...And Why getting worked up over it is stupid and a waste of time.
I am admittedly a shameless shipper with almost everything I'm a fan of. And people get really really REALLY worked up over it, especially if it's not a straight shipping.
I'm going to talk specifically about MLP, because that's what prompted this journal.
I shamelessly ship MLP characters. PinkieDash and Rarijack being my top favorite (non-canon) ships, closely followed by ShyCeps (FluttershyxBulk Biceps), and CelestiCord. The only characters I tend to leave alone are ones that are already in relationships (Princess Cadance and Shining Armor, no I don't count the comics, I don't like them and I don't read them) or ones that are so socially inept that imagining them in a romantic relationship seems silly (Twilight Sparkle....Hasbro did it but I don't; Princess Luna)
Do you have a right to dislike a ship? Absolutely, there's tons that I can't stand (TwiDash, FlutterDash, AppleDash, Chrysalis and ANYONE....)
Do you have a right to give an artist/hobbyist/photoeditor a hard time if you don't like a ship they drew art of? Not at all!
Statements like "Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash are NOT GAY!!" or "I hate this ship, therefore your art is terrible" not only are rude to the artist but come across as intolerant (and in the case of the first one homophobic). It's shipping. Not everyone is supposed to like it. It just reflects the artist's or commissioner's personal taste and headcanon.
What IS headcanon you ask?
Urban dictionary defines headcanon as (My additions are in italics): An idea, belief, or aspect of a story that is not mentioned in the media itself, but is accepted (or created)
by either the reader (or watcher)
themselves or the fandom
in general. If it is confirmed by the author of the story, it becomes canon
I define headcanon as any conclusion drawn about a story/media based on one's own ideas about it as opposed to actual canon fact.
For example, I ship Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash.
Therefore, my headcanon is that they are in a relationship. This is not canon in any of the MLP universes (comic, book, toy, show, trading card), nor does the entire fandom accept this as the case (such as Lyra being obsessed with humans or Octavia being uptight). It is my personal headcanon.
This headcanon affects you, your beliefs, and your own headcanons in no way whatsoever.
Here are some tips for avoiding conflict over headcanons you don't like:
- Avoid art/fanfiction/other fan content about that headcanon or shipping: I avoid almost anything to do with Queen Chrysalis like the plague because I don't like her as a character or as a villain. I also avoid images/stories about ships I don't like. If someone ships AppleDash, fine, they can do what they want, I just don't like it, so I avoid it. This avoids me having the urge to make intolerant comments like "I hate this ship, I can't believe people still like AppleDash" or "AppleDash is so dead, RariJack is where it's at." This also goes for art of gay couples. If you don't like art of gay/lesbian/bisexual ponies DON'T LOOK AT IT. Problem solved
- Don't act like you are being attacked when someone makes art of a ship/headcanon you don't like. Follow rule number one and just don't look at/ read it. But if you do accidentally stumble across something or can't fight the urge to look at it, remember the artist/author/musician did not make this work to piss you off personally. Unless this person knows you personally and says in the comments they made the artwork to make you upset, chances are they didn't do it to offend you personally. Once again, the same thing goes for gay couples. If you believe that homosexuality is wrong, back off of artwork of it. It's just artwork. It's not going to "turn you gay" or anything so ridiculous as that.
- Don't get attached to your headcanons: I admit this one I'm somewhat guilty of, especially when it comes to my ships. But if the MLP FIM (SHOW) team ruined one of my ships with a CANON boyfriend (note: a canon boyfriend of the mane 6 HAS TO ACTUALLY SHOW A ROMANTIC INTEREST IN THEM. A male pony interacting with a mane 6 member does not make him her boyfriend anymore than a boy passing you on the street and talking to you makes him your boyfriend) I'd accept it grudgingly. So far, the closest thing they've come to doing this is the Flash Sentry/Twilight Sparkle romance in Equestria Girls that A) hasn't continued on into the show and B) Was very fleeting and seemed to only be for the movie and nothing else. They haven't even made an Equestria Girls (Equestria Boyz?) doll of Flash. Getting attached to headcanons is the fastest way to just piss yourself off when the show/book/author or writing team disproves it or when someone else disagrees with it. Even fanon headcanons are dangerous to get attached to. Octavia could be an outgoing, friendly, not at all prissy pony and getting pissed off about it would be stupid. Lyra could not even have any clue what humans are. If you have headcanons/ships you like, that's great, I personally think it can make watching or reading something more fun. But don't let your headcanons become so important that you get upset when people disagree with you
- Quit being homophobic: Sorry, I don't care if being gay is against your religion. I'm straight, in a heterosexual relationship, but I've had gay friends. I see the conflict they have to deal with just because they come out as gay, both external and internal. When you've grown up hearing it's wrong, but you have feelings for someone of the same sex, you can't just pray the gay away, and it is in NO WAY a choice. Sure your personal opinion might be different than mine, but some people's personal opinions are that people of color are inferior to white people, and few would argue that that is OK. When it comes to infringing upon someone's right to be his or herself, I draw the line at "loving and tolerating" those opinions. The art world loves gay shippings, it's just a fact of life. If you're an MLP fan and a shipper most of the characters are female, there aren't that many options for straight shippings, and honestly, the gay ships work better.
And that's all I have to say about that.