Even Villains Get a Fanbase

I did something this past three months that really has no good reasoning behind it after a while. I saw a gif set of two guys who were squishy, and seemingly lustful, and when I followed the tags on the set, got into the Zankie tag, and I was pleased. I thought it was real, and if you look at clips on youtube, you will believe it’s real. Took me a few weeks to realise it wasn’t the case.

Zach, and Frankie are contestant on the US Big Brother S16. They were very touchy feely, and sexual-like for most of the show; and they sold it very well when they were together. Their pairing managed to gain a very strong, near-rabid following for the usual reasons most men on TV are shipped by fans. They are white; one of them is gay, and the other is ambiguous at best, straight at most; and they are close. Unless it’s sterek, in which case, it’s only because they are white, and look like the kind of people the fans want together.

I bought what they were selling because what I got to see was edited by fans. When I went on daily motion and saw clips centreing on the pair. Then, I noted something off with the pairing. They were only into portraying their pairing as possibly romantic/lustful when they were together; but when they were apart, they couldn’t have cared less. Set aside the bad-mouthing, back-stabbing, completely unnecessary character assassinations; they couldn’t have cared. They flirted heavily with other people, and acted as if their time together didn’t happen. They gave off a vibe that they weren’t organically into each other in an eros manner. It didn’t take more than a week to figure out that they had probably set up the pairing since they are both net savvy, and probably know of how easily some of the US netizens can make a movement out of two men looking like them remotely sharing space, and saying things like “If I did, I would.”

It’s not the hardest thing in the world to see. US netizens have fetishized gay pairings so extensively, that people whose success hinges on public viewership will use it to extend their run as far as possible. Unfortunately for Zach, and Frankie, keeping up appearances 24/7 isn’t something amateurs can do easily. They should have taken some training beforehand, maybe had some sticky notes around the house to remind them about it. Maybe then they’d have sold a huge majority on their pairing being genuine. The most I give their partnership is a friendship; and a tentative one at that, cause if Zach, at most doesn’t get to know about the manipulation he faced from Frankie, or doesn’t care, then it goes far. If Frankie doesn’t care for the nasty things so-called friends of Zach’s have said about him, then it goes far. Either way, both of them leave the ‘reality’ TV show with a fanbase.

Zach has gotten a reputation amongst most fans of the show as a cool, cute, funny guy. These fans may recognise his shitty, abusive actions but they rarely take them into consideration enough. Zach has disparaged women for no good reason, accused a woman for refusing to acquiesce to a bigoted man’s whims when she made it clear she has no interest in said bigoted man, and lies. A lot of people say the lying is part of the game; however, it doesn’t excuse his behaviour. He’s shitty. He also has a great, inviting personality, for most people.

Frankie is a self-involved, attention-seeking, egoistical, boundary-crossing bigot. He says nasty things, attacks people’s characters for no good reason, and insists that he knows how things are, when he doesn’t. He rarely, if ever, takes responsibility for his actions, but certainly feels betrayed when others make moves against him. And he has stans.

Stans are fans on steroids.

Frankie has them in droves, and they are annoying as hell. They defend every bad thing he does, and says, and dwell on the few good things in between to such an extent that it wouldn’t be a long shot to imagine they would do well as publicists for the US government.

They prove that villains get a fanbase, and it doesn’t mean they are right; it means they are on one side.

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Thoughts

Teen Wolf had it’s season 4 finale this week, with some expected gun action, and growling-cum-roaring. It also had Derek, who’s been iffy all season, coming through as an evolved wolf. It also had a lot of Sterek fans in a tizzy because once again, their pairing wasn’t portrayed as true on the show. Sterek fans tryng to make fanon canon have been a bane of my Teen Wolf watching experience.

I hadn’t planned on watching Teen Wolf(TW) at all; because it started midst the Twilight Saga fever, and I had had enough of people being so into wolves in their fanfiction, and fiction all around that I didn’t care to watch a show about them. Despite not being a fan of the show, or watching it, I found that my social media profile feeds had information on the show. And most of that information centred on how Sterek was a one true pairing(otp) of the show. I saw so many posts explaining how Derek and Stiles made the perfect couple, and how the cast and crew was supportive of the pairing, and promoting it, and therefore implying it would be canon. Canon is an event that is true of the story.

As the years went by, and Sterek fans became more insistent that the pairing had to be canon, and threatening to boycott the show if they didn’t get their way; information countering Sterek showed up on my feeds. More, and more people refuted the claims that Sterek was canon, and maintained that it was fanon, that is, true in fandom, and its fans. They explained how Sterek fans were so quick to ignore the more plausible pairings of Scott, and either Stiles, or Derek; and how in rejecting any het pairing of either characters they were being misogynistic, and rude.

This year, I was bored, and I decided to watch the show. I kept in mind to look out for any indication of Sterek, cause despite the opposition, the fandom sells itself like a solid, cool community. I watched the series in a week; and not once dd I see this great love between Derek, and Stiles. And I felt had.

If there’s anything between Sterek, it’s Scott. The interactions of the characters are centred on Scott majority of the time. Anything in regards to Sterek is so negligible, you could blink and miss it. Personally, watched it all the way through, and saw not a thing endearing about them. Derek is disregarding of Stiles half of the time, and Stiles is disparaging of Derek majority of the time. And Stiles also asks Scott why they can’t let Derek die, because that’s how tired of Derek he is.

This season brought to focus the points of the anti-Sterek, and other opposition of the push to make a fanon pairing canon. The fandom has a loud, pervasive, significant number of members that are bigoted, and horribly misleading about other characters, and their endorsement of the relationship. When Stiles and Malia got together, they were complaints that they’d come together too quickly, and as such wouldn’t last. They disparaged, and slandered Braeden’s character when Derek first took care of her, and then kept insisting she would turn on him, and when they went sexual, they decided she was a villain and would harm Derek spectacularly. When none of that happened, they decided that Malia was abusive to Stiles, and Derek, and Braeden had broken up. The intensity with which they maintain that their pairing is canon, and should be is annoying in the least, destructive after perusing through a few posts.

The other side of Sterek’s fandom shouldn’t have to suffer the effects of the negative side, but unfortunately they do. I try to differentiate between the two, and not disparage the side that finds the aesthetics of the characters enough to ship them. Shipping is the pairing, or partnering of characters that have some sort of connection, or aesthetic that complement each other.

I see nothing of Derek and Stiles that’s ship-worthy in a sexual, or romantic manner, aside from the aesthetics that fit the generally pushed upon idea that the best of characterisations look white, adorable, dark-haired(in most cases), pleasant, and male. Good luck finding a lesbian pairing of two canonically het characters with little interaction, or friendly regard for one another with a huge backing a la Sterek. Not even Arthur and Merlin fans are so rabid. And at least John, and Sherlock have a running joke going on in the show. That side of Sterek is a disappointment.