A note on the “It’s ____phobic to compare us to X!” thing:

A lot of the people making these comparisons are autistic, myself included. And after talking with auties on this, one of the things I notice is that our brains seem to be optimized for pattern recognition above and beyond the already-high NT baseline. (The auties I’ve spoken with on this don’t seem to have a higher false-positive rate, and sometimes have a lower one, but this may be because a lot of us have learned to interrogate these matches reflexively. Important note: My sample are all adults.)

What this means? We can’t stop making those matches. We can’t not see the patterns and similarities. The dots kinda connect themselves, as long as the pattern holds. The only way to make it stop is to break the pattern.

Which kinda puts an extra level of ugly on it when an autistic trans woman points out that you’re paralleling TWERF tactics, and your response is to yell at her to not do that, rather than examine the statement for truth and correct the issue.

(I’d like more input from auties on this, as I can always do with more data and viewpoints when it comes to figuring out how my brain works.)

On any given day, I don’t mind shipping in fanfic. Sometimes I really like it and will seek it out—and as a part-time aro, too, que horror :P—and sometimes I’m annoyed by it and won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. Sometimes I’ll be in an okay mood and tolerate it if the story’s good enough, which is my usual baseline. Sometimes I have decidedly mixed feelings.

However it goes, a lot of my favorite fics contain romance. This is because romance is such a ubiquitous element in writing that I’m hard-pressed to find much without it. Or maybe I’m not looking in the right places.

But I also feel like there exists this gulf, this imbalance, where you could have the best-written gen fic in the world and it still won’t compare to how a ship fic is received, because people equate romance with high art. In that vein, I don’t think Twilight and Fifty Shades would have survived had they not pushed their “romance” angle so hard.

Compare the reviews of a gen fic to those of a ship fic and you’ll see the difference. Romance grabs people’s attention; it’s ten times harder to get their attention without it.

But if romance is not what you’re looking for, then you’re kind of out of luck. That’s just the nature of the … gen category, I guess we’ll call it. But here’s my problem:

What gets me about shipping in fic is that there seems to be this view that most fics must contain shipping at their forefront in order to contain meaningful conflict or character development, or even to receive any attention at all. It’s so prevalent that some “How to Write Fanfiction” videos on YouTube assume their audience is setting out to write romance when that’s not necessarily the case. The gen fic author gets nary a second thought sometimes.

Listen—-I’m not policing what people ship, how they ship it, how they write their fanfic or what they include in it. But where it gets troublesome for me personally is that sometimes, in a fic, promising gen elements get shoved in the background for sake of shipping, which often does fall prey to conventional romance tropes. It feels like a bait-and-switch and I do get peeved by it.

Somewhere along the line, in the fanfic world, character interaction and development has blurred into synonyms for “ship.” It’s more convenient to say “SonAmy” than it is “Sonic grows to respect Amy more through character development, and Amy learns how to act in a more mature manner through the trials they share.”

I get that it’s easier and saves characters, I do. And yes, I’ve also done that myself. >.<

Even so, at the risk of sounding supremely pissy and hypocritical here, it does annoy me due to how ubiquitously that label gets applied, because it’s not all that accurate as to what the story actually contains: “shipping” as a term holds a vast continuum of meanings. On the off-chance that a fic does not feature romantic shipping as a prominent element, the ship label still gives the impression that it does.

I just want to eat noodles and read my friendship fic okay ;A;