I’ve been having a bit of a step back into the whole superhero comics fandom lately, and it’s sort of got me thinking about many things, but one thought in particular is really odd. It made me think of shipping and the habits people can have towards a pairing they either like, or dislike. I’ve found myself having this conversation with a few friends quite often lately. In it, I often say that while I enjoy the shipping aspect of fandom, having ships of preference myself, there are aspects of it that, for lack of a better explanation, confuse me.
One of the ways to best explain this would probably be to look at a relatively recent case from the Teen Wolf fandom. Now, having recently gotten interested in the show, and enjoying the plots and characters, I found myself looking towards the fandom to further fuel my interest. I was… overwhelmed with media for just one particular pairing. To an extent where, honestly and I’m not proud of this, I did find myself feeling a bit… disconnected from the rest of the fandom. I wasn’t particularly into this pairing. I don’t have anything against it, as such, but I personally do not see it as working. However, I know the Rules of Shipping, so I will let other ships what they want – ship on, people.
The problem arose when lead actor for the show, Tyler Posey, suggested that those who are watching this show for primarily this pairing probably aren’t watching it for the right reasons. I have to say, and again I do apologise for this, I couldn’t find myself disagreeing with him. Though admittedly it’s largely because I’m heavily invested in the plot this series, and really want to see what will happen. But, as what always happens when a ship is criticised, those parts of the fandom did not react well. This, along with reading the comics in which you could probably make an argument for pairing any of the named characters, got me to thinking. Are we too sensitive about our preferred ships? And, with that, do we take it too far?
Like many of the times I’ve come to you with my thoughts on a matter, dear Wanderers, I don’t actually have a straight cut answer. This time, I could perhaps give you a “…well, sort of, maybe, yeah…?” But since you are all intelligent people, I know that isn’t really going to satisfy you. Yet, I really don’t know how to explain myself further without sounding like I’m trying to insult people. I am honestly not. I think that shipping can be great fun, and it adds a new level of investment in the characters and media, and the passion people have for their ships is amazing to see. But… yeah, sometimes we can be a bit… overly sensitive when it comes to someone disagreeing with our own personal position on a ship.
I think, in a way, it’s due to the emotional connection you have with the characters in question. You feel so strongly for them, and what you perceive to be something that will possibly bring them happiness, that anyone suggesting otherwise can feel like they want to only bring the characters misery. Of course, logically we know that this isn’t the case, but that emotional reaction of anger or hurt can often be the first reaction we have. Of course, there are those who just go “…okay, so what do you think?” Those people are very lucky, and yes I know there are far more of them than I am likely aware of, but I’m having a stream of thought here.
When it comes to fandom, we can be over-sensitive to anything that we see to be a slight against the thing that brings us such joy, and it’s at these moments when – we have to openly admit – our reactions will not often be things we look back and be entirely happy with. Well, maybe, I’m not personally in anyone’s head other than my own, so I can’t be 100% positive on this. But… I think that maybe, just maybe, it might be a better idea to, borrowing a phrase here, grow a thicker skin. Fandom is fandom, it’s there for fun. It shouldn’t be causing you unnecessary pain and heartache and fighting among people who you thought were friends.
If I’m going to sum this up? Ship all you want. Just … remember it’s meant to be for fun.
Z McAspurren (Really not sure what brought this on)