the betas of season 2
October 28, 2013
Doing this because i”m bored mostly.
I”ve mentioned elsewhere, in passing, that it is Isaac, more than any other character who stands as a physical embodiment of the racism of the Teenwolf fandom.
In season two we were introduced to three betas: Boyd, Isaac, and Erica. The show”s own racism comes into play with the back story of these new characters. We know that Isaac is a victim of physical abuse. We know that Erica has epilepsy and is bullied for it. And we know that Boyd is lonely.
“Boyd is lonely” that is all we get? Apparently so since we never get any further character development for him. It is a sign of that article a i read a while back but can”t find at the moment of how white people cannot write Black characters with any level of real depth, unless they use a racial stereotype (which isn”t really ‘depth” in any case). So… I guess good job to TW for avoiding a stereotype in this instance?
I”m rewatching the episode where Boyd is introduced… I also like how stiles tries to rip Boyd off because he is an entitled middle class white kid. Blech.
Also looking around at the students of beacon hills, and yeah, it is a mostly white town (and for good reason, since the Black people on the show keep dying), so I”m not entirely surprised that Boyd is lonely.
Now, okay, I get that Isaac”s back story is more tragic, given the abuse.
But this isn”t what I”m talking about.
What I am talking about is how this all played out in fandom, particularly during the long off season hiatus. I”ve read fic after fic that describes Isaac as childish, ‘the little brother”, super sweet and emotionally vulnerable. The one that everyone coddles and cares for. You see the descriptions of his blonde curls and blue eyes and him being angelic.
When Boyd is mentioned (which is not nearly as often and he pretty much gets no fic that features him as a main character), he is always stoic (which, coincidentally means he is silent). Always the most mature. The most steadfast. And I can”t even recall if anyone ever bothers to describe him, or if he is just a silent, featureless hulk lurking in the background.
These two kids are in the same grade at school. Approximately the same age. While one has a significantly more developed backstory, both have compelling stories.1 Both are handsome (well, I”m saying this mostly to be charitable, because I find Isaac creepy looking).
And we can”t even use the excuse that since Isaac”s story is more canonically developed, this is why writers have or are more interested in him as a character. We basically know nothing about Peter and he definitely gets more attention than Boyd. The tragic backstory doesn”t even apply since Lydia”s story of being a bored, rich, white mean girl who is secretely smart… far less compelling than Boyd”s. But fandom fucking loves her.
What it boils down to, is that Boyd is a Black character. And, tbh, the neutral, benign neglect he gets in fandom is probably one of the best, given how in many other fandoms Black characters become the repository of fandom hate.
And, the thing is, is that TW has displayed that it is aware of fandom responses and reactions. This is probably why Isaac, instead of Boyd or Erica, gets to be the beta that survives. I”m sure it also helps that he is a white d00d.
There are also subtle biases and racial stereotypes at work. Given that the hypermasculinization of Black boys and men is a very real thing, which is pretty much why mosts fic writers constantly frame Boyd as the most adult. It is also why when Black boys are murdered by police, they are always framed as adult and menacing. All this despite the fact that becoming a werewolf because you are lonely is the very definition of a childish decision.
But the TW fandom never sees it this way, because they barely see him as human (if at all).