Supernatural’s Fall from Grace
A Wasteland of Dead Girls and Testosterone
In Supernatural the only permanent bonds are masculine. The only thing higher than SPN’s female body count is the number of white men on the show. Women further the angst of the male characters. At least twice, SPN has taken female characters who’ve already been killed off and resurrected them in an alternate timeline, only to kill them again solely to provoke more manpain. At one point this season, Linda Tran makes a welcome appearance, only to declare that her priority is being a good mother to her son—who is dead.
Sam, Dean, and Cas are lost and parentless, with no idea how to express intimacy, because intimacy in SPN is feminine, and all the women they know are dead. Dean’s heteronormativity is so rigid it’s taken years for him to express how he feels to Sam or Cas in moments when the stakes aren’t life and death. Castiel has spent the last two seasons learning how to hug people. The theme of Crowley’s current addiction to human blood is his inability to deal with emotion. “I’ll cheer the day when the last trace of humanity leaves me,” he says in a recent episode “FEELINGS!”
GIF via sevendeanlysins
SPN’s final Big Bad has always been the threat that real male intimacy poses to its proto-masculine image of itself. It’s a fight of continual repression and internalized shame, waged in sideswipes, gay jokes, and incessant shaming of effeminacy, nerdiness, and anything that might resemble nuanced expressions of male gender. Narratively, out of nine seasons, SPN has only had five canonically gay characters with a 50% survival rate. And “dorky guys” including Castiel are consistently made fodder for Dean’s and the show’s amusement, not admiration or attraction.
Photo via reiko-jason
But the more SPN mocks and represses, the more it has to contend with its own fandom—female, queer, genderqueer, nerdy, and unashamed. The fandom’s culling of queer and genderqueer readings from SPN deliberately repudiates its textual scouring of their own identities and emotional landscapes.
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