True Blood, Please Don’t Perpetuate the “Rugged Werewolf Hunk” Stereotype. Oops, Too Late!

Let’s play a game! One of the people in this photo is portraying a werewolf. Which one could it be?

I have only one rule when watching network TV: the show I am watching must be Dexter. True Blood fails this test, and now that I’ve seen this photo of Joe Manganiello as werewolf Alcide Herveaux, I’m obliged to report that the show has failed in another, more crucial way: it promotes the ridiculous and insulting “Rugged Werewolf Hunk” stereotype. This is a phenomenon I have just made up, but consider the evidence.

Joe Manganiello was hired to play a werewolf. Here we see him wearing a plaid lumberjack-style shirt. “Put this on,” he was told. “This is what a werewolf wears. Don’t forget to unbutton the top three buttons, to imply a burly man-chest.” Note the carefully sculpted hair and the full (but carefully trimmed) beard. The result is a figure you might recognize from the covers of countless trashy supernatural romance novels: the Rugged Werewolf Hunk. Dangerous… but tender. Manly… but sensitive. This is the best image that marketing people can come up with when they want to make a werewolf attractive to the average woman. You know he smells like Old Spice and leather, and although he’s a beast he’ll never forget your birthday.

This is what they did to poor, poor Joe Manganiello. To be extra-certain that no one would misinterpret his character’s species, someone asked him to stand in front of a painting of a wolf silhouetted by a full moon and put on his best “hunted” expression.

Now where have I seen this before? Oh yes. I have one of these on my shelf.