am I sick from anxiety or am I actually physically ill? a memoir by me
am i lazy or horribly depressed: the sequel
does everyone hate me or am I just very insecure: the completion of the trilogy
"I Don’t Care." || A fanmix for Do Kyungsoo. (Hover over the song for the reason it was chosen.)
i.) 505 - Arctic Monkeys ii.) Dream On - Aerosmith iii.) I Don’t Care. - Fall Out Boy iv.) Lonely Hearts Club - Marina and the Diamonds v.) Rooting For My Baby - Miley Cyrus vi.) Nails For Breakfast Tacks For Snacks - Panic at the Disco vii.) Eyes As Candles - Passion Pit viii.) Lisztomania - Phoenix ix.) No Friends - San Cisco x.) You Talk Way Too Much - The Strokes xi.) Billionaire - Travie McCoy xii.) Come Back Home - Two Door Cinema Club xiii.) Everybody’s Gonna Let You Down - The Vaccines xiv.) Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa - Vampire Weekend xv.) 51 Minutes Ago - Nell xvi.) Baby I’m Yours - The Arctic Monkeys xvii.) Bad Mood - The Vaccines xviii.) Breezleblocks - Alt-J
Here’s to Frakking Friday y’all
Okay, the “mom” part of the trope name isn’t something of which I’m terribly fond. Being a single dad who’s the primary caregiver for my kids, it would be nice if society didn’t gender home and family caring in that way, but it does. So let’s just look past that word and take it for what it means. First though, let’s look at what the mom part DOESN’T mean.
It doesn’t mean that the author is feminizing Stiles. It doesn’t mean that they’re assigning feminine traits to the “bottom” in a gay relationship. In any given fic, Stiles might not be the bottom but still be characterized with the Pack Mom trope. It doesn’t mean they’re ‘heterosexualizing’ a homosexual relationship. It doesn’t mean they’re ‘Mary Sue-ing’ Stiles if the author is female. It means that they’re putting Stiles in the position of the person who does the primary caring for the needs of the pack. Because we live in a fucked up society where ‘dad’ doesn’t carry the same caring connotation that ‘mom’ does, the name of the trope is ‘Pack Mom Stiles’. That’s all there is to that. No need to write tons of meta about all that other nonsense with regards to Stiles. But I’m all behind you if you want to write about how screwed up it is that dads can’t be assumed to be as caring as moms are in general. Because boy is that one of my huge pet peeves in life.
Now that that’s out of the way, onward. What is a ‘Pack Mom’? Again, let’s start by what it’s not. It’s not someone who is caring about everybody equally. Remember, it’s PACK mom. Meaning everyone outside the pack comes second to the pack bonds. A pack mom is fiercely defensive of the members of his or her pack. Think of a mama wolf and her cubs. Come between them at your own peril. But someone else? Mama wolf will look up, arch an eyebrow, and go back to her nap. She doesn’t care about anyone outside her small group of family/pack.
Which is why it’s such a perfect trope for Stiles and not for Scott.
Scott cares about everyone, pack or not. Sure, he cares more for his pack and his family than a complete stranger, but he doesn’t value them to the point of letting them put a stranger at risk. Stiles does. Stiles doesn’t give a flying fig about anyone outside his select group of friends and family. Some outsider being a problem? Kill them, let them die, whatever. He doesn’t care.
Scott will keep trying to find a solution that saves everyone, even if it puts one of his pack/friends/family in momentary danger, even if it means lying to his pack/friends/family, even if it means taking away their bodily autonomy. Look at how he lets Deucalion live after he threatened his mom. Same for Peter. He is fine with them continuing to be potential risks to the person he loves most in the entire universe because he values all lives equally. He would sacrifice himself if it is for the ‘greater good’ outside the pack ties. Those are the perfect characteristics for a traditional ‘hero’ but not for a ‘pack mom’.
Stiles is so not like that! He has a lot of the same traits as Scott does. He’s brave and can be just as selfless. The difference is, he will only do it for those he cares about. Only for his pack. He’s also got traits that Scott doesn’t that come in good stead for a pack mom. His ruthlessness, his willingness to let someone else suffer if it means his pack is safe, his pragmatism, his ‘evil sensing’ ability, his ability to lie, and his cynicism. He uses these traits in canon to protect the people he loves. Sure, that’s a very small group. At the start it’s only his dad and Scott and Lydia (though he’s not above calling her cold and putting her on the list of suspects.)
The pack mom trope doesn’t change Stiles’ character, it simply expands the pool of people he’s willing to consider ‘his’. That’s a very small change from canon, actually. We see signs of that expansion already in the show. He’s beginning to think of the rest of his gang of friends in that way. Sure, within it there’s a hierarchy still. Just like a mama Alpha wolf will put her own cubs above those of a Beta if push comes to shove and she can only save one batch. No one will ever eclipse Stiles’ dad’s place in that hierarchy. Then comes Scott, then the others, probably in a constantly shifting order. But I think that we’re seeing Derek taking a pretty steady place at #3, what with how interested Stiles was in him during ‘Visionary’.
Thing is, the accusation against the Pack Mom Stiles trope is that it takes Scott’s characteristics and ‘gives’ them to Stiles. It doesn’t. It takes characteristics that the two boys share, but in different forms, and expands upon them. They are both caring individuals. It’s just the form that caring takes is drastically different.
If anyone wrote a fic that had Stiles defending some random person’s life on an equal basis with someone in his pack, then yeah, I’d be first in line to jump in and call it OOC. But that’s not what I see when I’m reading PackMom!Stiles fic.
The other thing that people pick at with the pack mom trope for Stiles goes back to that feminization idea. Stiles cooking for the pack. Doing the housework. Taking care of their ‘den’. They say this is OOC for him, but I disagree. He and his dad have been managing on their own for eight years. His dad works a more than full-time job. Stiles would have had to have helped out around the house. He’s not going to be your stereotypical teenage boy who doesn’t know which end of a vacuum cleaner to use. That would be more likely to be Scott, who is being raised by a single mom. Single moms tend to take on more of the burden of all that solo, not wanting to put it on their kids, and dealing with all the guilt that society puts on women about home care.
Stiles and his dad would be more likely to take a pragmatic approach to divvying up the chores, both because they’re guys and because their characters are that sort of pragmatic types. The Sheriff doesn’t have the weight of society’s guilt on him if his son does the laundry. Melissa does. So having Stiles be the one to gripe about another batch of bloody t-shirts he has to clean after a fight isn’t unbelievable or OOC. It’s certainly not taking a Scott trait from him. And it’s only feminizing if you’re saying that only women do laundry. In a household made up of two guys, someone has to do the cooking and cleaning, and that’s going to be a guy, so the task loses it’s feminine connotations within that context. I doubt Stiles thinks of cooking or cleaning as doing ‘women’s work’, since it’s something he’s been helping out with since he was 8.
Looking at who’s in the Hale-McCall pack, it’s going to likely be Stiles or Isaac who wind up doing the den care. They’d probably fall into doing it without even thinking about it or realizing that they’re doing it, because they’re both from similar family backgrounds in that their family is made up of two guys on their own. They’d probably even fall into doing it more than Lydia or Allison would, because both of those girls seem to be the type who would resist being pegged for it and not just get up and start doing it when it needed doing. Whereas Isaac or Stiles would see an empty glass or a dirty plate on the coffee table and pick it up on their way to the kitchen just because they’re used to doing that at home. Derek too. Derek would be the type to pick up after himself because he hasn’t had a mother to do it for him for a long time and Laura would’ve been working. Whereas those with intact families or with mothers, would still be into the whole teenager thing of ‘mom will do it’. Allison has lost her mother, but it was so recent that she’s probably not yet adjusted out of that attitude.
Which makes for Pack Mom Stiles.
I mentioned Isaac would also be likely to do den care. Why not Pack Mom Isaac? Because Isaac is a Beta wolf. In Sterek fics, which is where the pack mom Stiles trope occurs, Stiles is Derek’s partner/mate/what-have-you. Which puts him in the ‘Alpha bitch’ role within pack dynamics, even though he isn’t a werewolf. Even with Scott as the Alpha now and Derek not, Scott is unattached and Allison is an unlikely candidate for den-carer/pack mom. She’s never been shown in canon as particularly caring in that way.
Other issues might turn up depending on how the pack dynamics of the Hale and McCall packs sort themselves out in the future. But most fics with the pack mom Stiles trope assume a combined pack with Scott and Derek as equals or with Derek still the Alpha.
The TL;DR of this whole thing?
1) Pack Mom Stiles isn’t a change of Stiles’ character or OOC for him. Stiles is shown to be very protective, caring, and nurturing for the select group of people he considers ‘his’. The pack mom trope simply expands that group of people to include the pack in addition to his dad, Scott, and Lydia.
2) Pack Mom Stiles isn’t about putting Stiles in a traditionally feminine role or heterosexualizing a homosexual relationship. The traits needed to be the person who cares for the pack’s den and well-being are already there in Stiles’ character. It is based on the canon events of being a boy raised by a single dad and on the wolf pack dynamic of being Derek’s partner/mate.
I was gonna write a thing about Pack Mom Stiles but then I found this and well. It says everything I wanted to say and more.