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20 December 2007 @ 07:49 pm
What It All Boils Down To...  
I'm talking about ships.

I've noticed that in multiple fandoms (Smallville, Stargate, X-Files, and Harry Potter for example) there may be discussions about plot, character, themes, and story, but in the end it all seems to boil down to ship. (Defining ship here in the broad sense - het or slash.) Sure, there are people in fandom that are there just for characters and plot. But those that are mainly focused on shipping is by far the majority. Once you weed through the hearty discussion of character arcs and plot, you'll see that people are arguing for "who ends up with who." Out of everything, this becomes the main focus and the most passionate for fans.

Take a look at any forum or discussion area. Doesn't matter which fandom. Most of them mirror each other.

So, I ask why? Why do we (in general) abandon everything else about the story, making it secondary to the ship? Why is it so vital to have the end goal be "so and so ends up with Clark" or "so and so ends up with Mulder" or "so and so ends up with Jack?" Why does that becoming the most defining attribute of the story or the characters? Why are we defining them by their romantic entanglements? Why are we defining them by their prize at the end of the day?

And is it the woman who is the prize in the end? Or the man? I've seen this go back and forth and it may depend on the fandom.

It happens across fandoms. I've noticed it a lot lately. As stargazercmc mentioned, is this something inate or does fandom perpetuate it? I wonder does this feed some basic human need or is something else going on here?
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Gategrrl: Black Shiva Facegategrrl on December 21st, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
Moonshayde, this is a question I've asked multiple times in my LJ, and never come up with a satisfactory answer.

I don't mind ship myself, as long as it doesn't become the end-all and be-all; the only exception is Romance genre, wherein, that's the fucking POINT of the story, you know?

Sorry about the swearing. Shippers drive me crazy.
Working for the Mandroidmoonshayde on December 21st, 2007 10:38 pm (UTC)
I think you got my point, even if there is no set answer. My flist is fairly diverse - people I know don't love a show or a story just for the ship. What interests me are the patterns I see. They are present in most decent sized fandoms where groups may talk about a character's story arc or a plot and deny their beliefs have nothing to do with ship, but in the end it clearly does. All it boils down to (for these people) is if their heronine or hero gets the guy/lady at the end of the day.

It fascinates me. it troubles me too, but it still fascinates me.