Dean said he’s straight, therefore he is (because lying about feelings is a thing he NEVER does)
The fact that I am forced to write a post debunking this particular line of reasoning makes me feel something akin to abject despair if only because it demonstrates how epically terrible a large number of people are at BASIC textual analysis. I am daunted by the prospect due solely to the fact that there is literally SO MUCH canon evidence for Dean’s compulsions toward lying and denial that I feel in some ways I cannot possibly do it justice in a single post.
I am not going to attempt to draw out every instance Dean has ever lied in Supernatural because this post would literally be about 10 miles long if I tried. Even if I confined my examples solely to instances where he is shown (or implied) to be lying/in denial about his emotions or mental states, it would still be way too time consuming and arduous to document them all, due to sheer volume. Therefore methodologically I’ve chosen to “cherry-pick” a few examples simply to establish that Dean lying about his feelings IS a consistent, established part of Supernatural’s canon, and therefore the suggestion that his statement about his own sexuality should be taken at face value is nonsensical.
Let’s start with the “Pilot” wherein Dean gives what has become one his signature lines “No chick-flick moments.” Translation - no being honest about feelings. Only girls do that. This moment is especially key in that it hits 2 of Dean’s consistent overlapping anxieties 1) being honest about feelings and 2) being girly, both of which are key in the argument that Dean is also PRECISELY the sort of character who would lie to himself and others about being same-sex inclined.
So, let’s skip to season 3 where Dean has made his demon deal and he has one year to live. He’s constantly putting on a facade of bravado and trying not to confront his actual feelings of terror about his impending doom. Sam tries to play along but he eventually cracks. Here’s an excerpt from “Fresh Blood” (3.07) where Sam finally calls Dean out on his denial/lying.
SAM: You know what, man? I’m sick and tired of your kamikaze trip DEAN: Whoa, whoa, kamikaze? I’m more like a ninja. SAM: That’s not funny. DEAN: It’s a little funny. SAM:No. It’s not. DEAN: What do you want me to do, Sam, huh? Sit around all day writing sad poems about how I’m gonna die? You know what? I got one. Let’s see, what rhymes with “shut up, Sam”? SAM: Dude, drop the attitude, Dean. Quit turning everything into a punch line. And you know something else? Stop trying to act like you’re not afraid DEAN: I’m not! SAM: You’re lying. And you may as well drop it ‘cause I can see right through you. DEAN: You got no idea what you’re talking about. SAM: Yeah, I do. You’re scared, Dean. You’re scared because your year is running out, and you’re still going to Hell, and you’re freaked. DEAN: And how do you know that? SAM: Because I know you! DEAN: Really? SAM: Yeah, I’ve been following you around my entire life! I mean, I’ve been looking up to you since I was four, Dean. Studying you, trying to be just like my big brother. So yeah, I know you. Better than anyone else in the entire world. And this is exactly how you act when you’re terrified. And, I mean, I can’t blame you. It’s just… (pause) DEAN: What? SAM: I wish you would drop the show and be my brother again.
Sam asks him to “drop the show” and quit lying about how he really feels. This type of conversation has become a staple of Dean’s characterization in Supernatural. He pretends he’s handling some crisis or tragedy just fine, but inside he’s clearly panicked, or terrified, or profoundly depressed.
In “Sam, Interrupted” (5.11) we have the brothers working a case in a mental hospital following the death of Ellen and Jo. Here are few short excerpts from that episode.
SAM: Last few weeks you’ve been kinda worrying me. DEAN: Oh, come on Sam, stop. Look, just because we’re in the loony-bin doesn’t give you the right to head-shrink me. SAM: Dean… DEAN: Ellen and Jo died. Yeah, it was a freaking tragedy. But I’m not going to wallow in it. SAM: Dean you always do this. You can’t just keep this crap in. DEAN: Watch me.
Dean is fully aware and even admits to Sam that he’s emotionally constipated and that he keeps things in, rather than dealing with them. As the episode continues he has multiple conversations with a psychiatrist who actually turns out to be a figment of his own mind/monster-induced psychosis, one of which includes the following exchange.
DEAN: I am fine, okay. I’m fine. THERAPIST: Come on, even you don’t believe that. All this pressure that you’re putting yourself under, all this guilt, it’s killing you.
Again this is him admitting to himself that he’s lying about being “okay” that he’s not handling it. And the episode ends with Dean counciling Sam to bury his feelings in order to function.
SAM: I’m mad all the time. And I don’t know why. DEAN: Stop…stop it. So what if you are? What are you gonna do? You gonna take a leave of absence? Say yes to Lucifer? What? SAM: No of course not - DEAN: Exactly. And that’s exactly what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna take all that crap and bury it, you’re going to forget about it because that’s how we keep going.
Hiding from emotions, lying to yourself, bottling up your feelings. Dean’s actual, earnest advice to his brother on how to be functional. But yes, clearly we as audience members should take all of his articulations about his feelings at face-value because he would never lie about something like that. >_>
Let’s jump to season 7, just after Cas has temporarily “died” and Bobby is trying to have an honest conversation about Dean’s feelings/mental state in “Hello Cruel World” (7.02).
BOBBY: And you? How are you doing? DEAN :Seriously Bobby, it ain’t like he’s hexed, you know? I mean, what if it’s the kind of crazy you can’t fix? BOBBY: Yeah, I’m – I’m worried too, but humor me for a second. How are you? DEAN: Who cares? Don’t you think our mailbox is a little full right now? I’m fine. BOBBY: Right. And weren’t you pissed at him when he said the same thing just a couple hours before he spilled his marbles all over the floor? DEAN: Yeah, well. [Pours himself a cup of coffee.] I’m not Sam, okay? I keep my marbles in a lead friggin’ box. I’m fine. Really. BOBBY: Of course. Yeah. You just lost one of the best friends you ever had, your brother’s in the bell jar, and Purgatory’s most wanted are surfing the sewer lines, but yeah, yeah, I get it. You’re – you’re fine. DEAN: Good. BOBBY: Course, if at any time you want to decide that’s utter horse crap, well I’ll be where I always am. Right here. DEAN: What, you want to do couples’ yoga, or you want to get back to hunting the big bads?
Dean keeps repeating he is fine, and Bobby insists that’s “horse crap” because it clearly is. Dean makes a snarky joke because that’s what he always does when people try to talk to him about his own emotional vulnerability. Are we starting to see a pattern? How loudly and repeatedly does the show have to bang on the Dean-lies-and-lives-in-perpetual-denial-about-his-feelings drum before people finally get it?
Let’s jump to season 10. Season 10 has been something of a treasure trove of these moments. Even for Supernatural it’s been heavy on the Dean is emotionally constipated themes. This of course is highly related to him having the mark of Cain and his internal struggle to deal with it.
10.09 (”The Things We Left Behind”) CAS: How are you Dean? DEAN: Fine. I’m great. CAS: No, you’re not.
10.11 (”There’s No Place Like Home”)
10.13 (”Halt and Catch Fire”)
10.17 (”Inside Man”)
Dean lies. Dean represses his feelings. Dean functions through denial. These are things the text reiterates over and over and over and over and over and over again. Dean is not a trustworthy narrator when it comes to his feelings. They have flat out told the audience this EXPLICITLY on NUMEROUS OCCASIONS. (Remember, these examples are only a small sample of the total number of times Supernatural has shown Dean to be a lying liar who lies)
I do not and cannot for the life of me understand why people think we should believe Dean when he says he “doesn’t swing that way” anymore than we believe him when he says he’s fine when he’s clearly NOT fine. I really am just utterly baffled by this line of reasoning. It is so facile, and so counter to even the most cursory reading of Supernatural as a text, given how hard they work to show Dean’s excessive propensity for lying, “repressed feelings” and denial.
“Sweetheart,” Dean said, looking right into her eyes, “I think you should...”
Careful! How you finish that line is gonna make-or-break how well you’ve captured Dean Winchester in that fic you’re working on. Why, you may ask? Keep reading. And to you who are familiar with this topic…
“Most of the time, I can hide it, but…I am angry. I’m mad at everything. I used to be mad at you and Dad, then Lilith, now it’s Lucifer, and I make excuses. I blame Ruby or the demon blood, but it’s not their fault. It’s not them. It’s me. It’s inside me. I’m mad… all the time… and I don’t know why.”
You were referred to me by a Dr. Babar in Chicago.
Isn’t there a children’s book about an elephant named Babar?
I don’t know. I don’t have any elephant books. Look doctor, I-I think the doctor was in over his head with this one (points at Sam). Cause my brother’s, uh... (whistles and makes circles with his finger).
Okay fine, thank you, that’s really not necessary. Why don’t you tell me how you’re feeling, Alex?
I’m fine. I mean, okay, a little depressed, I guess.
Alright. Any idea why?
Probably because I started the apocalypse.
Yeah. That’s right.
And you think you started it?
Well yeah. I mean, I killed this demon – Lilith – and I accidentally freed Lucifer from Hell. So now he’s topside, and we’re trying to stop him.
Me. Him. And this one angel.
Oh, you mean like a, like an angel on your shoulder.
No no. His name’s Castiel. He wears a trench coat.
See what I mean, doc? I mean the kid’s been beating himself up about this for months! The apocalypse wasn’t his fault.
No. There was this other demon, Ruby? She had him addicted to demon blood, I mean, near the end he was practically chugging the stuff. My brother’s not evil. He was just... high. Y'know, so, could you fix him up so we could get back to traveling around the country and hunting monsters?