All of us have that fandom where we have read almost every pairing. For me, it’s Harry Potter. I spent so much time in that fandom that I feel I’ve read pretty much every pairing possible. But I haven’t been deeply involved in the Harry Potter fandom in a while, and nature abhors a vacuum. So of course I founda new fandom to delve into, and that was Teen Wolf. I have been reading so many different pairings in the Teen Wolf fandom, and like with Harry Potter, I have found some real gems.
One fanfic in particular that I loved focused onChris Argent/Peter Hale: a relatively popular pairing that I was just never very interested in until recently, when I found a fic which had a plot that intrigued me. The Exchange is a medieval fantasy AU in which Chris Argent asks the Hales to fulfill a treaty that would provide him with a bride. However, the Hales send Peter when they were meant to send Talia, causing lots of conflict for not only Peter, but also Chris and his entire kingdom.
It’s no secret at this point that I enjoy the kinkier side of things. BDSM has always been something that has interested me because there is something especially enjoyable about the power dynamics. And I enjoy seeing those dynamics in the fanfiction that I read, even when the fanfiction itself isn’t strictly BDSM.
There can be issues with power dynamics, of course; for example, most romance novels have some kindof power dynamics between the couple. Usually, the male holds a good portion of the power. This doesn’t necessarily mean the female love interest is docile in any way, although it is often the case in some novels. It’s been my experience that fandom likes when the less physically and/or sociallypowerful person is strong willed and intelligent and doesn’t take any crap from their more powerful counterpart. However, they usually still ultimately need their more powerful love interest. Even classics like Pride and Prejudice share this dynamic. Elizabeth doesn’t take Darcy’s shit, but ultimately he has more power in society than her, and it’s only with his help that Elizabeth’s family is able to escape a scandal that would have ruined them forever. The problem with these dynamics is that in mainstream pop culture, we largely see women in the less powerful role. And even in fanfiction, which usually focuses on queer relationships, the power dynamics still come off as heteronormative at times.
I suppose that one of the things that drew me to BDSM is that those power dynamics are out in the open and negotiated before the relationship begins. Rather than deal with societal understandings of who should be the dominant partner (men) and who should be the submissive (women), BDSM allows people to discuss what frankly all couples, whether kinky or vanilla, should be doing anyway. Since BDSM isn’t considered a quote-unquote “normal” part of society, there are fewer preconceived notions of how a relationship should be. But what if BDSM was the norm? Fanfiction often has a lot of alternate universes that I enjoy, but none moreso than AUs where BDSM is the norm. However, they bring with them a lot of interesting and problematic issues.
Here at LGG&F we like our romance with a side of geek, and this year we are bringing you a ship list to make any fangirl swoon! Yep, it’s Valentine’s Day, that sickeningly sweet holiday when our authors nominate and then vote on ships for our Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon) list. Many were nominated, but only a select few made the cut.
So, this is the season premiere of Teen Wolf… or is it the midseason premiere? I’m gonna be honest: the long hiatuses in between Teen Wolf are really starting to confuse me. I literally thought that I was going to be watching the Season 6 premiere, but whatever. Anyway, this apparent start to the second half of Teen Wolf‘s fifth season was just kind of meh. I’m not as enthused about Teen Wolf anymore, and neither are many of the other writers here, which is why we won’t be reviewing every episode this season. And I really don’t know what to say about this episode, because other than a few stand-out moments this was really just a lot more of the same for Teen Wolf—and not in a good way.
Spoilers, and a trigger warning for continued mentions of rape and sexual harassment, after the jump.
I often notice a disturbing trend among fans when it comes female characters and male characters. I mean when you think about it there are a lot of disturbing trends, really, but the thing that bothers me in particular is when fans hate on a female character for something they love about a male character. And sometimes fans seem to just ignore a flaw that a male character has, but then they crucify a female character for having that same flaw. It’s incredibly aggravating to me to watch this constantly play out again and again. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a look at some examples.
Being just that sort of person who reads feminist critique for fun, I devoted part of my poolside reading while on vacation last week to Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, a collection of essays about the author’s struggles with the label of feminism and why she claims it nonetheless. One of these essays touched on Gay’s near-fanatical love of the Hunger Games series; in it, she pointed out how downright laughable it was that, in a trilogy where children are brutally murdering each other, it’s apparently not okay to show anything but kissing. This got me to thinking: when is it good to go a little further, as it were, in media portraying teenagers or aimed at teenagers in regards to sex, and when is it weird or wrong?
We have talked about the poorworldbuildingin Teen Wolfbefore, but this problem really takes the cake. Recently on Tumblr I saw a transcription one fan did at a Teen Wolf convention called Wolfsbane 3, during a panel featuring Ian Bohen, who plays Peter Hale. I’m not always the biggest fan of Peter, but Ian Bohen tends to be hilarious. And his opinions on Peter often make the character seem more interesting than he actually is on the show. But it was one comment Bohen apparently made about Alphas that really threw me for a loop. Basically he pointed out that Laura Hale, Derek’s sister and Peter’s niece, who is killed by Peter at the beginning of Season 1, might have killed her mother, Talia Hale, in order to become Alpha. Since she isn’t a True Alpha like Scott, she would have had to have killed Talia, or at least some other random Alpha.
pic via neurowolf Seriously Ian Bohen is hilarious!
Because I can’t find the actual video of this panel, I am uncertain if Ian Bohen actually said this. But whether or not he did, on closer reflection I realized this has to be correct. In meta and fanfiction, the Teen Wolf fandom has always explained Laura becoming an Alpha as a hereditary thing. Talia died, and her eldest child, Laura, inherited her alpha powers. However, Bohen’s comment made me realize that this fandom theory has never been confirmed in Teen Wolf canon. You either can be a True Alpha, which is so rare in the show that most Teen Wolf characters didn’t think it was possible until Scott became one, or you kill another Alpha to take their powers. The show constantly tells us that lone werewolves and packs without an Alpha are not likely to survive. This would mean a whole society that is based on murdering your successor in order to keep a pack going and if most werewolf packs are like the Hales, then that would mean that they would comprise mostly of family members. So if you wanna be Alpha, then you have to kill grandma. …Suddenly everything in Teen Wolf gets a lot darker and more uncomfortable. It also sets up several issues in the storytelling, particularly in regards to which characters we are supposed to view as villains.