Care to guess what our biggest concern was with launching the second annual Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney? It was what to do about “Wincest.”
Supernatural‘s demon hunting brothers Dean and Sam Winchester make up one of fandom’s most enduring slash pairings. There are countless tribute videos dedicated to them, thousands of fanfics written about them, an avalanche of animated gifs and fanart on Tumblr… and at the heart of it all is a fantasy romantic pairing — sometimes a sexual one — between two brothers. For a lot of people, myself included, this sibling love thing seems… out of bounds.
Setting aside the incest issue, I do get the appeal. Sam and Dean are played by the painfully sexy actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. They have a great rapport on and off screen, and the brotherly angst between their two characters could be reinterpreted into something romantic.
They’ve even made reference to it on the show itself…
Wincest clearly has many many fans. But our Slash Madness Tourney drew a lot of mainstream media attention last year, we have controversy-shy advertisers to think of, and not all our readers are as open-minded as fans of slash. Is it wise to include a pairing that is sure to be squick-inducing for so many people? Wouldn’t it be safer just to exclude Sam & Dean from the competition?
I’ll be honest, we really considered it, but in the end wiser heads (the ladies and gent who write our Shipping News column) convinced me that it really isn’t our place to be the arbiters of what is or isn’t beyond the pale when it comes to slash. After all it’s not like many other popular slash pairings aren’t questionable on some level. If TheBacklot gets in the business of censoring some slash pairings, where do we draw the line? Hell, last year’s Slash Madness winner “Sterek“ is a pairing of a teenage boy and the adult, violent werewolf who’s always shoving him around. Forget incest, there’s a potential threefer of squick for you: statutory rape, domestic violence and bestiality.
So for those of you who have posted comments or sent emails imploring us to ban Wincest from this year’s Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney… sorry we won’t be doing that. Judging by how many people have nominated them, Sam & Dean are definitely going to be a part of the competition this year.