bigger brighter lights

A Note to the Fandom

There is a certain amount of respect that one should have no matter how much they disagree with another’s opinions.  This is just as true, while also absent, in politics as it is in fandom. I was brought into this show already shipping Captain Swan and by season four I was hooked and they consumed me. However, the more involved I became on Tumblr, the more I loathed the fandom. Mostly the inner fandom hate.  

A few months back, I participated in an OUAT positivity challenge where we were paired with someone within the fandom that primarily shipped a different ship than you. I was paired with the amazing onhowtobecrazy, an avid Regina stan who ships her with multiple pairings. Then something awesome happened. We had reasonable, respectable, smart, analytical back and forth over every character we loved and didn’t. To my surprise, we agreed on so much and really understood where the other was coming from. We obviously had differing opinions on key points, but once we discussed it, there was a new understanding with why they shipped them . It was incredibly eye opening and I believe that we both gained a new perspective on characters that we did not necessarily love as much as others before we talked about it. Different personal experiences that we both had, shaped our perception of who the characters are. If I had had on my anti-ship goggles, not only would I have missed out on a friendship, but also something that gave me respect for a whole other side of the fandom that I did not understand, just by one person.

Lately I have seen an insane amount of Regina hate on my dash. My reaction? The more I see, the more I long to jump to her defense, Overanalyzing everything can be dangerous, stirring both positive and negative emotions into an explosion of feelings that is way too easy to take out on someone - whether that be the actors and actresses, writers, or a random blogger. Sharing your opinion is good. Healthy even. But there is a way to do it in such that is respectful to everyone. It’s all about word choice and how you present your argument.

I have a very dear friend, one of my best friends, whose anti-ship is my OTP. She is one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know - the type of person who when you are having a shitty week, would then spend hours of her week making a fan video of your OTP, just to cheer you up. She texts me all the time just to wish me luck on test or say “Hope you’re having a fantastic day!” But sometimes, if we talk OUAT, she’ll phrase things in a way that make me want to jump to Hook’s defense. Now, I love talking “Once” with her and getting her opinion, even on fanfic of mine. Especially with fanfic because asking her whether or not something seems in character or canon can be better than asking someone who might be biased towards that ship. This being said, not everything is worth defending. Let it go. The way you respond is just as important as how the anon phrases their comments. If you want to be seen as a bigger person, in the brighter light, then respond like it. Don’t be rude, no matter how much they deserve it. This rule isn’t written in stone, but for the most part, you’ll be happier if you follow it. Somewhere between your side of the story and theirs, lies the truth. This extends to how we perceive the reasoning behind character’s actions and emotions.

STOP TRYING TO FIND SOMETHING NEGATIVE TO SAY. Stop. Have you ever met someone who is unbelievably optimistic and happy despite the crap life throws at them? They’re really perplexing and I envy them. I am not one of them. I am the type who always finds something to complain about and voices it aloud. Here’s the thing about that though - voice it to your friends, rant to them for as long as your heart desires and get it out of your system. But stop looking. Instead, look for things that make you happy and bring joy. Omg your OTP is all cuddly on the couch. Focus on that. If your focus is on the things you hate, you’ll drive yourself mad and maybe even become miserable over it. These are fictional characters and I cannot tell you to not let them consume you, that would be hypocritical of me. But value people and their feelings above the fake lives of a television character.

Above all, ship and let ship. Respect people. Love others. Love the show and characters. Feel passionate about it. But there is a right way to do it. Spread the positivity!