Twin Personae: Teen Wolf, Sexuality and Split Identity

Something I’ve been meaning to write about are the twins on Teen Wolf.

So, meet Ethan and Aiden:

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These guys are amazing additions to the Teen Wolf pack in season 3. Season 3a saw them more as enemies, whilst season 3b saw them more as companions for Scott and the gang. Back story aside, these guys are interesting for several reasons, and the primary reason to focus largely upon is their portrayal of split sexuality, bi-erasure and their ability to conjoin.

First you have the gay twin Ethan who has been coupled with the only other gay guy on the show Danny:

 

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Meanwhile you have his straight counterpart Aiden and his coupled partner Lydia:

 

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And then you have the powerful combination of Aiden and Ethan united:

 

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When they combine, they literally punch through one another’s bodies and pull themselves together to form one super Werewolf. They are definitely a force to be reckoned with in this show.

But interestingly, this transformation or morphing into one super werewolf provides a different insight into bisexuality. Considering the blatant focus on sexuality within the show’s narrative and its parent company MTV, these twins represent something far more queer than their overt hetero- and homonormativity would suggest. It is as if the bisexual yin-yang, in order to operate sufficiently, must remain separate and active at all times.

Their constant sexualisation through the camera’s oft focus upon their semi nude bodies suggests they are sex symbols; that they are there for visual pleasure a la Laura Mulvey (1973); but, they also represent something newer and less represented in the contemporary mediated form: the male bisexual.

There is a whole host of academic literature surrounding the notion of bi-erasure, which, in simple terms, suggests that bisexuality merely does not exist. It is uniquely a transitory phase towards homosexuality or a return to heterosexuality. Additionally, it suggests that bisexuality is merely experimental in nature and helps one self-identify as rather gay or straight and nothing in between.

I think what MTV and Teen Wolf have done is extremely fascinating and progressive should you read Ethan and Aiden as two parts of a single whole. Their transformation then suggests that bisexuality is something that, when looked upon from an outsider’s perspective is both monstrous and unlikely (thus the only time they combine is when they have already transformed into a werewolf and further morph into a super werewolf). It is something only supernatural transmogrification can permit and not something modern, natural society accepts; thus, we have a great dichotomy between the supernatural world and the normal world in Teen Wolf, and that is why it does remain that way. Moreover, upon de-transforming, the twins separate into their own disparate selves and [accepted] sexual identities. That is further when they become symbols of sexiness and powerfully lust-inducing figures.

My final observation of their symbolic status can only be explained through an immense spoiler. So, my warning to you, is that if you haven’t seen the finale for Season 3, and you intend to watch it soon, please do not read the next paragraph. This is your ending here. Take away what you will from my bisexuality observation of Ethan and Aiden and question the manner in which these two characters live in tandem with one another (they can even feel the other’s physical pain!).

As for those that will not have the following information spoiled, what I find extremely intriguing is that the straight half (Aiden) dies. Why I find this extremely telling is that, the old saying about bisexuals is that bi women end up with men and bi men end up with men. That maxim (for want of another word) is one that was also taken from the fabulous MTV soap opera Undressed. If that is the most common claim about bisexual men, then it only makes sense to read Aiden and Ethan as such and that the straight half must die upon entering into a relationship with a male partner. Now, this may be pure speculation, but, in terms of bisexuality, I would argue that the same-sex attraction would never leave even during an opposite-sex relationship; however, I would not argue the same for the opposite situation. But like I said, I may be perpetuating a negative stereotype or may have a completely skewed understanding of bisexuality, but it might be 100 percent accurate or hogwash for that matter.

 

Anyhow, if you have any comments or suggestions, please do so!

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Westboro Baptist Church or the Argent Family

So I’ve just finished watching the first episode of Teen Wolf season 2. It was intriguing for several reasons. But as the narrative in popular discourses suggest, there is a battle enraging throughout the West, and particularly within the United States, about how the LGBTQ community and the non-allied religious groups can/should coexist. What was striking particularly about this episode was the introduction of Gerard, the ostensible Patriarch of the Argent family:

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This is a photo of Gerard and his son Chris Argent, AKA Allison’s father.

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And here’s a picture of Fred Phelps, reverend and founder of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Whilst I may be uncovering a tenuous metaphor or allegory between the WBC and the Argent Family, it is an interesting parallel to note. I’m not going to use this as a forum to bash the WBC and Fred Phelps, particularly under the present circumstances regarding his encroaching demise (click on Fred Phelps picture to read the article about his impending death), I will say that if this link is true post episode 201, then the werewolf serves an intriguing purpose. Their narrative world revolves around the binary of normal vs. werewolf, much the same as the WBC has dichotomised normal versus queer; the former being the notion of right and good versus the latter being evil and kill-worthy. Consequently, these binaries leave a lot of room for grey area, which is particularly interesting in regards to the numerous soldiers’ funerals the WBC have protested in front of and in terms of the show, those characters who accept into society the werewolf (see Stiles and Scott’s friendship, which also parallels the friendship and acceptance between Danny and Jackson).

I look forward to unearthing more parallels between LGBT identity and representation through the use of the werewolf on this show.

 

Teen Wolf: Understanding a looney Phenomenon

So my new venture in the world of television is Teen Wolf (2011). It was suggested to me as a potentially addicting and worthy show and that I should catch up on it, considering most of my mediated existence revolves around horror themed texts. Fair enough. I am giving it a shot.

My overall impressions thus far are as follows:

  • Teen Wolf revolves around this:

 Scott Shirtless

  • It also revolves around this:

Derek Hale Shirtless

  • It revolves nothing around this:

Michael J Fox Original Teen Wolf

To sum up my initial reactions and understandings of its immense success bolstered from the original: shirtless men versus a campy notion of 80s werewolves.

Of course, my initial reactions have not been totally superseded. The show still revolves heavily around moments where they can get the main men to take their shirts off. Not to mention that they consistently discuss sexual relations once every, oh, seven minutes, give or take. Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to do either of these things. Where would True Blood (2008) be without its intense sex scenes of all varieties? Or where would American Horror Story: Murder House, Asylum, or Coven (2011, 2012, 2013) be without their blatancy towards confronting our notion of traditional sexualities? What I am saying, however, is that, when you base an entire show around the idea of men taking their shirts off, flaunting teen sex and/or homosexuality, then you have to have some substance. 

Now, I know that I will possibly upset the Teen Wolf fandom here by saying that there is very little substance to this fledgling television series, but I would think that most agree the acting is atrocious, plot elements laughable and character development lamentable. This, however, does not make it worthy of my time or anyone else’s for that matter. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. For me, the charm of this lies in these exact camp features: the so bad that it’s so good nature of the programme. It’s not my favourite thing to watch by any means, but I definitely enjoy this current iteration of the high school werewolf and it’s a far cry from the depiction in The Vampire Diaries (2009).

But, I will say this, the show surprises me and I still have 36 more episodes to go until I’m fully caught up with the current airing schedule. There were moments where I felt that, wait, I didn’t want that character to die even though I really should hate them. Also, I know that you aren’t supposed to like specific characters, but I really, really do like those ones that you are supposed to hate. Ironically, they are the ones who have better back stories and should feature more heavily, rather than peripherally (Here’s looking at you Jackson!). And, sad to say, but I’m becoming, slowly, a questioning devotee to the Sterek (Stiles and Derek) ship-dom.

Sterek

(For your viewing pleasure.)

When I have finished Season 2, I will blog my further reactions and possible craziness about the Sterek shipping. We shall see. I shall see.

Goodnight, Good luck.

P.S. – All of the photos link back to their original sources, from whence I kindly lifted them.