Why should the writers put aside all the canon evidence regarding Cas and Dean and adjust the show so that it reflects your headcanon?
2) If this is truly about representation would you be happy with the showrunners giving you a prominent gay character who wasnt Cas or Dean or a gay couple that involved just one or neither of them? Because if its about representation then it should be about representation in general not just about wanting to see your favs, two canonically straight characters in this case,kiss.
3) What could the writers say, that they haven’t already on twitter and through the way they write the show/characters, in reference to Destiel to give you some closure on this topic that wouldn’t result in campaigns to harrass them? Aside from Destiel 5eva!
Thats what I was asking in first response. I’m asking out of curiosity because, as I said before, I don’t understand the entitlement of some Destiel fans.
As I cited within the text, and as I have linked in other places, please review the following articles.
“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?”
That answers questions 1 and 2 for you, I hope. Dismantling your sweeping generalization in 1 and the fact that the bait was very specific in 2. Saying ‘here, be satisfied with a sidekick’ is rather insulting too after years of very deliberate hints.
3) What I find ironic is that you seem to miss that many fans THANKED Chad for saying ‘No. Not happening.’ Because there you go. Someone not in with the queerbaiting. The PROBLEM is he also said ‘oh, if the storyline justified it.’ This is harder to swallow from someone who. . . well, we have angels as reapers now, for instance.
Your unwillingness to see it does not negate the fact that a large number of people do. Or else, as one of my quotes indicates. . .
When you search queerbaiting, what show pops up?
Funny, isn’t that?
I can’t reply to your reply for some reason but, as far as your answer to #1 goes, I have to ask what sweeping generalization you’re referring to and admit that no, your response didn’t answer why you think canon evidence should be discarded in favor of your interpretation of the show.
As for #2 I still disgree with it being queerbaiting because there would have had to be some intent on the writers side. Obv, in my opinion, there wasn’t as they’ve always shown Cas and Dean to be attracted to women.
If you interpreted it differently thats fine but you can’t 1)Blame the writers for your interpretation , 2)Demand they write based on your interpretation or 3) Harass them when they don’t.
Demanding that the writers change the show to fit what you want then flooding their twitters with your complaints when they don’t, no matter how civil or respectful you may think you’re being, is harrassment and its weird. Its weird that some veiwers feel completely justified in demanding writers of shows write what they want to the complete disregard of other viewers and the general audience. Tbh, though I think he meant it didn’t justify the storyline because the show has never been about whatever romance either of the brothers had.
I would say the same to you. You’re positioning your opinion as fact and demanding the writers adhere to it when theres no narritive evidence to support it. Do you realize that the fact that you see subtext in the show doesn’t mean that exists for everyone and that might include the writers and showrunners?
I’m aware the fact that just because I don’t see any of the subtext people keep talking about doesn’t mean that it doesnt exist for some people. The difference is I’m not about to demand and harrass the writers to write the show despite narative evidence to better fit my preferences over everyone elses.
Btw, it does’t matter if you’re a majority or a minority in fandom because fandom in general is still insignificant in comparison to the general audience.
Your repetition of the party line is at this point tiresome.
The party line being “They’re straight except in MY FANFICTIONS!” without regard to the evidence of Dean’s bisexuality.
The party line being “How you saw it is your own fault” which is putting blame onto the viewer for deliberate queerbaiting on the part of the studio.
Complete with multiple articles indicating that it is clearly not a singular opinion of mine and has been raised across the media.
The party line being “The show is about brotherhood!” And just brotherhood with no addition of others, though the key word that will be used is ‘family’ which is an non-inclusive term regardless of canon naysaying that clearly since. . . oh, well before Kripke left.
The party line being “Subtext is your interpretation” which is incorrect because we are not discussing merely a few longing looks any longer, but driving forces behind the storyline for several seasons.
And the party line being “My opinion is the only valid opinion. Please, allow me to school you on why you are wrong.”
I have plenty of that in my inbox already, thanks. Please come back with something fresh.
the problem is not that they aren’t addressing be cause they have multiple times the problem is that there is no way to call dean explicitly straight. this fandom is insane. theyve created a clever xanatos gambit of situations, reason and headcanon facts where no matter what happens dean will always be bi. if dean sleeps with a girl, he’s bisexual not straight. and they get up in arms saying “no one ever said he was gay were simply saying he’s bisexual!” because theres no way he could be straight for whatever reason. if a man comes on to dean and dean rejects him, he’s closeted because of his insecurities because something about john Winchester being a tough ass and beating him or that he only has eyes for Castiel. if Castiel were to come on to him and dean were to reject him he’s struggling with his sexuality. which would in turn make castiel canonically bisexual and dean a closeted bisexual. the truth is that they are looking desperately to have Jensen ackles kiss a man. that’s it. since Wincest was completely shut down by the show explicitly mocking the entire fandom and the idea of an incestuous relationship between the brothers they moved on to the next most attractive male on the show who is not related to Dean and there for could not be dis proven. Castiel. there’s no way to make dean simply straight so the show will never talk about it and the show will simply end that way. that’s the game plan. apparently men cant just be close platonic friends anymore there has to be a sexual or romantic element to it. a man is not allowed to be honest with his best friend or hug him without people saying they’re in love. Who can blame this guy who’s literally been through hell and back for not being able to hold back tears in front of a friend. suddenly that makes him a huge homo and wanting to bend his best friend over the rusty motel kitchen sink. and its totally cool if he was bi but theyve addressed the situation so many times that its exhausting! i cant imagine what its like to be a writer on this show. they’re not allowed to write sentimental scenes between men because all of a sudden its a gay thing. and all the characters are men so wtf are they supposed to do. i think the introduction of Charlie bradbury as a lesbian was to give the fans something LGBT oriented to focus on so that in the next few season they could finally give the Castiel a sexual orientation and make him straight and lose his virginity and even that failed.
The fact is Destiel is actually less than a 1%
Saw this post on tumblr which is more thruth than this article
“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).”
And this graphic is based on what people search on Google and can be easily modified.
Let’s just say they’re 40 000 or even 100 000 destiel shippers out there you have to count in fact that not everyone of them wants Destiel to become canon. They are a lot of destiel shippers who were angry to even being associated with them after the harassement that the fans did to the writers after 9×03. And don’t assume that every other ships hate destiel or the shippers. They are people who are multishippers and yes Destiel/Wincest fans do exist and only Wincest fans are friends with Destiel shippers too. Castiel character is appreciated by the Wincest fans, Megstiel and non-shippers, his character is not based on Dean. What they don’t like is people trying to push them together by begging the crew on twitter.
They find them rude cause they actually said that Destiel is not going to be canon? They were asking them for months with their endless campaign on twitter. The first one who said it was honest. People were asking if they were planning on making Dean and Cas bisexual. He said no. That wasn’t rude, but he got so harassed that he left twitter. Then they went to Guy Norman Bee accusing him of queer baiting, and that they had lead them on thinking that Destiel was going to be canon. Why he call them weirdo. Cause he is a guest director who don’t even write the show and several times he asked people to stop including him in their conversation. The comment he made was to someone who told him to not be bothered by the weirdos. Then he respond that he lived in Hollywood so he was used to weirdos. He didn’t meant that everyone who shipped Destiel is a weirdo but the ones who didn’t seem to understand to leave him alone. Of course you didn’t show the whole conversation.
Also calling him a homopobic dick just cause he said that a love story doesn’t exist between two fictionals characters in canon is childish.
That comment: Dean Winchester is bisexual since season 2.
Did you watched supernatural? To quote Dean precisely from that season.
” I dont’ swing that way ” when he thought a guy was hitting on him.
Season 3: You kinky son of a bitch. We don’t swing that way.
Season 6: Yeah sorry again, pal. I don’t play for your team.
Jensen at a con about a scene in season 8:
” Ben Edlund was poking fun at the fact how can we make this very sort of manly, heterosexual guy ( DEAN) uncomfortable?”
Yeah it’s so easy to ignored fact cause you want your ship canon. Jensen is playing Dean since almost a decade and himself said that he don’t see his character that way.
People should stop focusing on his sexuality.He is straight that’s canon the serie won’t suddenly focus on his sexuality cause it’s not about that.
Of course in this article all Destiel shipper just seem like they are nice and doesn’t do shit in this fandom and just want representation. You are right people didn’t send death threat to Shannon directly, but do you want to know how a lot of them react to April kissing scene just from the picture before the episode aired.
-Fuck you all spn writing team you’re are doing this shit to screw with us.
-I’m not kidding this makes me sick to my stomach
-This is not ok, i’m not accepting this
-Someone had better die for this atrocity
-Fuck no, bitch , issues
-someone kill this bitch plssss
These are truth comments that are circuling on tumblr and just over a kiss.
The result they’re bloggers that set this:
A free blog for spn 9×03 for people who doesn’t want to see TRIGGERING content from that episode. They are fighting for their fanon ship because they want to see gay representation but they are hating a female character and don’t give a fuck that females characters had always been a problem on SPN and who find triggering a kiss between two people? Doesn’t matter the gender. They are spreading hate on this fandom as much as anyone but here you are doing like they are victims.
Before going on read this:
You don’t know the history of death threat in this fandom. There is a twitter dedicated to Danneel Ackles with people hating her cause they are married. There is a twitter about Jared who is saying he’s an abusive father and alcoholic when they don’t know him but just hate him and that is AWFUL, but yeah you just mentioned the kill!God one cause it’s so much more important than the disgusting thing being said about real life people. Did you even know there’s a fan stalking Jensen and Danneel?
So don’t act offended that some of us really believed people were sending death threat after reading this comments. It wasn’t us blaming the destiel shipper cause they believed it too cause we know some of us are doing those things. We didn’t wanted her to have a bad experience with Spn cause that would have been awful.( But honestly are you in this fandom or this is the first article you write about SPN cause you should really search more before posting things you are seriously missing imformations on.)
I know not all of them are like that and they’re was positivity about April too. I don’t put everyone in the same boat.
But then as soon as they’re was picture of her stabbing Cas. Reaction
-YEah now we can’t hate her!
So it is better that those who want a bisexual character on this show, have so much hate about a female character for no reason.
Of course the opinion of people who watch this show since the beginning 8 years, doesn’t matter at all here. Cause if a fanon ship brings so much attention on media now let’s just screw the entire beginning of this show that’s always been about hunting monster and family, because a part of this fandom wants to see a totally different kind of show. Like yeah who cares about the plot and the two main character characters and just cause a ship won polls that you can vote as many times as you wanted, who cares about what this story is really about. Just stop the plot and have a very long and totally interesting story about two guys who are straight and considered themselves brothers fall in love. This is why 2 milions people apparently are waiting for cause who cares about Sam right?
But no everytime someone care about the brothers we are just stupid people that wants this show to focus on the plot and our opinion doesn’t matter cause this show have to focus on a romance now. It doesnt matter that Misha fans are a combination of Sam and Dean fans that loves his character and those people who just watched because they saw gifs on tumblr and didn’t even bother to watch the first 3 seasons and just watched Cas and Dean episodes. Yeah that makes me very happy.
Let just pretend that everyone who ships Destiel actually wants to see this ship canon and this decision is obviously the best for the show cause people who didn’t even knew Supernatural months ago have to know what his right and the others, well shut up and get used to it. So now the only opinions who matters are the ones who are really interested about the story of a hunter who is, according to a lot of people, repressing his homosexuality since he is a kid and that falllen angel who always had sexual attraction and emotional feeling for women (MEG, others) be the first priority for the show. Let’s forget how romance never worked on that show but because this ship is so popular the writers are obligated to write it for them and if they’re not, they’re all going to stop watching. (The hardcore shippers)
You know what, if you are thinking like that you are the ones we call the delusional shippers. There are a lot of fans who ships Destiel but know that it won’t work on this show and also cares about Sam and the story but they are rarely on these websites and the one commenting are the pro-canon Destiel. In fact people are happy with just shipping them in fiction and doesn’t wants or expected them to be canon. And you can’t affirmed that everyone of the news viewers are here for Destiel. Misha might be a fan favorite but a lot of his fans wants to see him as a character and likes Castiel, not the possible interaction between him and Dean. (There are Cas fans who are completly opposed to the idea, maybe you sould write about that too. Or not you will probably ruin their points of view.)
And I don’t know what you’re trying to do with this article except encouraging people to start another campaign and pretending they are the victims for harrassing, insulting people on twitter and this over a ship. (Don’t think it’s just to the crew, fangirls ( both sides) are bitching to each other and sending death threat over that stupid topic.) Because they will listen to you, it doesn’t matter that you don’t even work for spn (and clearly are taking their side), they would rather believe someone who seems to be with them than the ones actually working on it and who just told them the thruth.
Finally, for those who say they are only here for a possible Cas/Dean romance in season 9
and the only one they care about it’s Misha/Cas you have your opinion. I won’t threatened to stop watching the show if they make them canon like some likes to do. Can I just say that I would actually feel bad for Jensen and Jared who just announced yesterday that if the views keep going they are doing a next season. These two guys are working on this show for 9 years and could have stop after s5 since it was planned to end there, but they always keep going for a next season cause they know fans still wants to watch the show and are doing it for US. So now just cause they’re are new viewers, some people feels like this show own them something? Like we are not the one who should thanks THEM for doing this show and they even made Misha a regular after 4 season of fans asking for it.
Everyone should be grateful to them not complain about something you wish was on the show. The last seasons woudn’t have happened without them working on this. They could had work on other projects or stay with their family if they knew how little people didn’t seem to care about a show they have been working on for so long but focus on Destiel. So now for some of you if they don’t make Destiel this show isn’t worth watching anymore?
This I believe is not the popular opinion for Destiel shipper, they are the one who cares about Dean and Sam and Cas as characters not only in ship. I’m not trying to tell that Destiel doesn’t have a big fanbase or you don’t count everyone does but you are not alone in this fandom. You don’t like being told you don’t matter well stop doing like there is only you in this fandom cause this is how others feels in this fandom. When we see stupid comment like you don’t deserve to watch Supernatural if you don’t ship Destiel it’s fucking annoying coming from people who probably didn’t watched all the episodes like us. So don’t think it’s everyone who will leave this show because everyone have their opinions. I know this show is about family not just Sam & Dean but now Cas and Kevin and the amazing new characters.
This is why I’m angry about this article you make everyone believe that everything now is about Destiel or the show wouldn’t aired without them being the focus and you don’t even care/know what kind of shit this would cause in the fandom by writing this.
I already addressed this misinformation within the body of the article, and in the previous comments. Please direct your attention to the Fandom (de)Bunker post in which the 1% claim and 50% claim were both tagged unreliable, specifically addressing this false information.
Reading the comments on this article feels like reading the comments on articles about feminism – trolls and idiots missing the point and proving it in the same breath.
I also do love the haters’ reactions – if fans of Destiel (and mostly by extension, Cas) were truly so small in numbers, why would there be fanservice at all? Why would Castiel still be on the show at all?
The fact that the Destiel (and again, by extension Cas) fandom is frequently dubbed the vocal minority whereas some justdabruddas fans consider themselves the silent majority while calling Castiel-scenes fanservice is ridiculous.
Thank you so much for starting this debate, for how you started it, and how you react to the trolls.
I bow down to your skills and patience of actually answering to the hate messages. You are seriously the best. Keep laying the smaketh-down, you have our undying support!!
I want to also commend you for such a well-written article and for your aplomb in handling some of your most unpleasant commenters.
Wonderful article. I’ve always known we’re the majority, especially online. Also, I’ll never get people who say that online fans are different, and don’t reflect real life. Like…are we not living, breathing people? I don’t get it. XD
Emily, I must admit, you are quick witted and intelligent. Out of curiosity, would you be interested in a discussion of the possibility of queer representation on SPN, if it did not devolve into destiel? In the interest of fairness, we could also stipulate that wincest was also off the table.
Eh, nevermind. As I look thru the rest of your blog, i see major Cas apologist. I can’t deal with that, so forget it.
Ironic. Sorry, I will get to your other comments but as you can see the attempts to dog-pile me into submission are ongoing, and keeping up with sheer volume is a challenge.
However, you will find that I am a proponent of Free Will involving dealing with the consequences of personal choices. It’s a major theme in the fanfiction series that ‘outed’ me as a shipper.
Goodbye Stranger was a large debate in my viewing crowd because we had people actually triggered by it. I assume that’s where you have the Cas-Apologist idea from.
Your good opinion is hard to win and apparently very quick to be lost for misconceptions of my opinions.
Regarding the characters, the cast majority of mentions will not be Sam or Dean Winchester….it will be Sam or Dean. Also, your quotes from “mainstream” media are all well known Destiel shippers.
“Also, your quotes from “mainstream” media are all well known Destiel shippers.”
And many of the negative commenters here are all well-known Wincesters.
The vast majority of searches will not be “Sam” or “Dean” because one does not hop onto the internet and first name search unless you’re looking for Cher or Madonna.
And thank you for continuing to devalue entirely the opinion of every person who sees love in a relationship you disagree with and once again confirming the body of my article.
Very interesting article. I have never really understood the argument that Destiel shippers are a very small minority yet are catered to on the show with fan service. Why would you cater to the smallest part of anything? If their contribution is so small it doesn’t affect anything ratings/business wise, why even worry about them at all? Anyway I think you’re a real patient trooper to actually have thought out responses to people that just want to cause more wank/arguments. I don’t think all dissenting opinions here are about that but there are clearly some familiar names that are.
Thanks for taking the time to not only write this, but also provide logical argument for those that can only keep rehashing the same 5 (or so) talking points over and over. There are plenty of us that read, don’t comment, but still appreciate what you took the time to do (and are still doing, even as you write thoughtful replies to people who can’t be bothered to read the article itself).
Whoa. I am really impressed by this. You took a fandom that had a need- destiel- and put it into facts and figures that make sense. Thank you.
Emily, if the pro-Destiel/pro-bisexual Dean part of the fandom had a representative, I would want it to be you. You are very polite and precise with your arguments, and honestly, I can’t see how any hater can could possibly rebut them. Thank you.
This article and the other activities within the SPN fandom have led my personal belief that (1) fans of the relationship between Dean and Cas represent more than 1% of the fandom, (2) those fans communicate with TPTB on twitter in a way similar to others within the SPN fandom, (3) this really seems to piss some people off, and (4) cyber bullying that paints fans of Dean and Cas’ relationship as delusional purveyors of porn is so prevalent that I am afraid to say publicly that I really like the dynamic that has been created for Dean and Cas (romantic or otherwise) out of fear of hate, ridicule and retribution.
The moment this crystallized was not when I read Emily’s article, but instead when I saw the tweet from Shannon Lucio prior to 9X03. The generalized idea that Destiel shippers would harass Shannon Lucio was so completely believed by other Destiel fans she was receiving apologies for hate she never received. We ourselves have been so beaten down by hate and ridicule that at least some of us now believe the propaganda.
For the record, I am a professional with a post-secondary degree, healthy relationships and a love of urban fantasy. I appreciate Emily for taking the time – and the hits – to respectfully and critically stand up for her views and perspective.
What how did I even get here?
Your article made me wonder about the mental health of some people. Don’t you have anything better to do with your life than investing this much time into a television series and some silly fantasy about it? Maybe you should go outside from time to time. The outside world is interesting, I promise. It’s even in 3D.
I don’t know, darling. How DID you get here? Follow a link someone sent in order to attempt to insult a blogger personally for an opinion you disagree with. . . without even bothering to address the opinion at all?
Don’t you have anything better to do with your life than investing so much time into insulting fans of a television series?
Your response makes me wonder about the mental health of some people. Actually, it doesn’t, because it’s not my place to go around calling people delusional merely because they have a different perspective than mine.
That sounds like the activities of an Internet troll.
Maybe you should try courtesy sometimes. I hear it does wonders for how you’re viewed by the rest of the world. It’s almost like I happen to know that from being outside in it from time to time.
Wow.. this is awesome 🙂 As a mum of a teenager, who BOTH watch the show, and having been at London Comicon this weekend, I was astounded by the number of Supernatural fans (and non fans) that believe in Destiel. Its not 1%. Its more like 70% .. and i’m definitely not “mental” whatever that is supposed to mean! Its clear that Cas and Dean’s relationship is adding definition to the show..and it would be great if someone would actually be brave enough to say “yes..its a thing”. (Other than Misha!!)
Thanks for this article. it was very needed.
For those who believe people who google are small percentage of the fans of the show, or those who ask for more “credible” ratings, go read this:
Online chatter absolutely reflects the fanbase. And agencies like Nielson are going to use it for their ratings.
Loved the article, and your level-headed responses, btw. You may/may not need this link to support your claims, just thought those who dismiss online fanbase could correct their own biases.
Really great article. It’s also amazing to see how facts and numbers are so hard for haters to dismiss. I truly believe that the destiel fandoms contibutions towards to show, garner more attention towards the show. They are definitely not less in number.
Loved this article. Well thought out, logical, polite, and concise.
Just because something is in the background doesn’t mean that it wasn’t intentionally put there. This is a point that a lot of destiel bashers seem to miss, and it’s especially frustrating given the amount of detail that Supernatural often seems to put into things like set design, costuming, song choice… everything in a television show is orchestrated. That doesn’t mean that accidents and weird coincidences and unintended signals never occur, but, if you step outside and you get wet, are you going to bet that it’s raining, or that an elephant’s pissing on you?
We know that the people behind the show are aware of the ship. Season 8 was filled to the brim with scenes of Dean and Castiel playing out numerous romantic tropes – Castiel staying away from Dean to protect him in Purgatory, Dean refusing to leave Purgatory without Castiel, Castiel being mind-controlled to attack Dean, Dean breaking through Castiel’s mind-control with a sincere declaration of love (whatever terms it was couched in), hell, we even got a post-make-over style scene where Castiel got cleaned up and the camera panned to a reaction shot of Dean looking like he just popped a boner, and a scene of Dean being angry at Castiel and Castiel going to a store and buying stuff Dean likes, like the perfect picture of a guy who’s just stumbled into the dog house.
Put simply, they did it on purpose. And since they did it on purpose, then they have to have some kind of culmination, or else they, indeed, baited their queer audience. Most forms of fanservice or shiptease need to be taken out of context to a certain degree. Like if two characters get tied up by bandits and need to wriggle against one another to escape their bonds, or if they have to pretend to be dating in order to fool someone else, or something along those lines. I think that the line that got crossed with destiel is the line of context. In earlier seasons, Castiel would stand close to Dean because he didn’t understand personal space; he felt close to Dean because he’d literally pieced his soul back together. Shippers could take a screen shot of the two arguing nose-to-nose and swoon, while everyone else was free to say ‘yeah, no, they were just fighting’. But now, the shippers do not have to take a single thing out of context in order to swoon at it. So now we have transitioned from fanservice and shiptease to plain, old fashioned ‘will they or won’t they?’
All the show has to do is acknowledge, on screen, that Dean and Castiel have a Thing for each other and that this Thing is at least partially romantic in nature. If they do that, then it’s not queerbaiting. If Dean and Cas both then turn and go their separate ways and never speak again, if they agree that there’s something but never act on it, or even if only one of them cops to it, that’s disappointing for the shippers, but it absolves the showrunners of the crime of implying queer text for one audience and then denying its very existence for the comfort of another. Which is the problem with queerbaiting, really. It’s taking one group that’s desperate for representation and stringing them along, with no intention of following through, eventually dismissing them and denying their entire perspective for the sake of the intolerant members of the audience. Metaphorically, it would be like a the popular quarterback in high school telling the cripplingly lonely gay outcast kid that he’ll go to prom with him if he does all his homework, and then standing him up on the big night to go with a cheerleader instead because actually showing up with the outcast would tarnish his reputation way too much. So the poor kid’s standing there, insisting that the popular guy said he’d go out with him, and all the rest of the school is shaking their heads at him and calling him ‘delusional’ because, obviously, why would someone as cool as Supernatural ever take those weird destiel shippers to prom?
Nice article, Emily, and I totally agree with you, Liam. And, moreover, I really don’t understand why anyone’s so reluctant to acknowledge that it’s a thing. It baffles me why they wouldn’t jump on the goldmine of doing something genuinely progressive with their fantasy story for an audience that is hungry for just such a thing.
I also have no idea why acknowledging Dean’s deep and romantically tinged bond with Castiel somehow negates the notion that the story is about two brothers. Dean and Sam have a deeply co-dependent, and in many ways, terribly sad and unhealthy relationship; why is there so much opposition to their finding any kind of fulfilment outside of it? Couldn’t Dean’s admitting that he loves Cas and Sam’s supporting him in that be a facet of their developing relationship as brothers?
I also agree that they don’t need to go all the way to sweaty love scenes to acknowledge that Dean’s sexuality is fluid, but I really do think they’re shooting themselves in the foot by denying it.
There are a ton of problems with this article. First off, only 10% of SPN’s audience goes online. Of those, they are mainly general viewers, and not the hardcore – people who’d be the most into shipping. (Bell Curve actually states less than 4% of that ~ 2% pro, 2% anti) Only 1% of the audience actually social shares – and again, of those, according to the Bell Curve, the hardcore would be significantly less. http://ow.ly/i/1J4w9
Second, you’re presuming that 100% of the Destiel mentions are actually pro-Destiel. Quite a few clearly are not. And I’m an example of someone who uses the term “Destiel” without actually being a shipper. I just use it to refer to the Dean/Castiel relationship.
Third, you’re presuming “interest in” equals shipping, when it does not. Also, “fandom” does not equal the entire viewing audience.
By far and away, the vast, vast, VAST majority of viewers for any given show are simply general people who tune/tune out and it doesn’t go much more than that. Maybe talking about it with your friends, or making a one-off tweet that’s in no way designed to interact with the online fandom as a whole. Even if you *could* argue Destiel shippers make up more than 1%, it certainly isn’t going to be *much* more. The writers have a duty to ALL the viewers ~ and in particularly, the vast majority of them. IE, the ones who like Sam, Dean, and Castiel, but don’t ship (or even see ships) any of them.
At most, you have an argument that Destiel is more popular than Wincest online (which I agree with). But you certainly don’t have an argument that Destiel is some overwhelming audience portion that the writers should take seriously when considering onscreen plot points and the actual onscreen romantic relationship statuses of Dean, Sam, and Castiel.
You’re teased because they know about you and want you to keep watching. Mostly, because you’re the hardcore social users who they interact most with. That’s it. This is practically the same as the Morgan/Reid “fandom” in Criminal Minds (although I would say Destiel is more well known), as well as a story told in TV shows throughout time. In the scheme of things, collectively the numbers add up to almost nothing.
The only place in which I use the term ‘majority’ is in the final paragraph of the article, in which I indicate that the majority of the online fandom is searching for Destiel; a statement that is entirely accurate based upon my research.
I also indicate that the 1% myth, mostly spread online by people of other ships (I can provide specific examples if required, but I recommend you just look through these comments knowing they came from Wincest and J2 sources) is incorrect.
And I still believe that the data shows that as well.
The outcry after the Twitterpocalypse was a big focus point of my article, as well: and that is ENTIRELY comprised of the online fandom, as it took place on social media. So explaining the background, and the fact that Destiel is searched for heavily, and faced a big spike after Season 8’s open romantic framing, is incredibly relevant.
Please note, this is indicative of searching, not merely textual use; the trends indicate search term popularity over time, and excludes repeat searches from the same source in a period of time, because elsewise Google would spike inaccurately every time one person did a research project on any subject.
What’s also interesting is how few people already entrenched in a ship actually need to go Google it. We know where we’re headed; we have our communities, we have our Tumblrs and our fic sites and so on. I can’t prove it, but I’d actually have to wonder if we’re looking at the growth over time of the online fandom.
I’d also be interested to know the source data for your own charts: I find all of this fascinating! How big of a poll was that? How many participants? Online polling is very difficult to pin down (my article linked to the Fandom Debunker explaining why) and the fact that a small community census is what was used to justify the 1% is a large part of the problem.
What it all comes down to, and what my article addresses, is that regardless of the size of any group (be it Wincest or Destiel or J2 or LGBTQ+ and so on) this shouldn’t be a campaign to belittle each other’s opinions by spreading of false facts.
My article addressed several of those false facts, including the 1% myth.
Additionally, I think we need to look at the term ‘teased’ here.
“You’re teased because they know about you and want to keep you watching.”
When they do that with a queer relationship, to a queer audience that is starved for representation, and then yell “No Homo!” from time to time, it IS hurtful. That’s the definition of queerbaiting: dangling this possibility for ratings, and then retracting them rather than following through.
You’ll note that my conclusion also says that what they need to do is either address it in-story, or respectfully to their fandom, if they’re NOT going to go that direction.
That doesn’t mean ‘Give us Destiel or else!!!’ that means come out and say it, as other showrunners have, if it’s never going to happen.
If they keep playing it both ways, though, and dragging it along, they’re queerbaiting.
“That doesn’t mean ‘Give us Destiel or else!!!’ that means come out and say it, as other showrunners have, if it’s never going to happen.”
They’re not going to do that, and it’s pretty dumb to expect them to. They deal with a lot of shippers on a personal level, and they’re at heart a business who wants you to continue watching ~ even if you’re a small percentage. They’re not going to piss Destiel shippers off and give them an outright reason to tune out when there’s no reason to.
…All you did was define queerbaiting without saying the word ‘queerbaiting,’ you realize that right?
Which means while you might not agree with my ship, you DO agree with a major point of my article if not the negative connotation of queerbaiting as applied to the show.
When they drag things out to keep hopes up without ever intending to follow through on the romantic storyline they keep building by doing so, and their hints and . . . I can’t even call it subtext any more, because it’s overt and driving stories. . . That’s queerbaiting.
For commentary on how it works and WHY it’s wrong, please feel free to review the responses to comments before yours. This is a PROBLEM. And it’s ironically a problem MANY on both sides of this see.
The difference is we put the appropriate word to it, and would like it to end.
your way of data analysis is not correct, not to mention the method of data collection. for example, there are lots of fans who do NOT use the search terms ‘ dean winchester’ or ‘sam winchester’, they use ‘dean supernatural’ and “sam supernatural’ instead. add up this part ,the google trend result is so different(while ‘castiel supernatural’ is already included in the ‘castiel’ statistics and there is not enough ‘cass supernatural’ search volume to be displayed on the graph)
about the actors, this one clearly tells which one is the fan favorite(according to google, at least).
and please remember , supernatural fandom is not all about slash, there are non- slash fans out there, and imho, they are the majority
PS’ would U please don’t delete my post again！
*blinks* I haven’t deleted any posts. I’ve also responded to as many as I can. I’ll check my spam and see if you ended up there for using multiple links in a response. It’s set to do that because that’s a frequent spam method on WP, and typically catches anyone who isn’t a WP regular and does that.
On to your graphs.
I’m not trying to have a popularity contest between the actors. I know the outcome there. And I made the joke about how if Google image searches bump results I may well have inflated a few of those terms over time myself.
I love all three cast members and all three of the TFW boys. This isn’t about them. I don’t know why people want to make it that?
Additionally, in much the way I say that the Dean+Cas and Destiel statistics were not intended to “stack” but rather to show a trend growth, I wouldn’t stack the results you give in your own post. Unless you want me to go grab every potential search term, I chose the best search terms with the most accurate growth, even by your own chart.
I did research on search term popularity using keyword marketing sites prior to compiling my charts, to chose the ones that would be most popular.
Now. . . that all said?
How does any of this address my article?
Great article, amazing comments. Thank you so much, Emily.
Reblogged this on Windi's Musings.
I just wish the writers would realize that a kiss or a even a hand holding, some sort of morethanfriends proof of Destiel would make everyone SOO FUCKING HAPPY and we would adore them forever and be indebted to the entire staff for the rest of our lives.
What I find interesting is the repetitiveness of the responses AGAINST Destiel. Someone mentioned that this was like defending Feminism, and I have to agree: if you don’t see the sexism, you aren’t going to get the point, no matter how carefully it’s explained and diagrammed. This is how the Tea Party keeps getting votes, I swear. As for me, I’m actually not that big of a Castiel fan (I’m not) but one of the reasons I ship Destiel is that Dean and Cas have a definite chemistry, even as Misha and Jensen do (and I’m not even going to talk Cockles, per se. Even if I stay away from the constant petting and playful kissing, I would say they just have chemistry, period.) and it’s hard, I would say, to stop them from having that on-screen. Like Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. It just… happens.
This is why many shippers were surprised by the lack of Dean/Cas time in S9, which, even when they were just Dean and Cas with nothing else really going on, they just have nice chemistry. You miss that. The lack of Destiel time (regardless of love/sexual intent) was rather painful. They fed us a bounty in S8 and then stopped almost all meals in S9, only to have Metatron drop Destiel bombs in the Season Finale of 9. There’s no stopping Destiel, at least from the Castiel side, now. Whatever happens with Dean… well, it happens. But it’s been pretty much confirmed through Metatron’s constant commentary and Cas’s refusal to kill Dean in S9 that Castiel’s in love with him (“This is a love story” ~Metatron).
So regardless of anything, it has to be resolved. My personal fear is having Castiel sacrifice himself for Dean in S10, tell him “I love you” as he dies in his arms, and then BAM! All problems are now fixed and ready to be swept under the rug: Castiel is dead; Destiel is canon; no way to pursue the romance, no awkwardness to deal with.
This is what the writers make me think because they are so set on baiting us, but also set on making it not happen. I’m going to be smiting mad if it goes that way, though. I didn’t wait that long for a male character to be bisexual on TV only to have him slip back into the closet. Hell, the BBC can have bisexual characters; why can’t the US do it too?
Your comparison for Google searches used “CW Supernatural” rather than the option for Supernatural as a topic or search term. If you compare “CW Supernatural” versus the show as a search topic, it is not even close. The show as a topic also crushes both Destiel and Wincest. The search term “Supernatural” also crushes both of the ships. You cannot compare an odd term such as “CW Supernatural” to common search terms.
As search topics, Dean Winchester tops the list, and both Winchester brothers both as terms and topics are more popular than the shipping search terms.
First of all, hello and wecome to a personal blog post I wrote in October 2013. I see you haven’t actually read the post itself, simply jumped on down to a pair of graphics used within it, so I will attempt to make this simple for you in my response as I assume reading comprehension is either beyond you, or it is something that you find do not find of interest.
First, as I’ve addressed… ad nauseum, actually… throughout these hundreds of comments, you cannot use “Supernatural” as the search term. It’s a genre title, not just a singular show topic. It’s a set of beliefs in the creatures, etc, too.
Now, as to topic searches: you’re quite right, now (in January 2015!) there is a “Topics” option on Google Trends. It’s a handy feature that its still in beta testing. Meaning? It was not a feature available in October 2013 when this article was written. I’ve actually revisited this on my Twitter account (it matches my username here!) since then, to look at the topics feature. It gathers together related search terms in order to approximate search popularity.
Now, exact term searches? They’re still exactly what I show. Supernatural (CW) is still the significant search item for differentiating Supernatural the show from Supernatural the subject matter. If you search Supernatural (American TV Series) as a topic, you’re going to get a composite, then. It’s going to include the search results for all of the related character searches as well. So yes. It’s going to crush everything because it’s grabbing every single other related search and sticking it in there.
You’ll have to use that one for general interest (which is very neat to see grow) but can’t use it (the Topic search as opposed to term search) to compare to other Supernatural search terms and topics because they’re included in it. So lets delete that one for future comparison discussion, as it is the sum of its parts.
Now, select the topics Dean Winchester (Fictional Character), Sam Winchester (Fictional Character), Castiel (Fictional Character). Does Dean come out on top? Yes, he does now! It goes Dean, Castiel, then Sam in “topic” popularity. It’s interesting to break that down, though, because (like with Supernatural (American TV Series)) that’s a composite as well. Because in the topics search he has more search terms used for him. It’s actually interesting to note that in “related queries” for both Sam and Dean as fictional characters (composited into them as a topic) you’ll see:
dean and sam
supernatural dean sam
With rising interest of:
dean and sam
dean and sam
supernatural sam dean
With rising interest of:
dean and sam
So, Sam and Dean are often searched together, particularly by people searching Sam. Dean is increasingly searched with Castiel, and with Sam. These are all considered, by Google, to be part of the “topic” for each of them. So you search one brother, it counts the brother in, and it counts in the ships (searching them together).
Now, Castiel comes up with:
dean and castiel
With rising interest of:
What’s all of that “prove”? Well, it proves Castiel is still a significant part of Supernatural, darling, and if you (and others) discuss writing him out you’re probably going to shoot the show in the foot since he’s (even as a composite of terms not including Sam) showing up as more popular than the second lead of the show.
Now, Destiel and Wincest, when you search them? They’re not composites. When google searches a term (rather than a topic) what it is showing is just the results of that singular term. And still Destiel (the term) hits about the halfway mark of topic popularity of Sam Winchester (compiled from many terms).
Does this mean “MAKE DESTIEL CANON NOW!11!!” or “Destiel IS canon!!1!”?
But if you actually read the blog post, you’d understand that wasn’t the point of the discussion at all.
Now… did you have anything significant to contribute to the actual subject matter?
Emily I thought you were a gem when I followed you but after visiting this site I have confirmed knowledge that you are rare gem that needs to be protected at all cost ;~) and I am honoured to be your follower!
You know, I’m getting really sick of Destiel.
This isn’t aimed at any one in particular but a certain section of this fandom has become very problematic.
I don’t give a crap if Dean is straight, gay or bisexual but the sense of entitlement from *some* viewers is just too much.
The producers, writers and MAIN characters have always been clear what this show is about; the two brothers.
That is the story they wanted to tell. It’s the story that they have basically promised to tell and they have upheld that in all it’s painful glory.
I’m all for people shipping whatever the hell they like. If Destiel became canon tomorrow I wouldn’t care but this whiny, spoilt behaviour has to stop.
They gave nods to the shippers and the shippers accused them of queerbaiting. They toned down Cas and Dean’s interactions and the shippers are pissed at that too.
This isn’t the friggin Vampire Diaries. Stop undermining the STORY that SPN offers us; the bloody painful, epic, fantastic story with rich characters, with this pathetic shipper nonsense.
I mean, I’ve even seen some Destiel shippers say that they want rid of Sam and their idea of the perfect show is Sam gone and Castiel sitting in his place in the Impala.
Seriously? This is Sam and Dean’s show and there are people who genuinely want one of the TWO primary characters and actors booted off his own narrative to make place for a SHIP? O.o
I love Misha, I love Castiel but the truth is that Castiel (like all the other important characters in the boys lives; John, Mary, Bobby etc) is expendable.
Sam and Dean are not. The only thing these producers/writers/cast owe us is to tell the story of Sam and Dean. That is IT.
And the implication that anybody who doesn’t ‘ship’ or ‘get’ Destiel is a homophobe is just frankly insulting.
Honestly, my first reading was that Dean saw Cas as another brother. The things people pick up on as subtext; the embraces, the stares, the ‘I need you’s’ are ALL behaviours that Dean shows towards his brother.
I can understand why people view it as romantic; the subtext is there BUT so is the subtext for those who view it as platonic. It’s INTERPRETATION and everybody does it differently.
And this one goes out to both Destiel and Wincest shippers; what the hell is wrong with portraying a platonic male relationship?
Some of ya’ll say that one male character telling another male character that he basically loves and needs him is ‘evidence’ that he is homosexual, bisexual or pansexual.
Male emotions, relationships, love etc are NOT exclusively homosexual.
The writers have made it quite clear that Dean loves his brother and he loves Castiel. How you INTERPRET that love is entirely up to you. What is CANON is up to the writers.
Yes, SPN has had its bad seasons and slumps but if you seriously need Dean and Castiel to make out on screen in order to carry on with the show then maybe you should check out already because at its heart, SPN is telling a fantastic, epic, painfully beautiful LOVE story that holds up perfectly well without the need for canon Destiel or canon Wincest.
I’m getting pretty sick and tired of romantic relationships and fandom shipping (heterosexual AND homosexual) trying to undermine great stories which don’t even need romance to thrive.
Watch or don’t watch but please cut the crap because I actually enjoy watching Dean and Cas on my screen and all the bullshit seems to be scaring the writers off even having them interact for fear that they’ll be accused of baiting shippers.
Do you really believe the writers are being influenced by the shippers? Really. Because if grown men who are being paid outrageous sums of money to write stories for a million dollar production, are being knocked around by a handful of 16-year-old girls, they need to step down and hand the reigns over to someone else. Not all Destiel fans want or expect to see Dean and Cas make out. I personally think it would end the show. But I find it offensive that you didn’t give mention to the J2 only crew, the ones who are rude to Misha at cons, and demeaning to him with their photo ops, and have gone so far as to try to have him fired, and tried to inspire I hate Misha Collins day on Tumblr. He’s just an actor who took on a job and knocked it out of the park.. Not his fault that the writers, producers, and fans love him, so where is your defence on that? Leads me to believe that you are one of those fans, and your efforts to appear neutral don’t fool me.
Whoop, okay, so I am here kinda to add to some of these discussions here. I HOPE that it’s not going to be antagonizing, but let’s be real. Changing an opinion can be very difficult to do, or to admit, though I won’t make the generalization that these people are simply being stubborn.
In my personal opinion, Dean and Cas should be a thing. I’m just setting my ground, not quite debating anything yet.
I may not have an overly objective view, since I’ve already admitted my biased viewpoint. What I am about to state are my PERSONAL stories, interactions, opinions, and experiences. I’m adding it because it’s kind of a free-for-all and as I’m typing this, I’m not sure how or if it will affect this stream. I don’t know if it’ll start a storm, or if it will change any minds. Either ways, at least I’m adding on?
I started watching Supernatural almost two years ago. I was already into the internet fanbases and watched Doctor Who and Sherlock, and was desperate to take my place as a Superwholockian (they were the big thing at the time).
Had I heard of Destiel in the beginning? Yes, once or twice. I didn’t really give it any thought at all. One night, I was just casually binging through Supernatural for the first time, and season 6 episode 20 came on. Of course, my feeling were everywhere. It’s the episode where Cas tells everything that has been happening in his background since season 5-ish (?) and then Cas was left behind in a ring of holy fire. As Sam and Dean ran from the cabin, Dean turned back. It’s almost like me looking back at my potential for a normal, Destiel-free life. Oh well.
Through the past year and a half-or-so, I’ve devoted most of my free time to uncovering the secrets of Destiel and Dean’s bisexuality. I’ve found that whenever I meet a new person who watches Supernatural, in social interaction or on the internet, the majority HAVE considered Destiel before (though from what I’ve heard, that’s not always the case, so I’m not completely throwing myself out there as ignorant).
I COULD go into detail about all the “evidence”, but what’s the point? You’ve probably read the article, and maybe even the entire conversation. I sometimes think, “If the majority of casual viewers don’t actually notice Destiel as a potential, then why should I expect them to ship it as I do?”
Then I realize, I don’t
If these are casual fans who don’t give it as much thought as someone in a fanbase who probably thinks about it maybe too much, then why would it be such a giant deal? If they’d never been exposed to the Destiel on the internet, they’d probably react with, “Huh. I didn’t see that coming, but okay.” Of course, the obsessive section of the fanbase would be flipped upside down, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
Let’s be honest. No one actually expects Dean and Cas to have some giant romantic love story and for Sam to be forgotten. That’s just honestly out of character and stupid. Most people I’ve ever interacted with who ship Destiel admit that they think that it will happen with Castiel dying and it happens right there and then, whether just a confession, a smile, or maybe even a kiss.
Though most of us want it with a burning passion, we agree that Sam and Dean are, and always will be, the MAIN protagonists. *IN MY OPINION* I feel that maybe, since Sam hasn’t been the focus of the show for a long time due to Dean having a bit more popularity because of Destiel (among other reasons, I imagine), Sam could have quite a bit more screen time, as would Cas, but not as a main-character way (though since he IS a big part of the show, they couldn’t forget about his actual character).
Here’s a scenario: It’s a filler episode, so Dean and Sam are on a case, but Cas is there too, simply because he’s been accepted as more of a recurring character. Dean and Cas stumble in through the door of the bunker, slightly drunken, but mostly happy and smiling. Dean tells Sam to deal with the interrogation and Dean and Cas head off to a room. Sam does as he’s told and Dean meets up with him when he’s needed. Simple as that.
Destiel actually happening? I have a ton of hope, though it’s often crushed by reality. I don’t want to lost hope, because where will my heart lie if it actually did happen?
As for people who intensely hate Destiel, I don’t think the writers would do it if there wasn’t an opportunity to do it without it ruining the principals of the show. They would never knock down a tower that they spent over eleven years building. This show is about brotherhood and family. I don’t think it matters about which side Cas is on, but I think it matters that the brothers have someone who they trust and love, even when he shouldn’t be.
For the Destiel shippers, Destiel being canon would be a dream come true, of course.
If Destiel never happens, I feel that the shippers won’t be content, but we’ll learn to accept the reality someday. Either way, whether it’s platonic or not, Dean and Cas have a relationship. Sometimes, I think that the fandom WILL go a bit far. I don’t like the actors being uncomfortable (yes, I’m talking about Jensen). It got to the point where he thought it was refreshing that Dean and Cas weren’t together much in season 9.
Using the phrase again, I love Dean and Castiel’s relationship to bits. I think it’s the way they look at each other. It’s as if they’re sharing their souls and minds with each other through their eyes and I have the privilege to watch. There. No data or dug-up proof. That’s why I ship Destiel.
The subtext is basically undeniable. If it can be found, it exists. I think that subtext leaves room for possibility. It could go either way. We’ll see which route they take, and I’ll be content with either one.
I don’t know if I got my point across, but why don’t I just state it right here and now:
Supernatural means so much to all of us, and I think that we should love it no matter where it goes. Destiel happening? Destiel not happening? Supernatural will live in our hearts for the rest of our lives, and we should just cherish it for the way it goes, even if it’s not exactly what we want. Let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Here I am, at the end of this rant with fundamentally no actual statistics or proof. It’s just the heart of a biased fanboy among the sea that is the beautiful Supernatural family. Will this essay amount to much? Probably not, but I hope it will shed some light and give others a new perspective.
I just found this thread and wanted to say thanks Emily! I watched SPN ages ago and then stopped, time went by, and my friend was totally into wincest and wanted me to watch the show. I don’t get wincest. I don’t know why. But the moment cas had his walk through it was an omg moment. Now I’m obsessed. And it’s a bummer people don’t like it and say nasty things when really it’s just love and don’t the boys deserve all the love they can get? So, that’s it. Thanks for being smart, patient and eloquent.
Hello.This article was published in 2013,now date is 2018,and we are in season 13.It is true that after big Destiel season 8,writers changed their mind because of the increasing rates of Destiel fans,and discussions about queer-beating..For this reason,season 9 didn’t show us their relationship deeply.But after it,especially season 12 showed us many reasons to ship Destiel,season 13 began with the Dean’s feelings,pains of losing Castiel,even he wanted to die which he had never tried before.Then we watched ‘ Tombstone’ episode which was the real proof of Destiel.
Really,I don’t understand why they do it.I watched many movies based on two men or women friendship ,but I had never shipped them before.But this show is amazing in queer-baiting,or I don’t know how I explain it.I don’t want to see two men get laid on the screen of course,but their relationship is pure,and real.I want to see that they confess their feelings to each other,after it they can apart their ways,I don’t care anymore,but I want to prove myself that,I am not stupid.There are 65.000 fanfiction about Destiel,this is real statistic,and I think writers have to pay attention this number,it is too much.I can see the great chemistry between these two characters which I have never seen in any film before.I hope,it will become canon.
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