Why can’t we be friends?

My husband brought up a valid point today, and it’s one I’d like to address…

Why do pop culture fans these days want everyone to be in a relationship. It seems you can’t go into any fandom without ships, ships galore! Whatever happened to good ol’ buddies? Why are the brotp’s suddenly all bromances? Can’t two people just like hanging out without any innuendo?

Maybe today’s society is so repressed that they rebel by sexualizing everything. Two men being in love is forbidden? Fine. We’ll just decide that these two fictional men who have no romantic chemistry are in a sexual relationship. Take that, Establishment! Or something.

Now, I have no problem with homosexual relationships. You’re attracted to your own sex? Fine. Attracted to both sexes? Neither? Whatever. That’s your deal, and it’s all good. I just don’t get why fans are imagining romances where there are none.

Destiel. Wincest. Those are just two examples of fan shipping gone mad, from just one fandom. Don’t understand what I’m talking about? Well, unless you really want to know, I wouldn’t recommend Googling it. The Internet is dark and full of bullshit. Why can’t friends just be friends? It baffles me.

There are different types of relationships besides sexual or romantic relationships. There are friendships and partnerships, brotherhoods and sisterhoods. There are families, cliques, posses, and gangs. People can be close to one another emotionally without being sexual. Is it that hard to understand?

Then I start to wonder: Is this a reflection of the fandoms’ personal lives? Maybe they aren’t too repressed…maybe they’re hypersexualized. Maybe every relationship in their lives is a sexual/romantic one, and they don’t know how to have healthy non-sexual relationships. It’s certainly possible.

It’s also possible that they’re all batshit crazy. Get your own love lives and quit trying to force them on fictional characters. Let the romance happen, and if it doesn’t, then let that happen too.

Sailing Away

Ships. They pull in and sail off, come and go.

And some of them make absolutely no sense.

I’m not talking about your average boat. I’m talking about relationships, specifically in books, TV shows, and movies. People see two characters who they feel should be together, and boom! A ship is born. It’s the biggest thing in fandoms lately, and it shows no sign of stopping.

The ships don’t even have to be characters that are in a scripted relationship. Sometimes they’re between characters that don’t have any romantic chemistry. Sometimes they’re even incestuous.

Why do we ship? Why do some fans rabidly defend their ships, often to the point of full-on fan wars? I mean slur-slinging, trash-talking, hate-mailing wars, all over fictional characters that may never have been in a relationship to begin with.

It’s a strange phenomenon, one that I don’t fully understand. At times I can see the chemistry that creates a fanborne ship, but for the most part it’s beyond my comprehension. Why invest so much energy in a fantasy world, especially one in which the thing you fantasize about doesn’t exist? Some fans even write fanfic (fan-authored fiction–a topic for another day, perhaps) or fanart (fanfic for the artist set) depicting their favorite ship.

I suppose I’m something of a purist. If the characters are written as being in a relationship, fine. If they’re written/played as having chemistry, okay. But non-canonical, non-romantic couplings that don’t make any sense? That just doesn’t jive with me. I don’t even like canon relationships without some sort of romantic vibe there to spark a ship.

The rabid nature of shipping also baffles me. You take a relationship that isn’t established and defend it to your dying breath. Friendships can be made or lost due to fandom ships. Is a fictional relationship really worth that kind of cost?

I, for one, don’t think so. I think shipping could theoretically be fun, if taken as the make believe that they are, but certainly not to the extent at which people are willing to go lately.

If your ship leaves the dock and sets sail, for the love of all that’s holy, just let it go. Don’t get in heated fights with someone you don’t even know over a fantasy. It’s not worth it.