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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
downjune: wind farmdownjune on November 19th, 2012 01:13 am (UTC)
I've been active in various fandom since 2007 and a fic reader since 2000, and I'm still not sure what it means to 'ship' a pairing. Basically for me, it means to love a set of characters to tiny bits and write them into stories so that they may do my bidding. :) If sex happens, all the better, but it's not required.

For me this is an intensely personal pastime that I only like to share with people that I KNOW are like-minded--namely other fangirls/fanboys. I do not like to share this with Real People in My Real Life.

And... it's not that I think the line between fandom and real world should never be crossed, but I think there's a danger of confusing real people with characters. I don't mean that fangirls are delusional, but that the real people involved with Supernatural are seen as... public property, in a way. Like, they are there for us because they make something that we love so they have to listen to what we want and we can be rude to them and make them uncomfortable and it's okay because we're Fans, and why won't they just admit that Dean and Cas are fucking already?@?@!

Bit of a tangent--I think this is kind of the rationale behind thinking it's okay to publicly harass Kristen Stewart for her personal life choices. There's a way in which celebrities are considered "public". I don't know what better word to use; there must be one. But the people who consume their films/tv shows feel entitled to treat the actual people involved as they would a character. Which is kind of fucked up. Unlike with a fictional character, there are real consequences to saying certain things to them!

Also, the idea that slash fandom is somehow helping the lgbt community makes me very prickly. Like, it's great that the internet provides an outlet for this kind of creativity, and it can be freeing and therapeutic and that's GREAT. I know lots of lgbt folks who love slash for this very reason! Because, hey, queering text rocks! But it can also be creepy and fetishistic when straight girls squawk about pairing off canonically straight characters that are never going to be queer in the name of Gay Rights. Yeah, the writers throw you a bone sometimes with innuendo, and that has a name--it's called queer baiting and it's not progressive at all. It's making fun of the idea of the characters actually BEING gay. Because, haha, isn't that FUNNY.

*deep breath*

In sum, far be it from me to tell anyone how to be a fan, but some folks just need to reel it in a little. I'm not sure if it's a 'shipping' thing so much as it is a boundaries thing.

*loves you for these posts*
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on November 19th, 2012 02:41 am (UTC)
*loves you back!*

Ah, queer-baiting. I kinda wonder about this. Most of my friends are straight guys, albeit geeks and not the least bit macho. They flirt with each other and make butt-sex jokes incessantly. Is this taboo? Can you only make these sorts of cracks (no pun intended!) if you're gay? My (gay) brother makes straight jokes all the time and dammit, they're funny. Can't it just be ... comedy? Sometimes? Or are we too emotionally sunburnt these days?

No question a broader demographic of characters is needed on television PERIOD. Might take the edge off the issue.

But yeah, it's a boundaries issue. I HATE seeing paparazzi photos of celebrities out with their kids or on vacation, just trying to have a normal day. Drives me batty. We do NOT have a right to every stinkin' aspect of their private lives. Just as we don't have the right to ask them any embarrassing question that pops out of our mouths, regardless of topic. Well, okay, we have the right to ask, but they have just as much right to treat us like we're smoking crack. Fair is fair.

No one wants to curtail fandom's fun. Maybe we just need to police ourselves a little better in public. We're humans; they're humans.

downjunedownjune on November 19th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
Ah, queer-baiting. I kinda wonder about this. Most of my friends are straight guys, albeit geeks and not the least bit macho. They flirt with each other and make butt-sex jokes incessantly. Is this taboo?

This gives me lots to think about! Because my (straight) brother does this, too. And I don't really know what to think. Like, on the one hand, straight guys making butt-sex jokes is kind of making fun of the idea of actually being gay in a way that actual gay people might be hurt by? On the other, maybe they're just expressing their love for each other in terms of gay jokes because there isn't a straight-dude language to do so? So it's benign and endearing and funny. And there's definitely a difference between a butt-sex joke between friends and a TV show saying "these men have a profound bond, but Don't worry! They're not gay!"

I'm conflicted. Mostly I feel like humor shouldn't rely on making fun of groups that are socially marginalized. I definitely get irritated when the media rely on this kind of humor, since it's what so many of us consume and internalize. I think having better representations of those groups would go a long way in fixing this. Because good-hearted humor is what we all want--I think it's just harder to pull off when there's such pervasive heteronormativity in the media.

Haha, please feel free to kick hornets nest whenever you feel the urge!
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on November 19th, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
I don't quite know what to think, either! Didn't the ancient Greeks define umpteen different kinds of love? Is it a little tight-laced of us to want to lump it all into "gay" or "straight"? Romantic or friendship? I think human sexuality is a continuum anyway.

You're absolutely right; humor shouldn't rely on picking on marginalized groups ... unless you're a member of said group. Then it seems to be okay. Why? Dunno. I don't think we'll ever get away from racial/sexual/religious humor. Guess we need to look at intent. AND we need to keep working towards more important issues, like equality. At least they done good with Charlie, IMHO.

I wonder if there are any gay writers on SPN's staff currently. Hmm.
Amberamberdreams on November 20th, 2012 11:36 am (UTC)
I get the feeling that SPN is realtively good with it's PC treatment of LGBT issues - on the face of it, Dean is the macho guy who is uncomfortable with his sexuality being questioned, Sam is the more liberal minded one who finds it amusing. They had Charlie be gay without it being a big thing, it just meant Dean could stop hitting on her, they had the whole 'go be gay' for that poor dead guy in the Ghostfacers one that I never watch and that was not made into a big thing. In a show that is about fighting monsters, they've managed to get in as much as you could reasonably expect, I suppose. They've had strong black characters (though none permanent), now they have the Trans who are Asian. Diversity is hard to show when you have a story that centres on MOWs and two white middle American guys, but they do a reasonable job of getting some in there. I bet none of the writers are non-whites either.
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on November 20th, 2012 02:23 pm (UTC)
I bet you're right; all of their writers are Caucasian. They are fairly diverse in their character creation, though, aren't they! Hmm!