Post by: A. J. Raven
I have been meaning to write this post for some time now. I actually wanted to write it after 3A of Teen Wolf finished airing but decided to wait for any more news that Jeff or the Teen Wolf team might release. During that time two conventions took place. One of them was the Wolf’s Bane Con (If i remember correctly) and the most recent one was the NYC Con. A lot of information was released during that one and another thing happened as well which kind of made some Sterek shippers quite uncomfortable. I myself felt used because of it.
What We Know About Sterek in 3B
The good news is that Teen Wolf will be coming for a Season 4 which has 12 episodes and Jeff has said that he might come back to the 24 episode format for season 5. The theme of 3B is Psychological Thriller and the tagline is ‘Lose Your Mind’. A sneak peek was released showing Stiles in a dreamlike sequence writing something about not opening the door when it’s closed. Anyway, 3B does looks quite interesting.
Coming back to Sterek (You all know the characters I’m talking about), there’s news that some fans were allowed to reenact some scenes from the script. One of those scenes had Stiles/Lydia in which Stiles told her to close the door and Lydia told her to go back to bed and that it wasn’t open. Now, this could either mean they were sleeping together, or have slept together and Stiles lost his virgin status which lots of fans think is the status Jeff hinted at him losing. I’m not surprised if Stiles Stilinski lost his virginity because of Lydia. I might not be comfortable with the idea, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually happened.
Derek Hale will be coming back and it was implied by Dylan O’Brien and Linden (Sheriff Stilinski) that he will be naked when they first see him. So, that’s good news for Sterek shippers as well other fans.
Dylan also said that his character might be dealing with the whole ‘I am weak and a liability’ thinking. He compared himself to what Mary Jane from SM thinks. He said that Stiles could be used to get to Scott or Derek or those guys. Yes, he said Stiles might be used to get to Derek. I would stop you all from screaming in joy but it wouldn’t work.
Stiles will be having a romantic interest who is going to be kept secret. Many fans think that it’s going to be Deputy Parrish because if it’s Lydia then it isn’t really a secret. Dylan also said that Stiles is happy to love Lydia from a distance and wants to see her happy. He also doesn’t have time for romance because of things he’s dealing with. Yes, everyone, let out a sigh of relief about hopefully not having to deal with a typical love triangle.
However, Jeff compared Stiles and Lydia to Mulder and Scully from X-Files and having a ‘will they or won’t they’ dynamic. As far as I’m concerned there was never a will they or won’t they dynamic between them. I’m not against Stiles having a female love interest but as far as he and Lydia are concerned, they have a wonderful base that could lead into a very strong friendship. I don’t know why ‘love’ has to be sexual in order to be considered love on a TV show.
So, was there any Sterek talk going on. Apparently not. People who were at the NYC Con saw Jeff pushing Stydia a lot. According to some, there was even a groan from the crowd when he mentioned them being a thing to look forward to in 3B. There was some Sterek talk at Wolf’s Bane and Tyler Hoechlin even said he wanted a scene he and Dylan worked on to be a part of the show. Fans also gave him a Sterek Book which he signed and even took to show to Dylan and probably the rest of the cast.
Jeff and Dylan remembered the Sterek Book when they signed it themselves. It’s all nice and sweet but the question remains. Is Teen Wolf is dangling on borderline queerbaiting whether it’s intentional or accidental.
The Tumblr Post
Though fans didn’t get anything Sterek, what they did get was kind of implied or they thought of it themselves, the thing that Teen Wolf’s official Tumblr did was what caused them to feel uncomfortable especially after being served a large dose of Styida and other pairings except Sterek at the Con.
About a week ago the show’s official Tumblr made a post asking fans to vote for the show for the cover of TV Guide. Fans voted and even reblogged it etc. The post promised a gift if they won, like an outtake or anything the fans wanted to see. It was a general post addressed to the fans. So, what happened? It got noticed but not enough.
And then TW Tumblr directly asked the Sterek fans. They literally created a new post that had some gifs of Dylan and Tyler being drunk during the boat video they did last year. The promise was that the team might just give the footage to the fans if they voted and won. The post got more than 15k reblogs in a week. That’s a lot compared to the 1000+ the first post got. Fans were excited to know that there was still footage from the ship they could see.
However, some of the fans weren’t happy. They looked at it as a sort of a bribery. I mean, Sterek shippers actually created themselves and got themselves noticed. It was a fandom no one was expecting to be born. They kept shipping and got noticed by Jeff and the rest and they still have to deal with a lot of hate from anti-Sterek shippers or anyone who isn’t a fan of the pairing and think such fans are delusional. It makes sense that these fans felt ‘used’ after what the Tumblr post did. For them it was like: You can brush off Sterek questions at Cons or interviews, get hints and information about other relationships, keep Sterek under the rug and limited to fan-fiction but when it comes to winning stuff, the TW team directly appeals to them.
A lot of fans weren’t happy that they were being bribed with some seconds of footage from a video that was filmed a year ago. These fans would’ve been happy if the team offered them something better, something concrete. Maybe a confirmation that Stiles was indeed bisexual?
Jeff has hinted at it and that’s what I feel is wrong. It’s been three seasons now and all we’ve got are hints. You can hint at a lot of things but it doesn’t come close to things that have been actually confirmed. Shippers will take the hints and run with them: Stiles is bisexual, Jeff hinted at it, didn’t you see how he acts in the show around boys?
However, people who don’t ship Sterek or think otherwise don’t pay attention to hints: He’s been love with Lydia for years, he thinks Erica is hot, the question he asked Danny was for comedic effect, he kissed Lydia!
It not their fault they think like that. Nothing has been actually confirmed and these fans are saying what they’ve actually seen on the show. Yes, Sterek shippers get a lot of heat from such fans and they are still waiting for some kind of confirmation. Any kind of confirmation!
Teen Wolf might not want to be queerbaiting it’s fans but it’s been feeling like that for a long time. The cast accepts questions concerning Sterek and they even joke about it but when the show airs the only signs of Sterek are interactions between Stiles and Derek that non-shippers don’t pay attention to. What they do pay attention to is Derek sleeping with a woman and Stiles kissing his girl crush.
But when the TW team wants to win something, they bring out the Sterek flag. They will make fun videos starring Dylan and Tyler (the TV Guide boat video) and then offer a gift of outtakes if they won and then what? We all go back to shipping Sterek on Tumblr, fan fiction and hoping something…anything happens in the show. How long do you suppose they expect the fans to wait? If they are showing a slow-build Sterek (which a lot of fans think is happening on the show) don’t you feel that’s it’s high time the fans get a confirmation?!
Fans can get the whole ‘will they or won’t they’ speech when it’s talk about Stydia or some other ship but nothing of the sorts is said when it’s Sterek’s turn. Some fans say that Jeff will surprise fans by giving us Sterek at the end of the season. Okay, fine, I agree but why doesn’t he say anything like that? He can hint that Melissa and the Sheriff will take their relationship in a new direction. He can talk about love-triangles but he can’t say anything about Sterek? He did say they will be allies in 3A and we all saw that but there have been no more information for 3B especially not a romantic pairing kind.
Yes, a life of a shipper does mean that there’s no guarantee a ship will ever become canon. A lot of fans have accepted that. What they don’t like is being ‘used’ for promoting the show. Interviews on other websites will talk about how much fans are dying to ask the questions about when Stiles and Lydia will be together (I don’t know where they get their information from and who is actually dying) but why won’t they ask about Sterek? Why does the TW team have to directly appeal to the Sterek fandom if they want some help to win something? And what do the shippers get? A year old outtake from a video, if I remember correctly the team said didn’t even exist. So, where did the video magically come from?
What have you got to say about a show that uses a slash pairing in order to promote itself? Why does the show wave the Sterek flag whenever they want the fans to do something? Sterek shippers might help them because they love the characters and the actors but it’s not fair that they don’t get anything in return. The show can’t just keep giving M/F relationships every season and only give the M/M (Sterek) pairing for promotional purposes. I don’t know if it falls under the queerbaiting title but I feel that it’s related to it. Jeff and the show’s team might not want to be called as ‘queerbaiting’ the fandom but the antics that they have done, especially the Sterek outtake promise, does make it feel like such.
Yes, Jeff never promised Sterek to it’s fans but is it really a good thing to not give the fans anything, a simple confirmation about Derek’s or even Stiles bisexuality, if he or the team wants to use Sterek to promote itself?
I feel that the Sterek shippers should be more vocal if something like this happens again. They can’t continue to be used for promotional means and get nothing in return, a few Sterek scenes that can be perceived differently by a lot of people and hinting at things, doesn’t really count.
You can follow the writer of this post on the Twitter handle: @tempest071990