Supernatural 9.08 – Choices: 3 Female Perspectives

Supernatural 9.08 - Choices: 3 Female Perspectives

In light of the negative reactions to last week’s Supernatural episode, Rock and a Hard Place, we have elected to forgo our normal review style, and have asked three of our female writers of varying lifestyles for their perspectives on the episode. We hope this will encourage some positive discussion about this issue. -Ed.

Stacey, single, unattached woman in her mid-30’s
I really liked this week’s episode of Supernatural. REALLY liked it. I’ve felt the whole season has harkened back to early days and writer Jenny Klein gave us Dean of old, sex-obsessed and cheeky. We had a healthy dose of the brothers enjoying each other’s company, even laughing together on several occasions. An ancient god was the protagonist, affording us the opportunity to see some great visual effects. We had a slew of strong female characters and the return of the much-loved Sheriff Mills; it was a well-rounded and highly enjoyable episode. So it was surprising to me that after it aired there appeared to be a contingent of viewers who found the subject matter and storyline to be offensive.

Let me start by explaining how I saw the scene that some took issue with. Dean saw Suzy and immediately realized he knew her somehow. He couldn’t remember where he had seen her but it elicited a strong sexual response on his part. He decided to make it his mission to seduce her, in his inimitable Dean Winchester way. Even as Sam pointed out she was the chastity counsellor, his mind was made up, which I would assume was because the idea of committing to celibacy is beyond his understanding. On arrival at her apartment he set his plan in motion to have his way, but the minute he saw she was upset and really didn’t have the same intention as him, he respected that and comforted her in the best way he could. On discovering her true identity he had a fanboy moment and felt a need to tell her that while he was in his darkest moments, her work was a shining light for him. He threw line after line at her but when she started to respond his surprise was palpable. He almost seemed nervous and in the end it was Suzy who seduced him. She obviously regretted her life choices. Not knowing how she got into the porn industry it’s hard to say where those choices originated, but she seemed to not be able to find a balance between extremes. Maybe her time with Dean gave her the opportunity to find that balance, who knows?

I am a single woman who likes men. Women everywhere are fighting an ongoing battle started several generations ago to attain an equality that at times seems out of reach and I am as passionate as anyone to uphold that fight. I am a person and I also happen to be female and that should have no bearing on what opportunities I am given or how I am treated by others. The world, sadly, doesn’t always work that way, although I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by males in my life who have respected me thoroughly. I like to wear low-cut shirts because it makes me feel good. I want to be able to dress how I want and be respected for my choices, not judged by them and surely that is more empowering than encouraging me to cover up? My issue with the uproar about the content of this Supernatural episode is how much power it is taking from women everywhere. Women are sexual and arguing that Dean took away Suzy’s choices suggests she was too weak to spurn his advances. While maybe her decision to leave her career caused her to go to the opposite extreme, denying her the right to enjoy sex goes against everything feminists want to fight for. Her strength was in her ability to make that choice and that’s a strength every woman should be proud to display.

There is a terrifying trend in recent years that has been labelled the rape culture; it’s very real and very scary and there is no denying that we need to address it. However, we also need to remove sex from the equation. Rape is not about sex, far from it. Rape is about domination and violence. If we, as women, preach abstinence and chastity as a way to protect ourselves from these horrible attacks we are giving the power to the perpetrators of the crime. By taking away our sexuality, our empowerment is being denied. If women embrace our sexual nature the balance of power is restored.

Mieke, married, mother of 3 boys, in their teens and early 20’s
I will start by saying that I quite enjoyed last Tuesday’s episode of Supernatural, appropriately and suggestively titled, Rock and a Hard Place.

I loved the return of bad-ass Jodi Mills, the early SPN throwback feel, Dean’s speech at the chastity meeting, the amazing bro-moments and yes, I liked Dean’s sexual encounter and what it stood for. The latter is what the hullabaloo and hand wringing online seems to be about. Don’t get me wrong; I had issues with parts of this episode. Some of the characters were over-simplified stereotypes and resolution of their stories was lacking or inconsistent at best. Some of Dean’s behavior felt out of character to me, but perhaps not where you would expect.

I am choosing to put aside the complaints from fans that did not like Dean’s encounter with Suzy because they saw it as another iceberg looming to sink their ship; that’s for another article. Instead I would like to speak to the complaints that I saw on social media and in some reviews that accuse Dean, and the writer and show through him, of being a coercive predator who set out to dismiss Suzie’s life choices in order to get into her pants.

I take issue with this notion because in my opinion that view robs Suzy of all agency. The idea that Suzy does not come to her decisions regarding her sexual life on her own volition is much more troubling to me than Dean’s behavior. Too often women are seen as strong moral people only if they do not have a sexual identity. Jodi Mills is rightfully described in every review as a strong female character, yet Suzy is only referred to in relation to Dean and is automatically seen as a victim because she dares to have sex. Look at the shaming that goes on in the chastity club, or the fact that born-again virginity is even a thing. Suzy reacts to Dean’s discovery of her previous life by stating that she keeps it hidden because people wouldn’t understand, that it was a shameful part of her past. And here Dean does something completely liberating and affirming: he lets her know, with no agenda other than expressing his fanboy admiration, that he saw her as “the good dream” in that past life. In his context of true horror, she was a bright light. He not only accepts her for who she is, he admires her for it. Suzy’s decision to have sex with Dean (much to his surprise and delight) can easily be seen as her reclaiming her sexuality. It has validity equally as much as her decision to leave the sex industry.

I find it curious and troubling that critics dismiss her power so easily, yet see nothing wrong with labeling Dean a predator in this situation. I feel he was perfectly in character in this episode except when he saw that Suzy was in tears, grieving her missing friends. The Dean that I think I know would have acted with more sympathy and caring, although the fact that he actually sat down to pray with her was quite something, considering what he knows about prayer, heaven, god and angels.

As the mother of three boys, in their teens and early twenties, I sometimes fear this mindset. This world with its ever-present social media and complicated sexual identities is hard enough to navigate without adding these preconceived notions. Often women are seen as worthwhile individuals as long as they are not openly sexual and often men are seen as trustworthy only if they are not. I am old enough to remember and have participated in the early radical days of the fight for women’s rights. I have passed on that history to my boys and I hope that I have taught them to always see women as people, in every sense of the word. I truly believe that for their sake and the sake of the women in their lives, it is essential that we, as women, reclaim our sexuality and our choices and not let others shame us when we do.

Jennifer, cohabitating, mid-30’s mother of an infant daughter
I enjoyed the episode. I thought Jenny Klein did a wonderful job of bringing lascivious Dean back from the dead, and I laughed a lot at his antics – as we all have for years. Classic Dean, the way he was written for years before we got into some (what I think were) pretty heavy and semi-humorless seasons.

I always talk about characters being written (note: written = fictional) the way they are supposed to be written. Dean has always been the quintessential ladies’ man, or so he thinks, and Sam has always been the bookish one (bookish = smart – it’s a compliment). That Dean would hit on a woman is not a surprise to anyone – that he would sign a vow of chastity is what surprised me. And that he would go even further to hit on a woman he knows to be a former porn star (her movies, in fact, he seems to be very familiar with), well…the fans would have been in an uproar about clueless writers if he had walked away from her.

Some are upset because, as I understand it, they believe the episode demeans women and that it shows blatant disregard for a woman’s choices and downplays the struggles of female porn stars to direct their lives into a more mainstream lifestyle. I’m paraphrasing, but that is the gist of the ire that has taken up my Twitter timeline for three days. The feeling is that Dean had no right to hit on a woman who was trying to get her life back together and had no qualms in disregarding her choices.

I am a woman. I don’t know about you ladies, but I prefer to own the decisions I make instead of pass them off on someone else who ‘manipulated’ me into doing something. It makes me angry to think that in this day and age we have yet to realize that in order to “take the power back” we need to actually own it. The idea that men can manipulate a woman into doing something that is against her fundamental beliefs only furthers the idea that women are the ‘weaker sex’ and incapable of making sound decisions.

I am not arguing that men do not ever coerce women into doing things; lord knows I was once a horny teenager, but I own those decisions too. Whether or not I regretted it after is moot, because I was the one who chose to do anything I may have done. Regret is something that comes from having made a bad choice, but even a bad choice is one that I made.

To have the idea that a person only did something because another person ‘talked them into it’ accomplishes two very detrimental things to the person being ‘coerced’: 1.) it removes all thought of taking responsibility for their own actions; and 2.) teaches them not to trust their own decision-making abilities. And before we go off about peer pressure – that is a whole other ball of wax; being a growing human can really suck, and peer pressure is a very real thing, but we are talking about fictional adults here.

I have a seven-month-old daughter. I intend to teach her about taking responsibility for her own actions, answering to herself regarding her judgement, and to know that she, above anyone – me included – makes the choices about her body and her heart. No, I don’t expect that those lessons will always be in her head when there is a boy telling her how pretty she is – but I hope that she will have the strength to know that whatever she chooses to do is her choice and her choice alone.

26 Comments


  1. I agree with all of you. I saw no element of coercion in Dean’s behaviour, and I’m appalled that others did. The point has been made that Suzy went from one extreme to the other. I can see how someone wanting to extract themselves from a situation that made them feel ashamed would do that. The fact is, Suzy made a choice to join the APU group. She also made a choice to have sex with Dean. It seems to me (full disclosure: I have NO experience in making porn) that making a porno is worlds away from choosing to have sex, in private, with someone you are attracted to.
    Dean made no effort to “persuade” Suzy to have sex with him. In the end, she came to him.
    I’m at a loss to see why people are so upset about this.

    Thank you so much for this post. It needed to be said.

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    1. But Dean wanted to have sex with her based on her past identity, not her current. AKA the one she was trying to run from, was embarrassed of, and turned her life around over. Dean was fetishizing her as her porn self and that is what’s gross. He knew she didn’t want to be that person anymore, but HE wanted her to be that person. For him. To get off.

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      1. I would say Dean didn’t feel the need to separate Suzy’s identities into good or bad. He was attracted to Suzy before he knew she was porn star; he was attracted to her afterward. Suzy’s fear was that if anyone knew she had been a porn actress, they would judge her harshly. Dean doesn’t. I think we have ample evidence in the episode that Suzy is in the purity group because she feels her past makes her a horrible person and that she has to hide that past in order to fit in the community. That’s not a place of empowerment. I wasn’t surprised Suzy found Dean’s words that he knows bad stuff and she is not it to be sexy. And she looked to me in the scene after sex to have gotten off as much as Dean did. Both of them thought the other was attractive. Both of them liked the sex. Two consenting adults.

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      2. Even if he was fetishizing it (and him going for an opening after she made it clear she was open for advances is far from fetishizing. I doubt he would have turned her down if she said she wasn’t going to do that), the fact is – she – with a seductive smile on her face, if you’re watching the episode, chooses to speak to him in Spanish. She doesn’t look shy. She doesn’t look victimized. She looks like she wants him and wants sex.

        And having sex by choice, while roleplaying what you want, is a far cry from being in an industry where you neither get to choose the men you want to have sex with, the position you want to have it in, or how much privacy.

        If Dean was only interested in her when he found out about her past, that would be one thing. If he decided they needed to make a sex tape, that would be one thing. If she had turned him down at any point, that would be one thing. If he had to cajole her, that would be one thing.

        But he didn’t coax her. He let her know, honestly, that he didn’t think her past was something to be ashamed of. And when he was done telling her that, SHE pursued him. And SHE played along with what he wanted. SHE started looking excited as soon as he showed how he thought hot things she could do with her body were.

        I absolutely had some problems with this episode, although overall I enjoyed it. I do think those who were successfully able to remain celibate mostly fell into a certain stereotype. The sexless and annoying. Those who did not got portrayed as more attractive and strong. Sex is a valid choice. So is celibacy.

        Was I offput by Dean’s choice to purposefully try to have sex with someone who had chosen to remain celibate, as though her choice was something that really shouldn’t be involved in the equation? Yes.

        But the point is, he’d try. The Dean we know, the Dean that’s been written for us, wouldn’t have continued with his advances if she’d at any point said no. He stopped his advances when she broke down crying and did not try to press that to his advantage. He didn’t coax her, he didn’t get asked to leave, and she didn’t turn down the “fetishization.”

        If speaking in Spanish, when the sex is in her control, turns her on too…. who are any of us to judge her decision?

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  2. Well said, everyone. I agree, and likewise find the attitude towards this ep somewhat puzzing. I enjoyed it, for Sam, for Dean,and for SamnDean. And for Jody, too, because she’s an amazing character that I very much wish we could see more often.

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    1. People seem to put Dean on a pedestal, thinking he’s Mr. Perfect. But he has pulled some “sleazy” things in the past; like staring Jess’ boobs, and showing up on Lisa’s front door expecting she’ll have sex with him right there. There are probably more that I can’t remember, Dean acted like Dean in this episode, a bit horndog, but respectful.

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  3. Your persectives are very close to mine. Supporting women’s right to control their bodies includes their right to be sexual. I saw no coercion. Suzy’s choice to be chaste was based on feeling ashamed of who she was. She accepted the Madonna/whore choice and thought she had to become a virgin to be acceptable. I wasn’t surprised she didn’t feel empowered by feeling she was horrible. Her choice to have sex with someone who saw what she had to hide and saw her as beautiful read just fine to me.

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  4. I believe if she had said she didn’t want to be that person anymore instead of instigating sex, Dean would have been ok with that, he was surprised when she decided to go with it and happy of course.

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  5. Dean was attracted to her way before he made the “Carmelita” connection. That’s why he went home with her in the first place.

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    1. And when he does find out who she was, he doesn’t hit on her, he goes into fanboy mode (pervy as it may be, but fanboy mode nonetheless). At no point does he pull any moves to bed her.

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  6. Wonderful article and insights! I think something the episode also did brilliantly which as a feminist I appreciated was satirize the whole concept of virginity. I should point out that many non American fans on twitter thought the “born again virgin” concept was made up by the SPN writers it is so ludicrous adn didn’t realize it’s a “thing” in the US. (theses days everything is a thing)

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    1. I absolutely see where you’re coming from. And as a satire, I’d say it was successful. There are many reasons outside of religion for a person to choose celibacy, which the show wasn’t dealing with at all in this episode, I grant you.

      The way I look at feminism, though, is that sexual power can be a wonderful component to feminism, but it tends to be seen as the end all be all. Instead of character, career, etc… too often we as women point to sex OR abdication of sex as a very large part of that power.

      Should virginity be as big a deal for girls as it is? No. Should they end up being painted as whores because they lost their virginity? No. And religion does have quite a large part, in the US, of shaming women for exhibiting sexual power. This is why I said I think the satire was successful, as it is targeted at religion, and I am looking at the episode in a slightly new light. The idea of shaming women’s sexual power, however, stems more from a patriachy that didn’t want a woman to have ANY choice in the matter. Women not only could not choose to have sex, but they could not choose NOT to have sex.

      Ideally, the message shouldn’t be that choosing to wait, at any point in your life, for whatever reason, is a decision which makes you less attractive (via societal norms of beauty – which is a whole separate can of worms and we cannot change Hollywood) and less personable. That’s playing into the idea that those who choose to have sex are somehow better off than those who don’t, when really – it should be viewed as a personal decision.

      And again, I grant you – Supernatural has never been a SHOW WITH A MESSAGE. Our message is family, not deep societal issues. We are not Glee, and for that I am eternally thankful. I’m not looking for some cultural statement from every episode, just two brothers with an awesome car who fight evil, which we got this episode – so I was happy.

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  7. Thank you! These all mirror my thoughts also. Thanks of sharing it all so eloquently.

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  8. Dean is 35 and not the same person as the 26-yo of S1. We’ve seen him grow and mature over the seasons, and the fact that he now reverted back to old ways is not a good sign. Rock and a Hard Place is the second to last episode in the half-season arc, a long downward slope that Dean has been on ever since he decided to let Zeke possess Sam. This has slowly poisoned the relationship of the brothers, and the origin of it was Dean’s choice to take away Sam’s choice and Sam’s autonomy over his own body and soul. That was a selfish choice on Dean’s part – he did what was best for him (because he couldn’t stand the idea of losing Sam), not what was best for Sam. He knows that Sam would never have agreed to angelic possession, which is why he hasn’t even tried to tell Sam about Zeke until this episode.

    Dean’s actions toward Suzy mirror what he did to Sam. He followed her home, ostensibly to protect her (he justifies himself by claiming he wants to protect Sam), but his true goal was selfish – to get something he wanted from her (to keep Sam around, no matter how much he has to hurt Sam in the process). Since she had made a chastity promise, he knew he would have to lie to her and break her (get her to break her promise) to get what he wanted. What he wanted was more important than what she wanted (just as with Sam). Parts of the “seduction” scene made me beyond uncomfortable and actually afraid of Dean. I think the show went as far as they dared to portray Dean’s most extreme potentiality as sexual predator here. And the purpose was double: to show how he’s regressing because of the choice he made that now has him chained to Zeke, who’s holding Sam hostage – between a rock and a hard place is indeed where Dean finds himself – and to show yet another mirror (of several this season) of that very act and how it disrespected and violated Sam.

    It may sound like I’m putting Dean down or disliking the writing for him this season. Not so – I love Dean, I love this storyline and can’t wait to see how it unfolds. The thing is, it’s Dean’s turn to do something unforgivable. Sam did in season 4, when he drank demon blood and chose a demon over his own brother. Cas did in season 6, when he made a deal with Crowley and swallowed all the souls in Purgatory. And yet they were both, in time, forgiven. Dean has never done anything on that scale, and he’s been the steady moral compass of the show, but the fact that he’s never needed forgiveness himself has also made him stingy with giving it to others. This season it’s his turn, and he’s going to be brought low – and then, I expect, lifted back up by the love and forgiveness of others, when it’s not in his power to love or forgive himself. That’s the family message that this storyline will ultimately lead to.

    Tl;dr: The episode has several problems – like the tired, stereotyped portrayal of the chastity group members – but also several high points, like everything to do with Jody Mills. Dean is not very likable in this episode and his encounter with Suzy is pretty troubling. That is all intentional and it serves its narrative purpose.

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    1. And one more point that I forgot to make: the fact that he ignores several phone calls from Sam, while they’re working a case, in favor of seducing Suzy, is just another sign that Dean is not acting like the best or true version of himself.

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      1. Not only the best true version of himself, but he’s avoiding – and indulging has always been a way Dean has avoided harsher realities. This doesn’t excuse his behavior OR his previous choices this season. He has to own those, but….

        Dean obviously knows something is up. Sam has been looking worse, not better. Zeke’s taking ownership more and more. And Dean put himself in this position through poor choices, but I can’t imagine how hard it must be to get up the will to speak the words that will not only bring who knows what reaction out of Sam, but can end his life. It’s hard enough for people to speak up about regular secrets, nevermind when the actual words can kill your family.

        So… he avoids. He thoughtlessly dives into a sexual encounter that is shady. He is a flawed human and it is okay for us to get mad at him.

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    2. Agreed, actually. Pretty much every single thing Dean’s done “wrong” has the double impact of being something completely noble.

      And when things get rough for him, he OFTEN reverts back to patterns of behavior either modeled by John or found in earlier seasons. Dives into vices, etc…

      I’ve actually been worried a lot this season about the choice to once again have Dean choose to save Sam through by heinous methods but semi-noble intention (often dosed with a bit of selfishness), because anything he does subsequently will tend to get written off as, “But he saved his brother.” And then there is a real threat that a portion of the fandom might get mad at Sam for getting mad at Dean.

      The difference this time is that he knew Sam was ready, REALLY ready to go. And not only that, but for the vessel of LUCIFER and someone who has been possessed by a demon before…. to let an unknown angel invade Sam through trickery, especially after Metatron just screwed everyone over, seems not only reckless, but an especially horrible thing to do. At least with Lucifer, he chose it, although he was forced into choosing it, by circumstance.

      This is one of two things that might actually get Sam to be able to throw the first punch at Dean, something that RARELY happens.

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  9. Ok. I saw this quite differently. First off, Dean takes off In the middle of a case to try and seduce her. It’s clear from his exchange with Sam that he considers her a challenge because she is the chastity counselor. He lies to her about his intentions. Back at the apartment she first breaks down in tears, showing how emotionally vulnerable she is and asks Dean to pray with her – showing that she has integrated her faith in her life and uses it to cope. She finds him reading material that she found helpful – indicating that her commitment to chastity is thoughtful and significant. At no time does she show any sexual interest in Dean. She leaves the room and he invades her privacy, finding the DVDs from her past. When she returns, he confronts her with it, and she describes her disgust at the horrible person she was and begs him not to tell anyone. Dean physically advances on her and immediately makes it clear he wants sex. To me that was a clear quid pro quo. He just completely ignores the person in front of him, just projecting his fantasy. Faced with a strange man who can destroy her life and is clearly asking for sex, she immediately turns into his fantasy. That doesn’t strike me as someone exercising her sexual agency for pleasure – it strikes me as an act of coercion and desperation. I mean, do you really think her authentic sexuality would have her initiating sex using role play from her porn DVDs – especially when that time in her life is one she is trying to escape? Do you really think that him just bringing up her past would be enough for her to do a complete 180 in her behavior and throw away all her hard earned choices – unless she felt she HAD to? Let us also remember that Dean is a stranger and other members of her group have been abducted. It’s quite possible that she thought he might be the abductor and was trying to keep him happy and calm.
    Dean chose to ignore her stated beliefs, her clear emotional vulnerability, the stark change in her behavior, etc. Dean in past seasons had sex as a romp, a release, a fun encounter been consenting adults. This was not that. I don’t see this as being in character at all.
    Let me also say that the casual dismissal of women who choose to be celibate gives the lie to respecting other people’s choices. There are many reasons why people may choose to be celibate – recovery from incest, rape, or sexual assault, living with a serious sexually transmitted infection (like HIV), recovery from alcohol or drug abuse, serious medical conditions, or as a sacrifice for faith. None of theses are the result of allowing someone to shame you such that you need to ‘reclaim your sexuality’. Also, having a one-off with a complete stranger who is coming to you for help with chastity is also pretty problematic – even if you DID see it that way.
    Given that many porn stars have said that they had sexual abuse, rape, or gang rape in their past, it is entirely possible that even mild coercion taps into a long series of bad experiences. It just seems that all your claims of her owning her sexuality flies in the face of her most probable sexual history and her description of her perception of it. Not to mention that since approximately 60% of sex workers identify as lesbian – it’s quite likely she wasn’t interested in him AT ALL and just regarded him as a threat.
    Lastly, it’s clear the reviewers didn’t bother to read criticisms of the scene and in some cases didn’t seem to be fans of the show. They were clearly told to put a positive spin on the episode, which the editor (male, I suspect) rightly thought he’d be called out on for sexism if he did.

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    1. Tigerlily, many people had different reactions to the episode than you did, so making accusations about the writers and editor is a little over the top.

      Reading your analysis, there are several places I would take issue. For example, I would say Dean would have pursued Suzy no matter where he met her. He’s attracted to her, as he’s been attracted to many women in many situations. He doesn’t view the chastity vow as an impediment, but I didn’t see anything to show he thought it was a particular turn on, in either the lead up to or the scene after sex.

      I thought the episode showed that Suzy had a problematic relationship with the church. She went so far as to change her name to hide her past so she wouldn’t be judged by that community, and she’s sure she would be. Her own perception of herself is that her past makes her horrible. To me, that doesn’t read as the chastity group empowering Suzy or her reclaiming who she is through it.

      Dean did not advance on Suzy in a predatory manner when he finds the DVDs. He goes into fanboy mode, telling her how much she meant to him, and when he changes tone, it’s to drop his cheesy lines to tell she is not, for any reason, horrible, and if her community tells her that, they do not see her properly. I don’t see that as projecting his fantasy on her.

      And yes, I do think that would be enough for Suzy to respond to. Hiding who she is because she thinks she’s damaged goods isn’t a position that makes her feel good about herself. She assumes Dean will judge her as she expects her community would judge her. When he doesn’t and sees her as a lovely desirable woman, she allows herself to admit she misses expressing her sexuality.

      I didn’t see any coercion at all in the scene. I saw a woman who had the right and the capacity to make her own sexual choices. In the scene after sex, Dean and Suzy are in tune with each other, and Suzy says she misses sex.

      I certainly don’t see anything showing Suzy being afraid of Dean or thinking he’s the abductor and placating him to stay alive, so that doesn’t form part of my read of the episode at all.

      And yes, there are many reasons people may decide to be celibate. But Suzy has specific reasons, and those reasons do not take away her joy in sex, as she stated. She’s a specific character, not an abstract position.

      She’s making a change in her life, but we do not have support for a history of abuse or her being a lesbian, so to claim she could not have been attracted to Dean and instead was afraid of him because of assumptions either not shown or actually contradicted in the story is a reach for me.

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      1. Gerry, you make a good point here. I think a lot of people are casting their own versions of Suzy, applying a backstory to her that they themselves have written. They are assuming she is abused. They are assuming she is fearful of sex.

        While there are many issues in the pornography industry and there is abuse, that is not the case for every single female. Some women say they feel empowered by it. To say that every one of those women MUST be putting on a front or coerced, is to apply our own standards to them and to devalue THEIR choice.

        Suzy may have been abused in the industry, or she may have just had a relatives recognize her and been incredibly ashamed and possibly disowned. We don’t know either way.

        I thought Tigerlily had some interesting points about the fact that there WAS still a threat out there, so I can understand why she could look at it from the angle of someone who was threatened, or was afraid of being blackmailed.

        However, there are an awful lot of assumptions made about Suzy when we start saying her celibacy is hard-earned. To put it on Dean for taking AWAY her celibacy is a bit much. Honor also fell off the wagon, yet no assumptions are made about her and the guy she was with. With them, it was just something that happened. With Suzy, there are assumptions that she couldn’t possibly have wanted to have sex. Linda Lovelace was abused in the porn industry and left it, yet she had a family afterwards. She didn’t just stop having sex. Celibacy is a very valid choice, but it is also a choice to stop being celibate.

        We weren’t given a detailed history of Suzy, why exactly she ended up leaving the industry, her feelings and viewpoints on why celibacy was her choice and a good choice for others.

        When it comes to saying Dean was looking through her stuff? Both Dean and Sam look through everyone’s stuff! While on a case, they go through drawers, hack computers, etc. This isn’t out of bounds behavior to them, it’s what they do normally. To extend it to being a violation — then they’ve been violating people since Season 1.

        The other thing I’ll say is this:

        You can tell a lot about what is INTENDED from a scene through the music. The music composition did not indicate she was afraid of Dean or not into it. Far from it.

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    2. As one of the three writers of this article, I can assure you that all three of us are fans of the show. Secondly, it is because of the criticisms we read that we decided to write three independent articles, and combine them at the end as one. Had any of us had dissenting views, the article would have been published with those views in tact. As it turned out, we all felt the same way – none of us were ‘coerced’ into an opinion. Lastly, last time I checked, I had a vagina. – Jennifer Pitt, Editor

      Reply

  10. @serenity
    I would acknowledge your point that not all individuals in the sex industry are abused. Although I would point out that those that feel ’empowered’ by it are those most like to have had that power taken away from them through violence. However, it is clear from Suzy’s comments that she did not not feel empowered by it. There are plenty of reasons why that might be – sex addiction, abuse in the industry, drug abuse, self-destructive behavior. It is clear that she identified that life as not healthy and attempted to change. Dean is told that, very clearly, and does not desist from discussing it, nor does he acknowledge what she has said.
    I pointed out several ways in which it was clear that Suzy had made a commitment to chastity, and frankly, Gerry pointed out several more. What we know is that she moved to the middle of the country from wherever the DVD’s were originally made (most likely California), changed her name, read voraciously on the subject, joined a church, became the leader of a chastity group – and basically completely changed her life – a life that she valued, even if you are contemptuous of it. You might think she had a ‘problematic’ relationship with the church, but at least it offered her a clean slate and didn’t try to treat her as though her past was all that was important about her (as Dean did). Dean wasn’t fascinated by her as a person – she was an ‘item on his bucket list’. He didn’t want to know anything about her past, or why she’d come to that place in her life. He just wanted to fuck her. Be honest. That’s not fanboy, that’s fratboy.(with apologies to those Greeks who are cool, but you probably know exactly why I said that.). The writers, in my opinion, lost an opportunity to give us insight into Dean’s issues with sexuality – in that he met a person, who might have been a kindred spirit.

    @Gerry – Given that this is the first woman that Dean has pursued sexually for at least two seasons, I think it’s reasonable to note what is different about her – namely the exchange with Sam over her being a chastity counselor – as likely being why he pursued her.
    I don’t see why ‘going into fanboy’ mode is an excuse for Dean’s behavior.. Fans have assaulted, stalked, and harassed the objects of their fan(tasies). Personally, I thought it was particularly ironic that Jensen, who has had to personally deal with fans physically assaulting him, groping him, stalking him, etc, was put in the position of playing the worst kind of ‘fan’ – the kind that does not acknowledge that someone they see on a DVD is a person who deserves to be treated with respect.
    Not to mention that physically advancing on a woman, when you are both alone in her apartment and talking non-stop about her sexual exploits doesn’t read as fanboy. It’s not the same context at all. Honestly, your comments remind me of the whole Dawkins kerfuffle, in which Dawkins stubbornly refused to understand that a man propositioning a woman alone in the elevator at 2 am would frighten her. Men don’t generally worry about being assaulted, so I can understand why it would not naturally occur to you. But I hope you will consider that a person with different life experiences (and a different gender) might have a quite different perspective.
    As for her comment that ‘she missed that’, that’s a comment that could be because she’s genuinely missed it, though she recognizes it’s part of bad patterns in her life, it could be because she likes sex a little too much because she’s a sex addict and she has basically just fallen off the wagon, or she might just be ego stroking a dangerous stranger.

    @serenity and Gerry
    I recognize that there are multiple interpretations of the scene:
    1) She is unethical in seducing someone coming to her for help with chastity.
    2) He is unethical in undermining her beliefs. Like having someone confess they are an alchoholic and hated themselves for it and then offering them a drink and going on and on about how great they are at making cocktails. Offering Dean to a sex addict is just as cruel. I mean the man is a long, tall drink of gorgeous. I mean if he was a drink he’d be…. hmmm… champers: usually bubbly and dry, but in this case, way too much of a brut.
    3)He is predatory and/or a blackmailer.
    4)She is a hypocrite with no self control. He is a fanboy who gets to cross her off his bucket list.
    5)She is an emotionally damaged woman who has been shamed by her past and the only people she is close to and decides to have sex with a random guy she met a half hour ago to reclaim her sexuality.
    Uh, maybe you can add a positive scenario to that… but I just can’t.

    Reply

    1. @Tigerlily

      I did not say she had a problematic relationship with the church. And I resent your implication that I am contemptuous of religion. You do not know me. And in every post I have said that celibacy is a valid choice. I faulted the stereotyping of those who remained celibate as the less desirable women.

      I never stated that this was a hugely positive scenario, but I do think that it was simply written as a sex scene. Maybe you believe that the writer was thoughtless about the implications of the sex scene given the background they gave Suzy, and that is absolutely fair, but you are attributing a backstory that we were simply not given.

      You forgot an interpretation. That yes, it is a creepy thing that he decided to pick up someone who had pledged herself to chastity. That he was making a poor decision, which Dean does sometimes. She, having given up sex, is told that she should not be ashamed and embraces it. It does not make her a hypocrite to have sex. If she chooses NOT to be celibate anymore, that is a personal decision. It WOULD make her a hypocrite if she went back to the group as if nothing happened, did not disclose her indiscretion, and then proceeded to counsel others. But we do not see the aftermath, so we can’t make that assumption.

      And as I stated, the music of a show points out intention. From the music, it is clear the writer’s intention was not that she was fearful or not feeling in control. You can absolutely fault the writer for not considering all the implications, but to paint it as a dark, terrified, abusive situation… that wasn’t what was happening.

      I understand projecting your own feelings of disgust onto what you were shown. Sometimes when things hit home, we react strongly. But I think it is important, when deciding what was actually going on in a scene, that we take it in the context it was given to us — and that includes art direction, music, and acting choices.

      Reply

      1. @Serenity –
        Singin’ in the rain, I’m singin’ in the rain
        What a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again…. (a clockwork orange).
        Music can be darkly ironic or simply inappropriate.
        It’s entirely possible that the person responsible for choosing the music was attempting to lighten the mood, but that does not change what actually happened. The writer doesn’t pick the music, so it does not follow that it reflects the writer’s intention.
        I would also assume that the music reflected the POV of the protagonist, which in this case is Dean, not Suzy, and he was pretty sure he was gonna get some, because hey, she’s a porn star, right? So I wouldn’t expect the music to be dark.
        It was actually Gerry who said she had a ‘problematic’ relationship with the church, so I apologize for the misattribution.
        I did try and make the point that while you are correct I am assuming a back story, you are as well. While I made some attempt to explain my assumptions with basic facts about the sex industry, you and Gerry are simply picking a rosy and unrealistic scenario out of thin air. There is no evidence that she was being ‘shamed’ into celibacy, nor was there any sign that Dean’s acceptance of her magically erased her ‘shame’ and changed her feelings about her past. And we know from her conversation with the other woman in the bunker that she considered it a moment of weakness, not a change of heart – so yes, she was a hypocrite if not coerced.

        Reply

  11. @Gerry
    Oh yeah, and about rifling in her drawers. Usually, when they do this it’s because they are on a case and are investigating. Dean had turned his phone off, clearly indicating that he was off the clock.

    Reply

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