Stiles Stilinski’s sexuality: Is Bisexuality a Dirty Word?
It happened again, someone said something that upset the Teen Wolf fandom. This is hardly shocking since mainstream media websites seemed to have decided that the more you piss off fandom the more hits you’re going to get. Dylan O’Brien might have sunk Sterek for good – it depends on who you ask – but that’s not even the most upsetting thing in the article. Despite the fact that the interview discusses Stiles sexuality it doesn’t once use the word bisexual, which is strange considering that a large part of the fandom believe that Stiles swings both ways.
First off I want to note that this interview was conducted by Andy Swift, who also conducted the interview with Tyler Posey that caused so much trouble a couple of weeks ago. It’s pretty clear that he is using Sterek to create controversy, which is annoying and definitely something that needs to stop but still not the worst part of this interview.
Dylan attempts to clarify Posey’s words and he does a reasonably good job saying: “I think he was more reacting to that idea, that we’re constantly asked about it. But it is a big thing, and we support it. We support everything the fans like, and however they love the show is how they love the show. We love that, and Tyler also feels that way, there’s no doubt about it.” It doesn’t change what Posey said but it does clarify that he was reacting more to the way the media discusses Sterek rather than the fans involvement with the ship, which is an important distinction.
The response to the Sterek question is not problematic. Dylan is reasonable, thoughtful to fans as well as being defensive of his friend. The real problem is what happens before it. Swift asks a few questions about Stiles love life – because no one is sick of hearing about that – which included the usual Stiles/Lydia question and a question about Stiles/Malia. (The Geekiary had A LOT of feelings about the Stiles/Malia hook up and none of them were good.) Swift then goes on to ask about a particular moment Stiles shares with bisexual Caitlin in “Illuminated”.
There was also that throwaway line earlier in 3B where Caitlin asks Stiles if he likes guys — and he pauses. Did that mean anything?
That was nothing, really. Stiles isn’t gay, and he knows that, but what I love about him is that he’s even open to reacting that way to a question. He doesn’t have to jump into a defensive thing; he’s just so honest. He’s clearly not gay — I’ve never thought the character was — but he also looks at people as people. He doesn’t associate gay and not gay, but he knows he likes girls. [Laughs] It definitely created a whole thing, though.
While there is a lot said here, it’s what’s not said that is the most intriguing. Not once does the interviewer or O’Brien use the word bisexual, which is weird because that’s what they’re talking about isn’t it? O’Brien is adamant that Stiles is NOT gay, but that wasn’t the question. We know he’s not gay – he was making out with a girl when the pause in question happened – but just because he likes girls doesn’t mean he can’t like boys as well. THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THAT CONVERSATION!
As much as I would like to put a positive spin on Dylan’s response, I don’t think that he was implying that Stiles is pansexual. I think he’s just a guy that doesn’t quite understand how sexuality works, which is exactly why we need more representation.
Look I don’t blame Dylan for what he said but I do hope someone explains what was wrong with it. I am just so upset about the whole situation. I mean how are we supposed to have a conversation about bisexuality if no one will say the word. It’s ridiculous. And makes it all the more disappointing because having a main character on a popular teen show come out as bisexual would have been A HUGE help in educating people about the spectrum of sexuality. But alas all we got was hints and teases until it was finally debunked in this interview.
Teen Wolf had the chance to do something amazing, and it didn’t. Not only that they teased and baited the fans who are really invested in the idea of seeing this kind of representation on the show. I really hope that people see how much Teen Wolf fans embrace the idea of a bisexual main character and they endeavour to include more representation in the future.
Don’t give up, keep shouting, because it matters.
Author: Undie Girl
Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.
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