On engaging media fandom: Teen Wolf, LGBT Representation, and PR

I want to comment on an article I read about engaging with the Teen Wolf fandom in a healthy way. There has been some uproar about the way the show is addressing the LGBT characters on the show and treating the slash ships in the fandom.

The original article can be found here

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I loved the tongue in cheek video acknowledging the Sterek Ship. The article cites this as the beginning of the end of social interactions with fans because it is queer baiting. I think it was good of Teen Wolf to acknowledge the ship and bad on the fans for thinking that their fantasies count as activism. Ultimately fans watch shows because they like the stories they are being told. Fans write fan-fiction to fill in the voids the stories leave open for us. Most slash will never become canon. Fans, get over it.

Slash shipping is not the same thing as progressing the LGBT cause.

The inverse is true for the #killdanny. LGBT representation on television is progressing the LGBT cause and threatening to kill off a gay character for the sake of publicity is distasteful.

Advocating for representation is always political. That being said, it is up to the writers to take us where the story needs to go, be that killing off characters or letting them live, but narrative television probably won’t benefit from a “fan vote” in the writers room.

Audiences tastes change as to political climates, but most of the best stories are told to us, not crowd-sourced. Imagine if Joss Whedon let our favorite characters live? Would the stories be the same?

Issues of representation need to be sorted out in the writers room. If you are unhappy with a show’s hegemonic narratives, then there are better ways to advocate for representation than getting attached to character pairings that are not going to happen.  Write letters to the writers, or to the network. Write opinion pieces online. Make more politically oriented GIFs and videos that highlight the issues of representation.

Be activists in the real world or online, but don’t think that shipping without other actions counts and don’t solely blame PR for what a writer’s room is responsible for.

The article points out that Teen Wolf social media is great when the show is going well, but their response to criticism, especially from their fans, is rough at best. Perhaps it is time for voices to emerge online that tackle the issues that the fans are bringing up.

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