1. Oldmanofthemountain

    Oldmanofthemountain Member

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    Thoughts on “shipping control” in fandoms?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Oldmanofthemountain, Jul 19, 2020.

    What are your thoughts on the common fan practice of pitying any two or more characters of entertainment franchise in a relationship?

    Me personally, I view “shipping” as a mostly harmless past time. If that is what keeps you entertained, then go with it. I will not oppose you in any shape or form. However, I do have some problems with the “shipping” subculture in fandoms:

    1.Entitlement among the vocal minorities:

    Don’t get me wrong, the overwhelming majority of fans are not maliciously entitled. However, I’ve heard quite a number of horror stories surrounding toxic “shippers”.

    There are about two specific cases that pop up in my mind. One is the Voltron voice actors that got death threats over the show not canonizing a particular ship. The other one is a Steven Universe storyboard artist that had to delete their Twitter account, as they were cyber bullied mercilessly over refusing to support a popular ship at the time.

    2.Morally questionable or reprehensible ships:

    I’ve seen a number of fans push for incestious and pedophilic/ephebophilic relationship (ie, MCU Tony Stark and Peter Parker, Frozen Anna and Elsa, etc.). To me, it’s really downplaying the evils of pedophilia and other forms of sexually predatory behavior.

    3.The inability to understand platonic relationship:

    It seems to me that fans like to pit any two characters with an even remotely affable association into a relationship. In my point of view, these fans really can’t comprehend what platonic friendships are. Not every relationship has to be romantic in nature.

    Feel free to disagree with me, and I appreciate any input on this subject.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2020
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  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My personal opinion with respect to shipping within fandom is that if one wishes to enjoy fandom and avoid the pitfalls that come from all sides of the paradigm, one should limit one's engagement of fandom-specific venues.

    I certainly fic, but I refuse to participate in any fandom-specific sites, groups, boards, or forums. That is where the toxicity brews in so very many different flavors and there are rarely any clean hands to be seen.

    Instead, I hang in general fic groups where the topics remain general and global with respect to the paradigm of fic. I have yet to ever see a conversation about shipping deployed in a negative or discomforting fashion that didn't have its roots in some fandom-specific group.
     
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  3. Lazaares

    Lazaares Active Member

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    I have overly negative experience with the fan-fiction community in general. And because the bulk of this negative experience was due to a group of obsessive shippers, I have even more scrutiny towards them. I've also been unfortunate enough to have been presented fan fiction of my characters (roleplay OCs) already - of rather ... well, low quality. Eerie content also related to the shipping community. It was also combined with the fact that the character I built was completely stripped of what made her who she was and became a mere piece of content for these dubious purposes. And this I felt with normal FF too; when my character was stripped bare of its conflicts, past and details and was presented plain and up-front with little artistry or effort.

    I will drop this link here for an interview with GRRM where he presents my main qualms with fan fiction in general.

    As for shipping, the issue is somewhat related to roleplaying. In RP communities, you have people that join in for the stories and the drama. Then there's those who are there for ... other reasons. Less sinister reasons like self-gratification through a mary sue character or simply to hook up with others. For shipping, I don't precisely see any right reason to do it other than reasons related to sexual thirst / gratification. Of course, this vision may be tainted by my own negative experiences & the general number of erotic FF floating about.

    A question here related to the above. Amend my lack of understanding; what's the precise point of "shipping control"? If you've written any relevant fan fiction, what was your point about it?
     
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  4. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    I think a lot of what you're saying is due to a society as a whole becoming less literate and no longer understanding the purpose of reading.

    Readers more and more expect that a character reflect their own power fantasy instead of an expression of the author's ideas. They view the characters as everything they wish they are or believe they are on the inside instead of a means to express those ideas.

    So when a character that the reader strongly relates to gets shipped with the "wrong" person, they view that as a personal insult and akin to an arranged marriage. The fantasy is broken that the story isn't really about them.

    Getting into controversial area here, but I think that's a lot of motive behind "diverse" characters. It's not really about making books more inclusive. It's about trying to create the feeling of escapism and that's a lot easier to do when a character looks and acts like you. The whole "representation" stuff is just an excuse as to why a reader feels they "need" that.
     
  5. GraceLikePain

    GraceLikePain Member

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    I despise shipping as a matter of course, because it's all too often done on an impulse without actually thinking about why two characters may not actually be a good match. As a matter of free speech I don't necessarily think they should be shut down. At the same time, it's really cringey to see some pairings. For example, people who pair Yomi and Tomo from Azumanga Daioh fail to see that Tomo is a horrible, immature person who brings out the worst in Yomi. They feed into each other like a negative cycle, and it turns Yomi into a paranoid freak who can't trust others. They were written they way they were for comedy, and if those two had to spend the rest of their lives together, it would only bring trouble. That, and neither girl is actually gay.

    I got called out once for not shipping two robot characters, but that person was relatively polite once I told him I only write characters the way they are in games, not from fan thought.
     
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  6. Gladiolus83

    Gladiolus83 Active Member

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    My experience with shipping comes from the animé communities. And boy do I dislike it, especially the ones who try to make others see the characters the way they do. Another annoying thing about most these shippers I have come across is how they can take two characters who might not even have lots of scenes together and make them into a couple, making the romance literally come out of nowhere. The only relationships I support, whether it is a romantic one or just friendship, are the ones that are canon.

    Off-topic but still in the general area... The worst people I have dealt with in animé communities are those who have waifus. I haven't done so, but sometimes I just want to tell them to grow up. She is a fictional, and animated, character. Claiming that you love her as if she is a living human woman is disturbing.
     
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  7. TheOtherPromise

    TheOtherPromise Active Member

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    I don't frequent the sorts of communities where shipping is rampant. So I don't have these sorts of negative experiences with shippers that the rest of this topic describes and if I did I might have a different opinion. But when I think of shipping I mostly think of it as harmless fun.

    I lightheartedly ship characters together in stories I get invested in. For instance in Game of Thrones, I was a big Brienne and Jaime shipper. They had a nice dynamic together and their character arcs were really complimentary, so they made for a great ship.

    I don't see shippers as being the bane of writers everywhere (though I might feel differently once I become a published author). Instead I view most ships as being symbolic of unrepresented/underrepresented romantic tastes. And as a writer looking into popular ships can become a source of inspiration for less conventional romance dynamics. Enemies to Lovers is a popular trope in Romance novels, but is almost non-existent in fantasy. So maybe instead of just cringing at the sight of a Harry/Draco ship, maybe it will be more useful to think about how to incorporate that dynamic into one's own work (in a hopefully healthy way).

    Also I would say that several stories nowadays go out of their way to supply their audience with ship-bait. From the ever-loathed love triangle to the even worse queerbaiting, it's hard to blame the fans for taking what is given to them and running with it.
     
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  8. ruskaya

    ruskaya Member

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    as a premise I don't do fandoms, but I am curious about what fandoms do. I searched online and the definition of "shipping" is putting in a relationship two or more characters who are not in a relationship in the original story. So, what do you mean by fans "pitying" those characters they have put in a relationship?

    P.S.: I am that oblivious...
     
  9. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    I agree that it's mostly harmless. The bad exceptions, such as the incidents you point to, are far from being the norm.

    Often the people who are disappointed, or would otherwise have wanted to see a different "ship" set sail, are just projecting their personal wishes while still respecting the designs of the creators.

    The toxicity comes into play when there is an unfounded assumption that the creators did not go with a certain "ship" because of unconscious biases or something. Or, there's the case of one of the new Star Wars movies, where an actress was horribly bullied (although "shipping" played only a small part in that).

    I don't intend on going into detail, but some issues arise when you start talking about shows like Monogatari. Toothbrush scene, 500 year old vampires that look like they're 10, etc. But chances are that that's a bit too niche for this forum and nobody has, or would have, any idea of what I'm talking about.

    That being said, I occasionally will watch some analysis and commentary videos of anime that I enjoy on YouTube, such as Monogatari or Oregairu. And the discussions about romantic relationships, dating, and so on can actually be really interesting and engaging with the right people.
     
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  10. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Yep, you're nuts. :P Contributor

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    How can I write Fan-Fic shipping, when I can barely get my
    own characters to hook up? :p
    (True Story( pun intended). :D

    Though I haven't ever been to the Fan-fic heavy areas, cause
    they are more self insert type deals from what I understand,
    though I have heard of legit fanworks that are apart of the canonical
    mythos of a given story(s) so IDK. o_O
    I just stay away from places like that cause it seems like a lot of
    tension could be tossed around, over the overall dynamic.

    I'll stay mostly blissfully ignorant on the concept for my own
    sanity. :)

    For those that like it, good luck and have fun with it. :)
     
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  11. Lazaares

    Lazaares Active Member

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    For every The Last Ringbearer there are ten dozen My Immortals.
     
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  12. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    I find the whole "shipping" business in fandoms really childish, but for many it's just some harmless fun and it builds community, but sadly wars as well. What I dislike is when actors get attacked for simply playing a character. That's all I know about shipping because I'm an adult and don't participate in it, it wasn't around when I was a kid/teen on internet forums but on the whole I don't really like it. It's a kids thing and as long as the kids/teens remain respectful of each other, it's fine. It's brought out a lot of talent in people who didn't know they had it. Some of the music videos, art and spin-off stories that come from these relationships (both platonic and romantic) is incredible. These kids have real talent. I couldn't make some of the videos they do. But it also brings out the "toxic" people and people who just want to sit and argue and start shipping wars

    Sorry, I can't discuss it in anymore depth. I was in my middle twenties when I found out what shipping was and so never got into it. I'm 29 now and although I still might root for romantic couples I don't feel the need to discuss those couples with others. I don't get as into shows as I did as a kid/teenager. So, like everything, it has pros and cons. The idea of shipping isn't the problem, it's some of those who get involved. I've heard of actors and their families getting death threats.
     
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  13. Oldmanofthemountain

    Oldmanofthemountain Member

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    This is something I should have addressed earlier, but I didn’t notice it until now. The word “control” in the title of this thread is a typo. I wasn’t paying attention when I was typing out this post on my phone. The word I meant to use was “culture”. Unfortunately, I cannot fix that error, due to this forum not allowing post submitted titles to be edited.

    Anyone still viewing this thread, I hope that cleared some things out.
     
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  14. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    I've never even heard of "shipping". To me, shipping control means making sure any parcels you send out get delivered on time.

    On a more serious note, this is why, despite being a huge anime/manga/sci-fi fan, I generally do not interact with other fans of the genre. I don't discuss anime online. The only time I might, is when I'm either in Japan or doing my side job - which involves J-pop merchandising. Trust me, money is the only thing of value that fans have to offer.

    Oh, btw, Subaru is a total dick towards Rem. (and if you know what I'm talking about, you should be ashamed of yourself).
     
  15. Oldmanofthemountain

    Oldmanofthemountain Member

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    That was entirely a typo. I meant “shipping culture”, but auto correct switched the word to “control”. Wasn’t paying attention, until it was too late.

    Does this change up my post in anyway?
     
  16. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    Nope. I've still never heard the term shipping, though I recognise what you describe. My answer still remains exactly the same though.

    The Voltron one seems bizarre. Presumably, the fans knew that the story is a redo of Go-Lion, so the storyline is entirely out of the western producers' hands. There's only so much script rewriting one can do given a fixed narrative, even with clever editing.
     
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  17. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    See, the sad thing is - I know *exactly* what you are talking about.
     
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  18. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not for me, no. I'm perfectly familiar with the paradigm and my answer remains the same. I chill with people who want to engage fandom in a general sense. I do not chill with people in places dedicated to a specific fandom. It is in such climes where one finds the worst stans and the ugly side of fandom.
     
  19. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    There is no beautiful side to internet fandom, IME.
     
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  20. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I genuinely think this depends on how one engages and what one expects out of it. I participate and post on AO3, the fic archive that won a Hugo last year (yes, a Hugo). The toxicity kvetch one runs into with regularity concerning fic has honestly yet to even knock on my door, and I engage the kinds of concepts and tropes that often wrinkle noses, cause clutched pearls, and occasional cases of the vapors, I do declare. ;) One would think I would have taken a few of the slaps and punches fandom has to offer, but no, I haven't. I accrue kudos and comments, I both gift and am gifted fics on the site. All that jazz. What it has to offer, I have enjoyed in full and will continue to do so.

    What I don't do is what I've mentioned, hang out in fandom-specific venues. I know for many who want to engage fandom, that seems like being a car aficcionado sans car, but trust me when I say there are several cars in my garage. My expectation is to write stories and present them to positive response, with any luck, and I've been lucky indeed. All the rest of the rather incestuous dynamics that happen later in the party when the libations get out of hand, well, I've already taken my leave and am tucked in bed. ;)
     
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  21. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    See, I run a Facebook group for customers of my business, which sells anime merchandise. And the number of idiots in it makes me lose my faith in humanity. Sadly, I can't be strict with these people, they're my customers, otherwise I'd have instabanned half of them years ago. I have to pretend I care what they think.
     
  22. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    Well, at least somebody is on the same wavelength as me here. :)

    I don't know. Personally, none of that really bothered me--obviously. Because if it did, then it wouldn't be my favorite anime series.

    But other people get really riled up about it.

    In any case, the point is, I've never seen anybody trying to ship Araragi and his sister Karen, except as a meme. I've actually had really great conversations with other watchers of anime about the topic of relationships in general. It's unfortunate that you haven't had a similar experience. I think that maybe you just haven't met the right people yet!
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2020
  23. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    I was rooting for Hanekawa.
     
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  24. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Yep, you're nuts. :P Contributor

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    I loved that Shitpasta (My Immortal), the people who have read it
    on YT have a hard time keeping a somber tone, and bust up laughing
    at all the problems it has. :D
     
  25. ruskaya

    ruskaya Member

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    sometimes, the story has more emotional power because people don't get together . . . (I am laughing at myself for just having wrote that). However, I am guilty of loving when characters (or people in real life) get together. It warms my heart, it makes me happy. I know it is cheesy, but that's the way it is. For all the other weird things fandoms do or think . . . I am speechless for some of it.
     

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