I just had the good (maybe) fortune to witness an INTERNET ARGUMENT!!!! about why Supernatural is apparently more damaging and sexist than Twilight.
Exhibit A: Internet argument.
Now, I have my issues with Twilight (YES, KATE, WE KNOW say the readers) and my issues with Supernatural, as much as I love the show and my boys. But the two series are not really comparable. They may both be paranormal stories aimed at a teenage audience, but the most important thing is the way the characters are presented to the (mostly teenage female) audience.
Exhibit B: Dean Winchester
I will not deny that Dean Winchester is a sexist pig who doesn’t know the first thing about respecting women. He continually refers to the female characters as bitches, whores, and sluts; he’s not there for his romantic interests (the love ‘em and leave ‘em type) and he makes fun of his brother’s emotional side by making sexist comments. If I knew Dean in real life, I would knee him in the balls the moment he opened his mouth.
However. Dean is also a very flawed young man. (You would be, too, if you spent your childhood killing demons with your father.) And he’s portrayed as such. When is it ever implied that Dean is an entirely good person, a healthy partner in his relationships? It doesn’t excuse the things he says, but I think we can all agree that Dean was never meant to be a role model or be the perfect boyfriend.
Which brings us to:
Exhibit C: Edward Cullen (+ hanger-on)
Edward Cullen. Here is what girls have to say about Edward Cullen:
“He makes sure you know that you are all he thinks about and that he would find some way to die once you were gone”
“I think all guys should read the books and maybe even watch the movies and should strive to be like him, the books should be like a dating bible.”
“if one realizes that Edward is an immortal being who has fallen in love with the clumsiest most accident prone person in the universe, then I think his behaviour would be justified and then some”
You know why none of the fans will admit that Edward has abusive tendencies? Because Stephanie Meyers presents him to us, the readers, as THE PERFECT BOYFRIEND. Caring, totally obsessed with a girl, and protective of her to the point where he will do whatever it takes to keep her.
You know what that sounds like? An abusive relationship. Oh, he only keeps her from seeing her friends and RIPS THE ENGINE OUT OF HER CAR because he loves her and he’s jealous! Yeah, I’ve heard that before. “He only hurts me and controls me because he loves me. He knows what’s best.” Jealousy taken to that level is not cute or romantic: plain and simple, it’s a control tactic used to hold power over Bella.
Not once, not once in the series does the author address the fact that Edward and Bella’s relationship is controlling and semi-abusive, and not ideal at all. Barely any of the fans of the series share this opinion. To S. Meyers and her readers, Edward Cullen is the perfect man.
And this is where Dean and Edward differ – in presentation. It’s one thing to write a character with problematic views purposefully and demonstrate these problems in the series, and quite another to pretend the character has no flaws and can do no wrong. Supernatural may be sexist, but at least some of it, and practically all of Dean’s character, is on purpose. Twilight doesn’t show or comment on the blatant sexism, and it almost seems that Stephanie Meyer doesn’t even know the implications of what she’s writing.
In conclusion: the Winchester boys need to stake Glitter-boy through the heart, and fast, before any girls end up hurt because they’re just looking for their own jealous, controlling Edward.
And Dean needs to take Womens’ Studies.