I have been meaning to discuss this topic for a while now. Ever since I saw a relationship between two characters in season four of My Hero Academia and the subsequent reaction the internet had to it, but more on that later. Fortunately for me, yet unfortunately for society as a whole, this is an ever green topic, but after watching the latest episode of “Supernatural” and seeing a certain scene (and the subsequent reaction to THAT), I decided I can’t put it off any longer. And seeing as today is “International Men’s DAY” it seems like the perfect topic for discussion. FYI If you haven’t seen S15E18 of “Supernatural” then consider this your SPOILER warning……okay? Good.(“Greeaat!”)
So the scene in question shows “Dean” and “Castiel” attempting to escape the Grim Reaper “Billie” after failing to kill her. Just when all hope seems lost, Castiel remembers that the one thing that can hurt Billie also happens to have him on its shit list, “The Empty”, a primordial being that vowed to kill him the second he became truly happy. Castiel realises that, the one thing that makes him truly happy is being with “Dean”, “Sam” and “Jack”, his adoptive family and to express that love he tells “Dean” that he loves him and that his time with him was the best of his life. He is then swallowed by “The Empty” along with “Billie”, thus saving “Dean” from death.(Jesus Supernatural…I was not prepared for this level of feels!)
So just for a little context before we go any further, “Castiel” has been on the show since season four, he rescued “Dean” from Hell and has been fighting alongside him ever since. Their relationship blossomed from comrades, to friends and then finally to family. But a portion of the fandom “Shipped” them (meaning made them a couple in their minds), referring to the coupling as “Deanstiel”, harmless enough on the face of it. But a small number of the “Deanstiel” fans were upset that this supposed coming out ended with “Castiel” going to the angel version of hell. Which, to be fair, if it was “Castiel” declaring his romantic interest, wasn’t the best conclusion.(Holy Shit!)
To be clear, I have no problem if “Castiel” and “Dean” turned out to be in love with each other, in fact it would be awesome if two of the most badass demon hunters in the world also happened to be gay! It would be an amazing bit of representation for a group that, until recently, were mostly portrayed as the gay best friend/comic relief, so if that’s the way the story is going then awesome, bring it on!
My concern is not for the decision to have a character come out (if that’s what it was) but for the thought process that may have led to the concept of “Deanstiel” in the first place. The misguided belief that just because two men have a close relationship and have expressed their love for one another that the only explanation is that they must be gay. It stems from the bullshit notion that “Real Men” don’t show their emotions, “Big boys” don’t cry and to express otherwise means you’re a “fairy”.
And “Deanstiel” is just the latest in a long line of examples, take the TV show “Merlin”, the relationship between “Arthur” and the titular “Merlin” is framed in much the same way. Two men who have a close bond and the internet’s first thought was that they were lovers, citing Arthur’s death bed request for Merlin to hold him as proof. Then we have the relationship between Mirio and Tamaki in My Hero Academia, the genesis of this article if you will. Tamaki is a sensitive and shy boy who doesn’t think much of himself until Mirio comes along and shows him love and support. In every scene they share you can feel their deep bond and the mutual love and respect they share. But again many peoples first instinct was that they were secretly a couple, and I admit I thought the same thing. I started referring to them as “my favourite couple”; it was unintentionally the first place my mind went.
Obviously I’m not blind to the counter argument, some people “ship” their favourite characters into gay relationships simply because they would like a more diverse LGBTQ representation. Hell, I’m sure at this point they’d settle for simply “more” representation, which is itself an issue that needs to be addressed. But I believe that removing the stigma of heterosexual male platonic love would certainly help in that regard. If more people were comfortable with the thought of straight men telling their male friends and family members that they loved them, maybe they’d be more open to the idea that a world-saving, apocalypse-stopping, beer-drinking, ass-kicker had a boyfriend.
Well, those are our thoughts on Deanstiel, do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below. Also don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel and if you’re feeling generous feel free to donate to our Patreon, thanks for reading.