A recent fanmail ask - OP’s name removed for privacy. Please note that there is triggering content beneath the cut - see tags.
The more I think about the Sterek moment that happened, the more I think they might be laying the foundation for Sterek to happen. I wish they had waited, at least one episode, to have a moment where Stiles comforts/talks with Derek about the death of Boyd because I do think that the moment cheapened it.
Like, I’m vocal against Sterek shippers. I used to be one, and I wouldn’t hate it if it happened. I just don’t like the shippers. But the more I think about that moment, the more I think that they have AT LEAST opened the door of possibility for them to go there. Does that make sense?
I think there would be SOME benefit when it comes to media attention if Sterek were to actually become canon. I would prefer Scisaac or for Dethan to become a main couple, but Sterek would probably be a huge benefit. I just hate the fandom. lol
So what do you think? Am I wrong for thinking that they’ve opened that door, to lay a foundation for a later season? Would you like it if it was done well, and not at the expense of Jennifer’s character? Like, you’re pretty vocal against the problems it raises, and I understand that. But would it be something you would like to see happen if it was done right?
I’ll start with saying that I’m not anti-sterek because of Dennifer; I’m indifferent to Dennifer as a ship. (I just don’t really care about it one way or the other, although I do like JBlake.)
I can’t comment on Davis’ ultimate direction for the show, but I will note that his so-called affection for the ship seems to have taken a sharp nose-dive lately. Ignoring all of the problems with shippers jumping on Boyd’s death scene as a ship moment!! (still infuriated), saying that that scene opened the door for sterek to become canon is like saying that the Melissa/Ethan/Scott scene in 3.07 opened the door for Melissa/Ethan to happen: they’re in the same room, the interaction is positive, and neither of the two attacked each other. It’s up to the writers, but it’s extremely unlikely.
(Regarding sterek—I’m going to try and not focus on Boyd’s death, the fandom in general, and all of the -isms that go into that in this response and just focus on canon. That’s… not going to happen because I’m angry with all of the above, so bear with me here.)
I’ve never seen even a hint of chemistry between Derek and Stiles in my three years of watching the show.
Relevant to this statement:
- I’ve been in fandom for so long that I’m conditioned to wear slash goggles
- I also watched the first 20 episodes of TW without any exposure to the fandom, so I am unbiased by sterek fandom behavior.
I just don’t see it. I don’t see affection, I don’t see interest, and I don’t even see sexual tension.
TRIGGERING CONTENT UNDER THE CUT
- Derek doesn’t seek Stiles out, and vice versa.
- Derek and Stiles only ever interact because of Scott.
- When they do interact, it almost invariably ends in physical or verbal violence.
- The majority of their conversations fail the Scottdel test, which is to say: they never stop talking about Scott.
- When Scott is in the room with them, both are like oh my god NOTICE ME SCOTT!!1! STOP LOOKING AT DEREK/STILES!!1
- Neither actually likes the other.
And like, I get the whole hate!sex thing and having a kismesis and so on. But usually for hate!sex to occur, there has to be some attraction or mutual past or something to tie these characters together beyond “we just don’t like each other.” They have to be obsessed with one another, and Derek and Stiles… aren’t? They don’t qualify for that kismesis-level relationship, so ordinary hate!sex is out.
So where do we go from here?
Fandom typically takes this in a couple different directions:
- they really are obsessed with each other and the abuse is proof of that
- they’re secret lovers and the abuse is to hide that fact
- alpha/beta/omega dynamics
- mischaracterization of either/both Derek and Stiles in order to launch the ship
No matter what you pick, the abuse is invariably considered romantic. Advance warning that this is about to turn into a rant about sterek and abuse because it’s been building all day, but:
Imagine Sterek if Stiles were a sixteen-year-old girl and Derek a twenty-something man.
Is it still cute and romantic and sexy to think of him slamming her head against the steering wheel? To threaten to tear her throat out with his teeth? To watch her scream and shake under him? Is that exciting?
Can you imagine anything ever coming of that relationship? Do you imagine them growing past it together and becoming lovers as adults? Would we want them to?
And sure, we can argue about gender roles and historical violence and oppression and the kyriarchy and so forth, but the example still works to highlight the power imbalance at work here:
- Stiles is a minor.
- Derek is a violent authority figure. Derek literally has all the power.
(It actually really bothers me that this is almost never addressed in m/m relationships in fandom because of the notion that men are just inherently more violent and that’s their natural state of being; this is really damaging for men and society in general.)
Having said all of the above, I know that it’s popular, in fandom, to present a power imbalance as incredibly sexy and omg I just can’t live without them! And omg they’re just so possessive and jealous and can’t live without me either!!1 but that is so fucking dysfunctional—and I speak from experience, okay. It is all-consuming, the highs are unlike anything you’ve ever experienced and the lows are even better/worse (and it’s so, so hard to draw that line when you’re in deep enough—I sincerely hope that people paid attention to the trigger warnings). It’s completely self-obliterating.
This is not sexy.
I know that using those dynamics to heighten tension and highlighting those power imbalances are pretty much shipping norms for most fandoms. It’s pretty much unavoidable. I also get that people have their kinks and a ton of fans love this (but why? this is worth examining as well—why does it always have to be self-obliterating and abusive to be interesting?) and so forth (tagging would be good, though; non-con should not be the norm), but it’s usually not so distinctly set out, I mean. You usually don’t have fans capping the steering wheel scene and putting pop lyrics over what is literally abuse. And not tagging that shit, and not even remarking on it because it’s just so taken for granted that it’s the majority and normal and so forth. You typically don’t have hundreds of thousands of words of apologism from fans for that abuse.
And most of the sterek fandom are so-called social justice warriors and recognize that uh, the above is problematic, so they usually excuse it by saying that it’s not really abuse, or make one of them desperate to be a kept man (almost invariably Stiles, literally in an apron in the kitchen being “pack mom,” and the fact that no one recognizes how heteronormative and outright oppressive this is (I have literally read fic in which Derek has told Stiles to get back in the kitchen, lol), especially given that it’s a 16yo, well), or construct entire histories out of the most un-Destiel-like glances I have ever seen (because yes, I am aware of the concepts of eye sex and queerbaiting).
Basically: let’s all just gracelessly ignore that this is a child and an adult, let’s ignore that it’s incredibly problematic to put them together for that reason alone, let alone the fact that the adult is violently abusive toward that child and has never shown a sign of changing that.
So yes, sterek would definitely create a media shitstorm, but this sort of imbalance of power would also be majorly damaging to queer representation in media. Why? Because it’s:
- massively unhealthy/dysfunctional/abusive
- falls along the stereotypical “gays are predators” relationship in which an adult preys on a minor
And I get that what you’re saying in your ask is: what if they’re older, what if they’re grown past this, what if this is a sign that they can grow into a positive relationship at last and stop abusing each other?
The question I would ask here is why:
- Why would they spontaneously get together when they’re all grown up?
- Where is the chemistry?
- Why would we want them to get together after all of that abuse?
- Would that power imbalance ever really go away, considering the history and the personalities at work here?
Why does a simple, instinctive gesture of human comfort (because that’s what the hand on the shoulder is, instinctive—when people die, most people need touch to reassure themselves that they’re still alive; it’s an animal behavior, not inherently a gesture of caring) suddenly indicate its shipworthy rather than like:
- Maybe they’ll become allies?
- Maybe they won’t hate each other anymore and will just work together with a little bit of snark instead?
But why would they automatically get together? I don’t get it. I don’t think it could ever be done “right” because of all of the above, tbh. I would not want it to be canon.
This wasn’t really coherent and pretty much turned into an anti-sterek rant, but I hope you were able to gather the gist of the message. To be clear, this isn’t an attack; I know you asked with good intentions. I just have a lot of problems with sterek, and have even more problems with it now that they’re using Boyd’s death as ship bait
so yeah, if it ever happened for real, I would stop watching the show