Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Gender Studies and Sexuality
Beyond “Despair”: The Subversion of Masculinity and Heterosexuality in Supernatural’s Early Seasons
Supernatural (2005-2020) is ongoingly accused of homophobia and condemned for uncritically portraying White hegemonic masculinity through its main character Dean Winchester (played by Jensen Ackles). However, a close reading of the show and a content analysis made using gender and sexuality studies seems to point in the opposite direction. Eric Kripke’s horror show about two brothers who hunt monsters and save people, does not provide the audience with an independent Marlboro Man for the new millennium. Rather, despite being deeply rooted in the culture that emerged in post-9/11 America, it offers a deconstruction of toxic masculinity and heterosexuality. This warrants a reassessment of the show, highlighting the queer narrative that has been there long before the airing of “Despair” (S15x18) in 2020. What emerges is a show that tells one of the many iterations of the queer experience and while its depiction of it may not be deemed satisfying representation by a more contemporary audience, it approaches the topic with nuance and honesty despite never quite challenging the status quo and still adhering to a White and masculine point of view.
keywords: gender studies, masculinities, Supernatural, queer studies