Stiles Stilinski’s sexuality: Is Bisexuality a Dirty Word?

TW1

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.

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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!

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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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About the author

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.

Comments

  1. Thank you! I’m not really mad at Dylan O’Brien, but I definitely think he’s not educated on how biphobic his language is. I think he’s a great guy, but implying that “liking girls” means you can’t like guys and insinuating that he’s “not gay” and therefore must be straight is hugely problematic and has a large amount of bierasure. I like girls, but I also like guys. I’m not gay, but I’m not straight either. But I’m real. I exist. And language like this is incredibly frustrating.

  2. So basically jeff was queer baiting us with that scene or Dylan doesn’t know that stiles is bisexual, either way I feel used and I’m not giving this show my view.

  3. not using the word ‘bisexual’ is what threw me off…i mean, does Dylan really doesn’t know that bisexuality exist and i think a lot of the Sterek fandom (and maybe other ships) are fine with bi!Stiles and have been thinking that cos the scenes in the show so far…so bringing Catilyn back was just for laughs? I knew a lot of people, even me, were thinking there was a ‘bigger’ reason she came back for just that scene…sigh…good that Dylan came clean…don’t know about the show itself though cos they put in a Derek/Stiles dream sequence and i know they definitely knew Sterek shippers would lap that up

  4. Oh my folks…what a disappointment this TW’s supposedly *highly innovative treatment* has been!! I feel like when you have a crush for that boy you think might wink at you but hey, you know what? hello it was all a fantasy in your little mind.

    Basically this is what this fantastic modern approach has been for us fans, compared instead to what (not even that secretly) had been was TW kept promising us…Let’s do this effort guys, let’s just walk this extra mile or vote for that nth poll & you’ll have this fantabulous updated free-homophobia Fantasilandia, except that it was a fake queerbating, as usual.

    Yep I agree with the comments before mine then, if they can’t even spell the word or envision it, I’m really given up this time. Essentially this isn’t different from any other mainstream show then, that just wink to slash fans for promotion: anyway folks aren’t stupid enough I guess to bait eternally knowing that it won’t happen, & they will lose the major part of their audience too.

    Sorry if I’m bitter now but I was deluded that this time would have been another story, plus knowing Jeff was gay etc…Moreover I’m aknowledging that due to the too many plots’ holes & random killings & so on the SL itself could be entertaining but it’s far from perfect, & with all these new roles in s4 replacing the old it seems it’ll be a sort of déjà-vu that we didn’t need frankly instead of going deep with the classic cast & plots (& now I bet that we won’t have another performance from Dylan to fill in that void, so to speak).

    Overall what might have been *new* won’t be & the show therefore isn’t that special compared to its other competitors in the supernatural field, so I don’t know if I care to continue with it at this point; what a shame but c’est la vie I know, however big hug to the nice Sterek family, at least they can’t steal it from us! <3

  5. I think the worst thing about this is that Jeff Davis, the show runner, has said more than once in interviews that the show has hinted at Stiles *bisexuality*. The show runner has said this and yet O’brien shrugged it off, even used the words “that was nothing”. It’s not nothing to the millions of young men and women who are struggling to find understanding, representation, acceptance in their sexuality, but are so often met with bigotry or this kind of nonchalant attitude. I don’t think O’brien or Posey are homophobic, but they’re definitely talking from a straight man perspective – of course it’s “nothing” to them. This isn’t an issue they’ve ever had to face. I’ve never felt so belittled by a show before and the sad thing is, the reason it’s hit be so hard and so personally is because it gave me hope that it would be different. But it’s not. And while it’s not terrible, to raise hopes that way and dash them like this is almost worse.

    1. You’re absolutely right, as said before it’s this fact that Jeff often promoted how good was his LGBTQ representation for making his show *cooler* over substance that hurts the most (in the end practically a bunch of scenes off-screen with Danny/Ethan, uber minor roles, & some not so effing funny jokes about trans?), he should have been more sensitive to the theme but other het bosses have done better than him…or hell just let’s be honest & tell the truth (like Hannibal’s showrunner who told fans “thanks but no, your slash pairing isn’t my project, sorry”, & people respected his artistic freedom), because done like it’s done here it’s been plain cruel.

      Canon matters, even if the boss promises the moon but not deliver with actions, at least for me it doesn’t count because only what we watch on screen will remain, all the rest it’s basically fanfiction, & not different from tons of other mainstream series…same old same old.
      Moreover overall the show itself as quality isn’t stellar, & I bet that putting these 2 concepts together will make more people fed up with it before long thus TPTB will suffer some consequence for their actions (& replacing characters instead of developing the old ones will make their impact less powerful IMHO too, or taking advantage of dysfunctional relationships as Stalia will colour them badly compared to their start).

      PS_Another thing that pissed me off has been that neither Posey nor O’Brien said sorry to the fans for their words, no, Dylan even tried to defend the usual bad answers given by his friend…I’m speechless, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that the majority of the fandom wanted to know a little about Sterek too, since practically they were never together on screen, & then in the end all the fuzz for nothing, we take the blame & are good only for the numbers & polls, we are the ones that should not be named.

      …Well you know what? ok I get it now & I’m out of this! If there’s 1 thing that I’m grateful for is that they’ve open my eyes at last, silly me & Others who read too much into too stupid lines apparently. (Sorry for the rant but from now on I won’t trust a show again if they don’t say it openly & show me something). xo

      1. Catching up on TW news and saw your remark about Hannibal. Sadly, Bryan Fuller admitted at the beginning of June in a DigialSpy interview that he purposely baited certain members of the audience with sexual undertones between Hannibal and Will. So, he hasn’t been telling the truth either. It wasn’t just artistic freedom. He literally called it a “naughty wink.” 🙁

  6. Thanks for writing this. Dylan shooting down Sterek I can take (I don’t like that he did that but it’s not unexpected) complete bi-erasure of Stiles is another issue entirely. If Stiles isn’t bisexual DON’T put the possibility out there repeatedly that he is bisexual. Teen Wolf is definitely not living up to any of it’s early potential and with so many issues the fandom taking a huge hit.

  7. I read Dylan’s response totally differently than everyone else. Dylan’s done some dancing around questions in the past that would’ve given something away about the show, and his answer here read like that to me. Like maybe he has discussed it with Jeff (because I get the feeling that Jeff and Dylan talk about Stiles a lot, and since Jeff has thought of bisexuality as a possibility for Stiles I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t have discussed it) and thinks he shouldn’t confirm or deny it based on those conversations. I highly doubt Dylan doesn’t get bisexuality – it’s explored on his show, for one – and making a point to say Stiles sees people as people seems, to me, like he reaffirming what we’ve always thought about Stiles’ fluidity in his own, non-spoiler, PC way.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  8. Jeff stated in a more recent interview that there will be more teasers on stiles’ sexuality in season 4 and also made mention of sterek teasers, sorry but i’m still believing that stiles is bi

    1. I really hope that it will be more than “teasers.” There’s a rumor that 4×03 will clear up a lot. Fingers crossed.

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