Shipping discourse

From MAP Wiki

Shipping discourse is a term that refers to arguments and conversations that concern shipping. "Shipping" in fandom language denotes imagining someone (most commonly fictional characters) as a couple, as well as creating and viewing artistic works, dedicated to this couple.

Common controversies

The topics

Shipping discourse on the most basic and primary level consists of discussing which ship (short for "relationship") is better or worse. Some people try to apply real world ethics to fictional relationships to brand them as bad. The following ship tropes are considered controversial or "problematic" by some people:

  • Abuser/abuse victim ships;
  • Minor/adult ships;
  • Adult/adult age gap ships;
  • Any minor/minor ships that are not completely SFW;
  • Ships that contradict canon queer sexualities;
  • Incest ships;
  • Human/animal ships;
  • Human/creature (monsters, aliens, robots, etc.) ships.

The people

People that are against some or most controversial ships may call themselves anti ship/antishippers or antis. The word "anti", frequently used to denote a mapmisiac, originates precisely in shipping discourse. It started as a self-identity, but nowadays fewer and fewer people actually use it as such and instead describe their position (e.g. “against abusive ships”). Their opponents still call them antis, as well as fanpol ("fandom police"), fantis ("fandom antis"), fancops, or puriteens ("puritan teens", originating from an ageist assumption that teenagers are more likely to be antis).

The antis’ opponents may call themselves pro ship/proshippers, pro fiction, pro fantasy, comship ("complex ship"), or - rarer nowadays - anti anti and pear ("pro expression, anti repression"). Some have also adopted the label "anti harassment", despite many being okay with harassment motivated by reasons unrelated to shipping. Antis call them proshitters, freaks, and pedophiles.

Controversial ships are almost universally referred to as "problematic ships". In addition to that, antis may call them abusive ships or unhealthy ships, and proshippers may call them dark fiction or "dead dove do not eat"[1] fiction.

The arguments

The key argument of the anti ship side is "fiction affects reality". They believe the effects of fiction to include normalization of the narrative's themes and don't want people to normalize real life abuse by making and spreading stories about fictional abuse. Other common arguments include believing some fictional works may be used to groom and sexually abuse children and retraumatize abuse survivors. Antis most often describe their position as a "normal person" position and believe the majority of non-fandom people to be on their side.

Proshippers respond to that by emphasizing that people are capable of liking something in fiction and being against it in real life. They often bring up horror movies, stories about murder and violence, which usually do not create concerns among antis. Proshippers sum up their stance as "ship and let ship", "fiction is not reality".

Connection to map discourse

As a part of trying to prove that proshippers are dangerous, antis often try to tie shipping discourse to map discourse. They use the presence of ships with underage characters as evidence that proshippers are secretly maps. The term “pear” is occasionally used by them synonymously with “map”[2].

In reality, while a randomly chosen proshipper has higher chances to be pro map than a randomly chosen antishipper, mapmisia is rampant in the proship community[3]. Many believe that interest in controversial ships is valid only as long as it does not coincide with interest towards the same subjects in real life, even if the person in question is dedicated to not abusing anyone. Pro map proshippers often find themselves having to choose between staying silent about their opinions and losing support of proshippers they look up to. It is possible to say that map-related accusations from antis only fuel mapmisia in the proship community and make it a more hostile place for a map.