On Fangs for the Fantasy we’ve covered some of the many ways to dodge around actual inclusion of minorities in TV shows and books - usually the writers just throw tokens at us, or erase us entirely. But when it comes to GBLT inclusion there is a new crafty tactic on the horizon - the suggestive Bromance. And no show has mastered this more than Teen Wolf. Teen Wolf has already set itself apart because it is one of the few shows on television wherein the male characters are overtly sexualised and the women are not. This, in addition to being an excellent twist on the gender roles we see, unfortunately also gives perfect fodder for these Bromances and faux inclusion seen through “slash goggles.”
What is slash? Slash is fiction, usually fanfiction, which places two male characters into romantic/sexual relationships usually for the purposes of fetishization. “Slash goggles” is a term developed to refer to watching a show and looking for hints of anything (a touch, a gesture, a look, anything) that would back up these characters being a couple.
So, what is the problem with this? Well, aside from the problem of fetishisation, appropriation and homophobia that are unfortunate issues within slash, there’s a huge problem with ambiguity encouraging erasure.
For too long, writers have been using character ambiguity as an excuse to avoid including GBLT chaarcters. Rather than overtly say a character is GBLT, they can imply it - and get praise for inclusion from people desperate for inclusion (or desperate to see hot guys get it on) when they haven’t actually included anyone, or only made the slightest gestures of inclusion.
Teen Wolf doesn’t just subtly cater to this - but is probably the most blatant in pandering to it. Don’t believe me? Look at this little video made by Dylan O’Brien and Tyler Hoechlin.