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18 November 2012 @ 02:59 pm
This is likely to stir up a hornet's nest, but I'm in the mood.

Okay, shipping. What exactly does this entail? Is there a mandatory sexual element? Must there be? And just because a segment of fandom adheres to a particular ship, should The Powers That Be and the actors involved in the fantasy ship be obligated to listen to/tolerate/agree with this shippery?

Little back-story: I listened to an interview with Misha Collins on Winchester Radio
a few days ago and they took caller questions, unscreened. (Probably not the wisest idea.) The last one was courtesy of a weepy young lady who was desperate for Misha to comment on 'Destiel'. He hemmed and hawed and tap-danced around it, she kept pushing, and it all ended up feeling very awkward. About the same time, an essay
popped up on my tumblr dash concerning how good it is that shipping come out of the closet, particularly for the LGBT community (with specific reference to Destiel).

Now, my brother is gay. I read NC-17 slashy fanfic. I'm not a homophobe but as a woman married to a dude, I'm in no position to adjudicate what it's like to be gay or bi. Nor do I feel like we, as a fandom, have the right to bully the show's writers/actors into compliance with ANY of our wishes unless they damned well feel like addressing the topic. And if certain fans are too socially ass-backward to suss out when they're making someone uncomfortable, do we not have the right to comment? Do we not have the right to put a foot down?

There's been a lot of talk about 'shaming' ... ship-shaming, kink-shaming, etc. and how we shouldn't tolerate it. We're all freaks of some stripe; who are we to judge? But there ARE LINES, folks. When we begin to make someone else uncomfortable, we need to back the fuck off and rethink our tactics. Criminy, put yourself in their shoes. Yes, you have the right to say what you want. Guess what? SO DO THEY.

Please don’t shove your ship in anyone’s face and expect them to put their blessing on it, especially not in public. Please don’t assume that shipping is some greater societal statement. Write your own story; let others write theirs.

All comments welcomed, but pleeeease, stay civil, 'kay?
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: 'What If We Give It Away' - REM
mangacat201: teacherrantmangacat201 on November 18th, 2012 09:14 pm (UTC)
Well... first, no I don't think shipping necessarily has to have a sexual component. For me a ship is two characters that might or might not be together in canon, might or might not have a lot of subtext on the show that for some reason I can see being in a relationship or some sort (again, sexual, romantic, platonic, what have you) though the first association with 'ship' will primarily be romantic.
Do I think that the emergence of fandom phenomena and lingo (including such things as ships) in public discourse is a good thing? Hell to the yes, fandom is a seriously underrated and underappreciated literary, artistic and scholastic genre. Do I think it's necessarily good for the LGBT-community? I don't really know, but I'm inclined to agree with ratherastory on that one.
Apart from all that, the issue with confronting the actors and creators with discussing a specific ship... weeeeeell. Apart from the fact that Wincest is particularly delicate because of the actually illegal nature of such a relationship, I think putting stuff like 'So what do you think about Destiel, Misha' up there is just plain nonesense, because Misha - contrary to popular opinion stemming from his attempts at world domination - does not have the power to influence the creative direction of the show like that. So whatever he says will be inconsequential towards the actually plot, very awkward PR at best and making parts of fandom feel excluded at worst. And I feel like people entering that kind of discourse with the actors should keep those restrictions in mind, just plainly as an act of fannish and professional courtesy.
As for forcing the ideas on the producers... hell to the no. I know that the New Age of Interaction that was brought on by twitter, facebook, conventions etc. that suddenly opened dialogue between creators and audience is absolutely fantastic as a new mode of artistry, but it has also fostered an unhealthy attitude of entitlement in some (increasingly younger) parts of fandom. I think that is just something that is in flux, developments that are not yet stabilized in terms of what new fandom etiquette is supposed to be. People just need to realize that a new access to 'behind the scenes' does not mean they can suddenly run the show with all their massive input. After all, the audience is kind of (sadly) the smallest consideration in the production of TV these days.
auroramama on November 18th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
rudeness and questionable attitudes
People need to learn what's polite and what isn't from other people. A lot of people won't get the point until they commit some gaffe, great or small, and realize they've made the day a little worse for someone who's given them nothing but delight. But much can be learned at each stage from more experienced fans.

That's why I try to keep behavior issues separate from critiques of what some fans think and feel. I don't think it's necessary to stamp out attitudes, however questionable they may be, in order to teach people how to act around actors and other showfolk. If they want to believe that their ship is canon, whatever that means, who cares? Look down on them all you want, but what they really need to know is that pushing an uncomfortable actor to confirm their view of the show is rude and unkind. That's true whether they're asking about the wankiest fanon ever or some uncontroversial commonplace about motel decor.
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on November 18th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
Re: rudeness and questionable attitudes
This is a really keen observation. It's not about the fandom or the ship, it's about the behavior. Though simply saying "Hey, don't be a dick" isn't always enough. Sometimes it's necessary to explain why the behavior is inappropriate in a particular circumstance. It might seem like a no-brainer to us but not to others. Misha was audibly uncomfortable to me, but clearly not to the girl on the phone. She didn't have visual cues or a nearby person to nudge her. She kept going with it long after the hostesses probably should've nipped her call.
auroramama on November 19th, 2012 01:02 am (UTC)
Re: rudeness and questionable attitudes
I missed that it was a phone question! Almost a perfect storm for bad behavior. It does need to be explained. A fannish Miss Manners would be a good thing.
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on November 19th, 2012 01:10 am (UTC)
Re: rudeness and questionable attitudes
Yep, phone-in questions they couldn't screen ahead of time. Apparently Misha requested to take calls, which is awesome but he might have to think twice, next time.

Hmm! A fannish Miss Manners; that's kind of a great concept!