I felt like I was going to do this at some point. This sort of thing. This explanation of why I love this character so much.
Dean Winchester. A lot of people on this Tumblr thing think of him as one of the most well written male characters on TV right now. And I agree with them.
Dean Winchester was once a little boy in a marriage that was falling apart at the seams. He was the kid who “wuved hugs” and would comfort his mom about his drunkard of a dad (who was probably abusive. I mean, hell, what happened to John Winchester? He was a way nicer guy before supernatural things that were wiped from his mind happened to him). He lived a life where his mom made him pies and cut the crusts off his sandwiches. He was a normal, four year old boy who played t-ball.
Then Azazel came. Mary interrupted him feeding Sammy demon blood and Azazel lit her up like a Christmas tree. Dean saw his mother die from that fire on the ceiling. He saw his father give him his baby brother and tell him to run out of the house and not look back. With all the responsibility he took already in comforting his mom while his father fought with her, this was just another hardship a four year old boy should never have on his shoulders-the life of someone younger than themselves, the life of his little brother. But Dean was strong. He saved his brother from those flames. And John somehow got out alive as well.
If feel like when Mary was alive, Dean was allowed to express himself more in a way that was natural to him. I feel like he was allowed to like things that weren’t exactly “masculine”, to “wuv hugs”, and to just be a kid in general. But after her unfortunately fated demise, Dean was stuck with the father who constantly fought with his mother, the father who put his wife on a pedestal after she died and cared more about revenge than he did about giving his children a stable life, allowing Dean to be expressive, to not just be “macho”, to have a childhood.
Maybe it was because Dean was the oldest. Maybe it was because of how Dean acted a lot like Mary (and still does). But John Winchester was harder on Dean than he ever was on Sammy. He treated Dean as if he was worthless if he didn’t do everything he was told and did it perfectly.
Dean became the surrogate mother to Sam. He was the one who took care of Sam unless they were looked after by someone like Bobby. We know there was a lot of verbal abuse and possibly even physical abuse (I’m pretty sure there was). I’m sure Dean took the brunt of it. When Dean stopped talking for a period of time as a child, Dean was ignored by John. When Dean was six, he learned how to shoot. Sammy didn’t even know for sure that monsters even existed until he was maybe eight.
There were no teachers who believed Dean could be a good student or even encouraged him. It wasn’t like John would encourage him-he wanted his son to hunt monsters, to help him in his suicidal plot for revenge. For the most part, Dean became a very lonely kid and teenager who’s world revolved around protecting Sammy and trying to gain the approval his father never quite gave him.
I feel like there were a lot of things that made Dean a man John would never approve of. I’ve said before that there are a lot of parallels between Dean’s personality and Mary’s personality as well as how they looked aesthetically. I feel like part of John’s problems with fully approving of Dean was the fact that he was so much like his mother that it was painful for John and made John question how “macho” Dean could really be. I feel like he also had a sense from an early age that Dean was too empathetic, that Dean was too sensitive, that Dean had too much heart for his own good, and I bet that scared John, who knew Mary was probably the one who could relate to Dean on that matter, not himself, and that probably pained him as well.
The Dean now is only just starting to show his nerdiness. I bet when he was younger, he may have shown interest in things John may have marked in his mind as “unmanly” and “uncool” and John quickly put a stop to it. In that respect, Dean was never as strong as Sam-he could never let his father down if he could help it.
So Dean tried to be the man his father wanted him to be. He tried to harden himself, he tried to act tough, he tried to show his rejection towards things that he may have liked if given the permission to like them, he did his best to do everything and more to be the image of “manliness” his father always wanted him to be and never quite got it.
Though Dean, for the most part, did search for this approval, want to be the man his father wanted him to be, he had a chance to get out. When he was sixteen, he was caught trying to steal food for him and his brother after he lost their food money and was sent to a home for delinquent boys. There, he found normalcy, he found a father figure who was proud of him and believed in him, friends who encouraged him, a girlfriend who he shared his first kiss with, a sense of belonging.
He got good grades. He was part of the wrestling team, won trophies for them. He expressed that he didn’t want to be a hunter, that he just got used to the idea because he knew that was what his father wanted from him. He wanted to be a rockstar, he wanted to be a mechanic, he had dreams and aspirations he expressed that he would have never told a soul if he was still with his father at the time.
There was a time in Dean Winchester’s life where he was becoming secure with himself, and that was all taken away when John-who had said months earlier that Dean could rot in jail for trying to keep Sammy and himself fed-came by to pick him up right before Dean could go to his first Dance.
It wasn’t his father who drew him in, no, his father knew too well what Dean cared about at the end of the day. It was Sammy who brought him back. When he saw Sam, he knew he couldn’t leave him alone with John. He didn’t want John’s focus all on Sam, he didn’t want Sam to suffer like that.
So he left the healthiest home he ever stayed in in order to protect Sam, severely backtracking in character development due to John’s presence. We all know all his character development was taken away after that, we saw how he acted in “After School Special”. Dean Winchester became cynical about school, uncomfortable once more about love, convinced himself that hunting was what he wanted to do.
I believe that after his stay in the delinquent home was when he started using his sexuality as a tool. It shows from the differences between unexperienced Dean in “Bad Boys” and the extremely experienced Dean in “After School Special”. Jensen has also alluded to the fact that Dean may have done more than just hustling to keep Sam and himself alive at times. It makes me wonder whether he had always stuck to girls or if he has indeed had experiences with guys. It wasn’t like John was around to see who he was sleeping with for money or just sex in general.
Dean did not finish high school. At some point in time, he got a GED, which is great because it shows he does care about his education to a degree, even if he probably didn’t finish high school due to pressure from his father and the need to take care of Sam.
When Sam left him with John, I bet it got worse. Dean had no connection to his sensitivity through his love of Sam. He had nowhere to turn to, no real friends, the first person he really liked dumped him when he tried to explain what his family really did, and he was stuck with a man who had kept an unhealthy grudge towards a demon for over a decade. I bet Dean became more and more insecure, more and more closed off to other people and making connections.
When John was finally gone from their lives, I feel like Dean was able to become more secure with himself. Each season, he’s allowed himself more and more to show parts of himself that Beginning of Season 1 Dean would probably never had admitted to.
He’s allowed himself to cry. Allowed himself to believe in people other than his dad and Sam. He’s allowed himself to make stronger bonds with people around him like Jo, Ellen, Bobby, Garth, Benny, and Cas. He’s allowed himself to dress in clothes that may not be John’s idea of “macho” clothes. He’s allowed himself to realize that he doesn’t have to sleep with every other girl he sees, that maybe it’s okay that he may not just like girls, but perhaps like boys as well, something I bet John would have disowned him for or tried to have beaten out of him.
He’s allowed himself to like the nerdy things he likes, to like LARPing, transformers, and the Hunger Games. He’s started to believe that, no, I’m not just the muscle, I have brains, I’m smart too. He’s beginning to believe that people will not just up and leave him, that if he fights for it, he can keep the people he loves, or at least, some of them. He’s okay with cooking, okay with becoming comfortable in one place, to “nest” and do things his father may have found effeminate.
Do you remember the Dean in “It’s a Terrible Life” (4.17)?
You know, what Dean would have been like with loving parents and no supernatural interference? A young, hardworking business man who’s okay with being metrosexual and may be showing that he is bi and okay with that? The dude who eats salads and goes on cleansing diets? The guy who’s secure with himself and is happy and okay?
We know Dean will probably not get there. Dean’s been screwed over by life and that just sucks like a bucket of ticks. But that doesn’t mean he can’t get close.
What I’m trying to say is that Dean is the character that has gone through the most character development. He’s a dynamic character at its finest and it’s beautiful watching him grow. He has gone through so many hardships. He’s gone through so much mental and physical abuse. He’s been to Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and Earth. He’s starting to tackle monsters that only lived inside him, not just the ones that are in the outside world. He’s coming to grips with who he is, what he wants to become, what type of man he wants to be, not what his father wants him to be, and he’s okay with that. He represents the average human, the nonsupernatural man tackling supernatural problems, and many see him as the best hunter they know. That’s why I love Dean.
Ugh, this post was so long, jeez. I hope this was organized enough.
Since you have gone through my crazy long post about why I love Dean, you deserve a reward.
So, enjoy this gif of Jensen dancing and thank you for reading my spiel.