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Meta rec and Very Scientific Poll 
9th-Jun-2013 09:35 pm
bardicvoice has written some great meta on why we see Sam and Dean differently: The Rainbow Connection, or Can You See What I See?

I like the ideas presented - it all makes perfect sense to me. It should help people realise that it's OK to see the show differently and arguing about it (read "being nasty") isn't going to achieve much. I think discussing is valuable because I think sharing the differing views can be interesting. Though, as bardicvoice's put it - "You're going to believe what you believe no matter what I say, unless I happen upon an explanation that fits your emotional reality and both allows and persuades you to change your point of view. Trust me, those occasions are few and far between".

She also refers to an article written about why we connect to fictional characters in such a passionate way. This is fascinating also.

If you enjoy this type of analysis I highly recommend it.

She can't answer what it is in each of our personalities that makes us respond the way we do, unfortunately. I imagine such a study would be extraordinarily difficult.

However...I did wonder if we might be able to do a highly (un)scientific survey to see if there's anything we can pin down that make us either a Sam!person or a Dean!person or a both bro!person.

I think of myself as a Sam!girl (who adores Dean <333). I often wonder what draws me to Sam and I think I can simply put it down to:

1) He's the younger brother
2) He has long hair
3) I find Jared ridiculously attractive

(I find Jensen ridiculously attractive too. I love Dean and there's no way I would adore Sam the way I do without Dean being there).

In most TV/film partnerships I've always favored the younger of a pair - Luke over Han, AJ over Rick (Simon and Simon), Stephen over Mike (in the Tomorrow People). I have no idea why that is. I've sometimes wondered if it has anything to do with my position in my family. I am the eldest.

Which makes me wonder if the way we favour either Sam or Dean has anything to do with whether or not we have younger or older siblings? (I think not, but it might be fun to see if there is any trend).

Poll #1918144 A Very Scientific Survey

I consider myself a Dean!person and I...

Have a younger sibling/s
Have an older sibling/s
Have a younger and older sibling/s
Have no siblings

I consider myself a Sam!person and I....

Have a younger sibling/s
Have an older sibling/s
Have a younger and older sibling/s
Have no siblings

I consider myself neither a Dean!person or Sam!person (bi bro all the way!) and I....

Have a younger sibling/s
Have an older sibling/s
Have a younger and older sibling/s
Have no siblings

I chose not to participate in this survey because...

I am not as crazy as you
You're going to use these results to make sweeping generalizations
I refuse to encourage this type of unscientific research
I'd rather not reveal who I favour
I'd rather not reveal my family details
You didn't include Cas!persons! You meanie!
By clicking this I'm participating.

It's just for fun (and I'm curious...). In all honesty I imagine there are a number of factors dictating not only the way we sympathise with a particular character but also how we interpret story lines and "see" the show. I don't know how you'd ever find out what makes one person see it one way and other a different way. It would be quite a study I should imagine.
9th-Jun-2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
I kind of cheated and claimed to be a Dean!person, a Sam!person and both because I've been all at various times over the course of the show.

9th-Jun-2013 01:54 pm (UTC)
Ha! I've been trying to figure out how that works...I didn't factor in people who changed.... See now, how am I going to be able to write that up in a scientific journal?! ;)

9th-Jun-2013 01:56 pm (UTC)
^ What colls said. I, too clicked both Dean!person and Sam!person, as I started watching SPN as a Sam!girl, kinda gravitated to Dean along the way, and now I'll fight for them both. :D
9th-Jun-2013 02:23 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah - I will always fight for both of them. And they are a set to me. Can't have one without the other. :)

I'm not really sure why I think of myself as a Sam!girl - I think it might be because I gravitate to Sam fic - though Dean always has to be in them. Hmmm...I'm not sure. It's the little bro syndrome I think.


9th-Jun-2013 02:02 pm (UTC)
I'm a Dean person who adores Sam. Sam has shaped Dean into the character I love, so I love Sam.
What draws me to Dean?
1) He is ridiculously pretty - but that on its own would not be enough so
2) He is willing to sacrifice himself (not just for Sam but for other people too)
3) He loves with all his heart
4) He hurts so good
5) He's funny and has a childlike love of life

I'm an only child so don't identify with either brother in that respect and I don't know if I've favoured the older or younger one in the partnership shows I've been attached to in the past - usually I think I favoured the one with darker hair! (Hannibal Heyes in Alias Smith & Jones, the dark one in Lancer, Tonto in the Lone Ranger, Starsky over Hutch...)
9th-Jun-2013 02:27 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah - I have to say I love all those things about Dean to. I've been trying to put together a "10 things I love about Dean Winchester" post for a while...I think I'll have to do that soon...;)

I was thinking about my preferences for partners when the age isn't specified. Starsky and Hutch are dead set equal, but I favored Doyle over Bodie in The Professionals (I think the hair and the sensitivity)...
9th-Jun-2013 02:33 pm (UTC)
yay one clicky!

(what? it's tv, so I'm allowed to be shallow and superficial)

Omg yes. Whenever I'm asked why I like SPN my first answers is always...have you see how hot the leads are? Hee...then of course I have to say it's a bit more than just that, but the way they look is RIGHT UP THERE!! I'm not ashamed...;)

Dean hits a different set of buttons to the ones Sam hits - I love Dean's kick ass, quirky, bad boy, protective!big bro, HOTASS gorgeousness and Sam is just...those damn puppy eyes and the misunderstood little bro who's fighting his shitty destiny. *hearts* 'em both.

9th-Jun-2013 02:17 pm (UTC)
I clicked both for Dean and for BiBro because even as a Deangirl I enjoy Sam too much. And both together are the best possible scenario anyway.

Looking back to other fandoms and who I like most there, I tend to go for specific personality types. It's nice if they come in nice packaging, such as Dean running around in a Jensen Ackles suit but ultimately I have a thing for tragic grey-ish personalities, with a sense of humor and easily underappreciated.
9th-Jun-2013 02:42 pm (UTC)
Ooh yes that's it exactly "tragic grey-ish personalities, with a sense of humor and easily underappreciated."
9th-Jun-2013 02:38 pm (UTC)
I think I might have some kind of knee-jerk defensive reaction when it comes to the boys, either of the boys. I came into fandom bi-bro at the start of season five, but with the random and almost constant Sam-hate going on then, I found myself defending him (at least to myself) more often than not--and suddenly I found myself a Sam!girl.

Now I see more, well, not Dean hate, but perhaps Dean maligning at the very least, on my dash, and it's making me go, "Hey, wait a minute, I don't think that's true..." Especially when it comes to this idea that Dean loves Sam as a concept or object. (I've had a somewhat dissenting essay 3/4 written since de_nugis' excellent write-up of 8.23, but no time to actually engage, argh. I miss being fully active in fandom.)
9th-Jun-2013 02:44 pm (UTC)
I'd never hate on either brother - however much I root for Dean, I always root for Sam too. I think both of them have done wrong/stupid things and both of them have been self sacrificing heroes and thus hold my heart.
9th-Jun-2013 03:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the link to the cool article! So, so true. As someone who's always gravitated to the more serious, less quirky half of a duo, I remember spending a lot of energy defending characters I fell for in the past against accusations of "boring, black and white, judgmental, predictable," etc. I finally realized one day that I could defend them all I wanted—it was never going to change the popularity of the characters I loved in fandom.

Part of the reason I've loved Supernatural for so long is that I do feel very bibro, but my feelings for Sam and Dean are very different. I identify with Dean so hard. Most of the stories I've written are from his POV. At first, I loved Sam because Dean loved Sam. But as the character of Sam grew, I did exactly what that article describes—found myself coloring in the lines with my own paint set. I think the show did that for us with Dean, whereas there are still huge unfinished areas of the picture with Sam. Maybe that's why my love affair with Sam in particular continues after all this time (and in spite of lackluster writing). I still love Dean, but I don't find myself thinking about him nearly as much. I feel like I already know him. Of course, it's my version of him, but still. We've reached the happily married, slightly boring portion of the relationship. :D Sam is still the mysterious stranger in my life, even after 8 years.

ETA: p.s. Since we're talking Starsky & Hutch (♥), Starsky is my exception that proves the rule about falling for the serious one. I blame PMG.

Edited at 2013-06-09 03:03 pm (UTC)
9th-Jun-2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
found myself coloring in the lines with my own paint set. I think the show did that for us with Dean, whereas there are still huge unfinished areas of the picture with Sam.

So intriguing -- and so spot-on. I do feel as if I "know" Dean, while Sam remains somewhat of an enigma.

I blame PMG.

*seconds that emotion*
9th-Jun-2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
I haven't read the article but i had to click the circles!!

i have a thing about tall,dark and handsome.

my husband is tall dark and handsome.

my first tv obsession, Mulder (David Duchovny) *swoon* is tall dark and handsome and omg he ages well.....

and Sam, tall dark and handsome and he hurts so gooooood. first show i ever saw, "Bloody Mary" turned on TNT right at the confrontation in the mirror, bleeding eyes and the guilt and the face, i was hooked.

Dean is a cutie, but he doesn't get my hurt engine going like Sammy does.
10th-Jun-2013 12:39 pm (UTC)
Ah yes - tall dark and handsome. *happy sigh* though I don't think I have a type for that. Luke smashes that one. And AJ...

But Sam getting my hurt engine going? FOR SURE!! In fact, that might be way I consider myself a Sam girl. I like seeing Sam hurt but I find it difficult to read Dean being really hurt. I mean - I like it (I'm just a sucker like that) but Sam hits my button harder...;)

(Sometimes I can't read hurt!Dean because it stresses me too much. I have no idea why. I think because I need Dean strong and if he's hurt then I feel like things are bad bad! Though I love it when Sam give comfort. I don't even know...;D)

9th-Jun-2013 03:22 pm (UTC)
I too find it fascinating to analyze why some fans favor one brother over the other. (I'm strictly bi-bro all the way!) It is one thing to have a preference, but it's the 'I must tear down the other' mentality that I find so disturbing...and telling.

What I have noticed is that there tends to be a type of fan personality that needs to denigrate one of the bros, and someday I might try to put my thoughts in writing. Note I am not addressing people who have a preference, but rather the people who are vitriolic in defense of their chosen brother. I'm not trying to start any flame wars here!!! And it's just my incomplete, unscientific generalization without in-depth analysis.

I see Sam-bashers as tending to be overly-responsible caregiver types. Not only do they identify with Dean, but they use Sam as the target for their frustration for themselves having to deal with feeling like they give and give and never get appreciated and never see the object of their own situation as accepting responsibilty.

Dean-bashers, OTOH, feel Dean persecutes Sam for poor decisions that weren't Sam's fault, and it reflects a bit of their feeling that it's not their fault that life is tough, it's outside circumstances that are responsible for their situation.

I like Sam because he has such empathy. I like Dean because he has such a great heart. Sam frustrates me because he beats himself up. Dean frustrates me because he thinks he's responsible for everything. Each brother is who he is because of being brothers...and they both make me crazy because they don't communicate! They are both emotionally messed-up and I pity anyone in a relationship with either one. What I really want, and have wanted since I started watching, is to sit the two of them down and guide them through learning how to talk to each other honestly. I've always wanted to mother them...which probably makes me really weird...

Edited at 2013-06-09 03:26 pm (UTC)
9th-Jun-2013 09:23 pm (UTC)
but I am quite sure I'm an overly-responsible caregiver, and I identify with Sam:)
9th-Jun-2013 03:38 pm (UTC)
it's funny - I see some people have switched from one guy to another as they watch. I have never done that. I've been a Sam girl since the beginning (and Hutch over Starsky). But I love their relationships with Dean, with Starsky - these are what makes the show(s) truly special. I really, really dislike and have no time for haters.

Also,my sibling is deceased, though I answered as if he were still around.
10th-Jun-2013 12:59 pm (UTC)
I think it is indeed their relationship to the other that makes them so easy to love. None of them would be who they are without the other I reckon. A show called "Hutch" or "Starsky" - wouldn't have hit the buttons "Starsky and Hutch" did. :))
9th-Jun-2013 03:57 pm (UTC)
Dean person here. Eldest child (2 younger brothers). Grew up a tomboy (not sure that's even relevant, but whatever.)

I'm like you in that I love Dean almost because of Sam. I doubt I'd care as much about Dean if Sam wasn't there. And I love Sam as well. In fiction I've always gravitated to the Han Solo-type characters. Wise-asses, bad boys (who aren't really bad, just pretend to be) with hearts of gold, I guess.

Loyalty is a core value of mine. So Dean is pretty much tailor made to hit me in my core. I see loyalty has a huge thing for Dean. When someone betrays his loyalty it effects him deeply.

Plus it doesn't hurt that he is just a tad good looking (as is Sam.)

And I know this really shouldn't matter, it's fiction after all, but my enjoyment and investment in stories and characters can be influenced by the people creating/portraying said stories/characters. If I happen to find out someone is a douchebag in RL, I find that I can no longer enjoy a story or character even though previously I really liked them. Happened for me with Grey's Anatomy, which is a show I normally wouldn't watch, but my daughter got me hooked. Until one day I happened to read about some crap about conflict between two of the actors (one of whom was a douchebag) and all of a sudden I couldn't watch anymore. Ridiculous, but there you are. I mention all this because I think the fact that the folks behind SPN being generally awesome/genuine may be what tipped my enjoyment of this show into obsession.

And in that vein, the fact that Jared and Jensen are people I really admire & respect in RL, makes my enjoyment of both of the characters extra deep.

Edited at 2013-06-09 03:58 pm (UTC)
9th-Jun-2013 04:10 pm (UTC)
What I find really interesting is that so far the majority of people, no matter which brother they prefer, are older siblings. I wonder if that says something about Supernatural itself, or maybe it says something about your followers? So weird!
9th-Jun-2013 04:17 pm (UTC)
I don't think a person's family life has any set relation on how they identify with these characters, mostly because I think if we decide that then we get into murky territory with the ridiculous argument I've seen people throw around that if you ship incest in fandom it's because something ain't right with your IRL family relationships.

It can definitely influence certain individuals on a personal front--I, for example, love both boys in really different ways, to the point where I don't really know which one I prefer, but there have been moments when I have gotten really intense identifications with Sam, though I think that was more about our having lost parents too young to remember them and not knowing how to respond to/being kind of jealous of our older siblings ability to fully mourn for that parent. So it both was and wasn't a younger sibling thing, it was very particular to our situation, but it gave me a lot of sympathy for Sam in an episode when with past mistakes were being paraded (Dark Side of the Moon), so that helped me hold onto my Sam love then (although, frankly, I don't think it was at risk, that season's Sam is my favorite Sam and I fucking adore the ways in which he is flawed, they get to me more than maybe anything else about him). I've never identified with Dean that intensely (I wish I was that selfless and good, lol), but I also don't choose favorites based on who I feel is most like me. I don't know if any of this is helpful or informative, just blahing.

9th-Jun-2013 11:40 pm (UTC)
the ridiculous argument I've seen people throw around that if you ship incest in fandom it's because something ain't right with your IRL family relationships.

Haha, yes, this. Because I always say I identify with Dean, and I have a little brother whom I love, but—NO NO THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD OF NO.
9th-Jun-2013 04:46 pm (UTC)
I consider myself bibro with Sam leanings, so I clicked Sam!girl, but I obviously love Dean to a ridiculous degree as well. My love for Sam comes from over-identification issues, I guess. I relate to him very strongly, because I share a lot of his character traits and some of his personal history, so I always feel like I know where he is coming from. I am the oldest of 3 sisters and I have been a caretaker for my youngest sister in her first couple of years, so I relate to that aspect of Dean as well, but that's about where the similarities between us end. I agree with those who said that a lot of the love/sympathy for the characters comes from seeing them through the eyes of their respective brother. As much as I love both of them individually, they are most interesting to me when they are together. Neither Sam, nor Dean would hold my investment on their own or with other characters for an extended period of time.
10th-Jun-2013 02:09 pm (UTC)
I can't really identify anything of myself in either of the characters. Being the eldest is the closest I come to being anything like Dean. I think there might be something in associating with the underdog - I tend to do that in RL, so it might be that aspect of Sam's character that I'm attracted to (it might also explain why I didn't love Soulless!Sam as much as many did. Jared did an awesome job but that Sam was not a Sam I identified with at all. In fact, I think I wept quite a bit during those eps).

Neither Sam, nor Dean would hold my investment on their own or with other characters for an extended period of time.

Word! No way. If the show ever became about one of the boys then that would be it for me.
9th-Jun-2013 05:07 pm (UTC)
I'm rushed this morning--I really should come back and read the responses before I comment, but that would be tomorrow and who knows what could happen? I have no siblings. I could have used somebody to share the blame, actually.

I was a Dean girl all the way first half of first season. I thought Sam was a whiny brat, but you know, Dean loved that kid and there had to be a reason. So I started looking at Sam from Dean's POV. And then Faith. And complete Sam-love.

I still experienced the show through Dean's POV until season three, where his regard of Dean was so painful and poignant I couldn't help but be drawn into his headspace. And I've been bi-bro ever since.

In latter seasons, I have wanted to smack Dean for his lack of empathy where Sam's concerned. He loves him, but he doesn't get him, and never has. And also? The next time he dumps Sam at a motel and drives off, "I'm going out" again, leaving Sam like luggage, to quote Meg.1, may be the time I move more solidly to Sam's POV.

Um. Well, you did ask.
10th-Jun-2013 02:18 pm (UTC)
I did ask and thank you..:)

I like hearing about how people view that characters, especially when it changes. I'm on Sam's side but I also wanna smack him upside the head for not even attempting to look for his brother! Sheesh (but I blame the writers for that not him). I'm mad at him for a few things but I will always adore him. I tend to be more forgiving of Dean for some reason (except him throwing a tantrum and throwing away the amulet...no forgiveness Dean!!) - but I get that Sam is hard to understand so I forgive that he can't quite figure out how to deal with him at times. But then Sam doesn't make it easy because he never opens up to him. ARGHH! So messy - but so lovely...;)))

9th-Jun-2013 11:50 pm (UTC)
Hmmm....so is it just the case that lots of people I happen to gravitate to in fandom are also oldest siblings? Interesting...

I can't even imagine the character of Dean without Sam and vice versa. They define each other, and what I love most about each of them is how they feel about the other.
10th-Jun-2013 01:13 pm (UTC)
I know! What is that? I feel like this has revealed something I didn't even expect.

And they most definitely define each other. And I totally adore that about them. <33
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