An Open Letter to TV Execs and Powers that Be

Dear Sera Gamble and everyone else involved with the writing process of Supernatural, in particular Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin:

Dear Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Hollywood:

Meet Jane. She’s a white USAian, late thirties, cisgender, lesbian, with a master’s degree. She writes fanfiction about fictional characters. In Jane’s case, it’s mostly Sam Winchester/Dean Winchester. This does not make Jane one of the people who calls Genevieve Cortese Padalecki insulting names on the Internet.

Meet Bree. She’s a mixed-race USAian, early twenties, cisgender, bisexual, in college. She writes fanfiction about fictional characters. In Bree’s case, it’s mostly Dean Winchester/Castiel. This does not make Bree one of the people who harasses Danneel Harris Ackles on Twitter.

Meet Claudia. She’s a black Brit, late forties, cisgender, lesbian, college-educated. She writes fanfiction about fictional characters. In Claudia’s case, it’s about assorted characters from assorted canons, and entirely without pairings and porn. Claudia has never sent items of a personal nature to the Supernatural actors or their families.

Meet Alena. She’s a white German, early forties, cisgender, straight, college-educated. She writes fanfiction about nominally real people. In Alena’s case, it’s mostly Jared Padalecki/Jensen Ackles. I can see how you might get confused with Alena, because the canon she’s using as a basis for her fanfiction is real people’s lives, but RPF is on firmer legal ground than FPF so suck it up. Alena has never met the Supernatural actors except at cons, where she certainly did not physically assault them.

Meet Joanie. She’s a white USAian, genderqueer, bisexual. She’s polyfannish, but what she keeps coming back to is Supernatural and CWRPF. Het, thank you very much, and canon het at that: Sam Winchester/Jessica Moore, Dean Winchester/original female characters, Jared Padalecki/Genevieve Cortese Padalecki, Jensen Ackles/Danneel Harris Ackles. I can again see where you get the creep vibe off Joanie, but Joanie is not someone who stalks Supernatural actors or their spouses.

Meet Miriam. She’s a cisgender asexual Jewish USAian, late twenties, with an associate’s degree. She’s that rare bird, a femslash writer. Jessica Moore/Jo Harvelle, Danneel Harris/Adrianne Palicki, you name it she’s probably written it. Know what this doesn’t make her? Someone who might commit rape.

Meet Becky Rosen. Judging by her appearances onscreen, she’s straight, cisgender, USAian, late twenties, possibly Jewish, possibly with some college education. She has stalked, drugged, and entrapped the object of her fannish affection. He’s lucky she didn’t rape him.

Becky Rosen is the only Western-media example of a fanficcer that I or anyone I know can think of. Certainly the only known Western-media example of a slash fan.

Is that really how you see us? Not as Jane, Bree, Claudia, Alena, Joanie, or Miriam, but as Becky? The people most dedicated to your work are creepy stalkers? The people who make a point of buying from companies that advertise during Supernatural are potential rapists? The people most dedicated to supporting Supernatural and shows like it are the people you least want watching?

This isn’t right. We, your passionate fans, are by and large Jane or Bree or Claudia or Alena or Joanie or Miriam, not Becky. Please introduce characters who reflect this.

Yes, yes, I know, Demian and Barnes. The trouble is, they’re LARPers, not fanficcers, and they’re male. You’re interested in male fans, because male fans have money. Well, here’s news for you: female fans have money too, and dedicated female fans outnumber dedicated male fans no matter how you slice it.

I’ve seen several women, formerly dedicated fans of Supernatural, say they’re done with the show after “Season Seven: Time for a Wedding”. Your depiction of dedicated female fans is driving away the viewers you most want to keep.

Stop it. Do right by your viewership. Introduce female fans, fanficcers, slash fans, who aren’t portrayed as creepy stalkers or potential rapists or otherwise people you don’t want anywhere near your show. Introduce Jane or Bree or Claudia or Alena or Joanie or Miriam. Don’t bring back Becky.

Thank you,

An average fan named Elizabeth, and assorted average fans who comment to sign this letter

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15 comments for “An Open Letter to TV Execs and Powers that Be

  1. Kris
    November 20, 2011 at 00:57

    Very nicely put. Not every “Supernatural” fan, or fanfic writer, is the out-of-control crazy that Becky is. Most of us are very sensible, intelligent people.

  2. cindy
    November 20, 2011 at 01:43

    Thank you for this article. I’ve also run across comments from previously hardcore fans, saying that they’ve now quit the show. And judging from the dramatic dip in the ratings this week, it might have been more than just a few. I can’t say I blame them- it’s hard to feel loyal to a show whose writers apparently see fans as pathetic, ugly, and crazy. Even if it wasn’t meant to reflect the entire fandom, whatever was Sera thinking in greenlighting an potentially offensive episode? I’m really stumped by that one.

  3. Sue Ashworth
    November 20, 2011 at 02:14

    Meet Sue, white, heterosexual expat Brit living in Vancouver, Canada. Never yet abducted, stalked, raped or roofied either Jensen or Jared, although she has been known to write stories about them – among other actors and/or characters. One of my best friends was so insulted by “Time for a Wedding” that she is now done with the show. I seriously thought about it, because if this is how the people who produce the show I love see me as this pathetic lampoon of a real person, then I am horrified. I’m still considering it, although I’m not quite ready to let Supernatural go yet. Please set this right, or maybe acknowledge that this went too far.

  4. Isabeau
    November 20, 2011 at 03:02

    This, yes. So much this.

    I used to be an avid Supernatural fan. The on-screen portrayal of fans (by which I mean Becky) was painful at best, and has become one of the biggest reasons why I now actively avoid the show and anything officially associated with it. Good job, PTB.

  5. Jay
    November 20, 2011 at 08:25

    You have got to be kidding me.

    I say this with as much respect as I can muster, but please stop watching this show. We’ll all be much happier. You’ll be much happier. And I’ll be much happier not having to listen to you talk about it.

  6. November 20, 2011 at 13:07

    So Jay, are you here to defend Becky-as-a-representation-of-female-and/or-slash-fandom, or Supernatural-PTBs-who-think-of-female-and/or-slash-fandom-as-Becky? Either way, please muster an actual defense, instead of telling me I should deny myself something I enjoy because I happen to dislike part of it.

  7. kathi
    November 20, 2011 at 15:12

    Meet Kathi, white German college kid from Munich who didn’t throw a fit when the dirndl/lederhosen/steins in MONSTER MOVIE weren’t exactly accurate.

  8. Max
    November 20, 2011 at 16:22

    I agree it was a bad move on the part of the writers but I refuse to even entertain the thought that it was intentional. No show in the universe will EVER offend it’s fan base like that. Especially not Supernatural, considering they depend on the fan’s support so much. They spend half the time in interviews thanking the fans for watching. I’m a huge fan of Supernatural but I’m not offended at all by Becky’s behavior. Because I don’t relate to her outside of the whole being a fan of the same show part. Becky has never been the most sane person so, since I consider myself pretty sane, I don’t think she represents me at all.

  9. Marie
    November 20, 2011 at 17:05

    @Max, I totally agree, and I find it very questionable that this article spends so much time and energy “calling out” TPTB about Becky and never once mentions the episode’s problems with how it handled consent. The priorities shown in this article are deeply, deeply skewed.

  10. November 20, 2011 at 21:58

    @Marie, did you miss where I said Miriam Averagefan (and the other average fans, of course) isn’t someone who would commit rape? Did you miss where I said Sam’s lucky Becky didn’t rape him? More to the point, did you miss all the episode reactions, including the one on this very site at http://affairsmagazine.com/wordpress2/2011/11/12/time-for-a-wedding-should-have-stayed-in-vegas/, that point out the problems with Becky’s behavior? I didn’t need to focus on consent in this letter, because everyone else already did.

  11. Anonymous
    November 21, 2011 at 02:40

    Meet Me (name withheld for privacy), White, USAsian, late forties, straight, college-education. Super-fan of Supernatural, avid reader of Fanfiction centralizing around Dean and Sam. I have met Jensen and Jared and hold them in the highest regard and would never think of stalking them or treating them disrespectfully. A dedicated fan of the show and will remain so until the very end, although this episode with Becky crossed a line for me. You see, I was held down by someone else without my consent and repeatedly abused. These actions of Becky brought up unpleasant and nervous feelings for me, some of which I don’t enjoy having to experience ever again. I still love the show and will remain a fan, but this episode, for me, was a difficult one, and was in many ways a disappointment.

  12. winterm7
    November 21, 2011 at 19:52

    They seem to average one or two bad episodes each season. I’m marking this one as the bad one that will not be watched again when the DVD’s come out. I didn’t like Becky the first time she was introduced.

  13. Anonymous
    January 1, 2012 at 19:55

    You know, it’s not like they are saying that every fangirl/guy is obsessing over the guys and thinking about doing a bunch of stuff to them. When they put Becky in there, I thought it was for comic relief. She may be a weird little duck, but the producers,etc. are not really stereotyping all the people who watch the show.

    Seriously guys, it’s not a big deal. I, for one, was not offended at all by them putting Becky in or anything like that. I have not been offended by ANYTHING the show has done or said.

  14. Anon
    January 13, 2012 at 09:49

    All those people who seem to be taking the episode seriously for some reason, why? It was obviously a mockery of what ‘the world’ seems to think of sci-fi fangirls as being, and I found it amusing. Yes, Becky is a nutjob, that doesn’t mean they think we are. It is just fiction people!

  15. Jackie L Vester
    December 10, 2013 at 03:54

    Even though I found that episode in poor taste I still love Supernatural. Thank God season 7 is over. It was their weakest season. Season’s 8 and the start of 9 have been brilliant but heartbreaking with 9. Anyway I had several problems with “Time For A Wedding” If the roles were reversed people would have been screaming but because Becky is a woman and Sam is a man people had no problem with it. By all rights Becky’s ass should be in jail. She stalked, drugged, tricked in marriage and came close to raping Sam. Instead of calling the cops they just let her walk away. Do they honestly believe her obsession with Sam is over?? I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure if she went that far she won’t just get over it.

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