Honestly, I think people need to let it go. As someone who doesn't ship, all this ruckus every week because of a pairing being canon is really silly. Obviously people should criticize the manga for what it is but holding onto to silly tiny things to complain about a romance is really counterproductive . By doing that people are just hurting themselves over and over. Not saying anyone has to like it but I really think people go over the top with this.
I think you and I are very like-minded with regard to ships, anon. When I see a canonical ship, my reaction falls between, “That’s nice. Good for them. Moving on now..” to “Hooray! I love it. Moving on now…”. Becoming an activist about a ship of any kind in any franchise is a foolish waste of time in my opinion.
To be fair, I toot the horn a little bit about a few ships like Korrasami because of the social implications of the ship: a kids show portraying a romantic relationship between two bisexual women of color without fetishizing them.
“Hooray for social progress!” Not “hooray for Korra & Asami! Everyone needs to hear about it and validate my opinion that they’re a great fit for each other!”
Seriously, I’m super stoked we have a mainstream pop-culure bisexual PoC ship in the world that doesn’t fetishize the concept of bisexuality, homosexuality, or women of color itself. WOOT! I have no beef with people who are grossed out by Korrasami. I’m just glad the ship exists.
But I digress…
For better or worse, we share Tumblr with people who take ships very, very seriously. They argue a lot. They spam ship apathetic fans like us with their flame wars. They make us miserable. They make us (and I do mean “us” because I myself have done this in the past) post comments and submit anon asks begging people to shut up about [insert shipper flame war here.] It goes without saying that shippers are making each other miserable. The shippers are here to stay. We need to find a way for them to indulge in their ships without driving each other and everyone else in the fandom crazy.
That being said, I want to point out that I made my two “we have to do better” posts in response to someone complaining about people posting hate messages about an individual character in that character’s tag. Not a ship, but an individual character. I’m not going to dignify the comments as being criticism. The post involve Sinbad “critics” in the Magi fandom posting statements like “Sinbad is worse than Hitler,” and “I hate Sinbad so much! I hope Aladdin kicks his ass!” and “I wish Sinbad stayed dead [because] I hate him! He’s so evil.” They don’t elaborate or present an argument or rationale of any kind. Something in the manga happened, they got upset, and they want everyone to know “Sinbad is worse than Hitler.” Full stop. No discussion. If you call them out or ask them why they think Sinbad is worse than Hitler in an honest attempt to have a civil conversation they say “fuck you! I don’t have to justify myself,” or “You’re not entitled to my opinion!”
That last one was a real response I got from someone reblogged one of my Magi theory posts saying “This is LITERALLY the stupidest shit I’ve ever read,” full stop. I reached out to them asking why they thought it was a stupid idea, using polite language and making it clear that I valued their opinion and wanted to know more about what they felt were weaknesses in my posts argument. Their response was literally “I’m not going to respond to this because you’re not entitled to my opinions.”
Short, negative statements like that are what I call character hate. It doesn’t belong in the #sinbad tag. The the #sinbad character tag is for people who want to find Sinbad related fan art, imagines, headcanons and engage in debates with Sinbad critics who think “Sinbad is worse than Hitler because [insert assertions that serve as the basis for your opinion here.]
Posting “Sinbad is worse than Hitler” in the #sinbad tag is the equivalent of posting a picture of dog poop in the #sinbad tag. It makes clear statement that you don’t like Sinbad, but duh, lots of people don’t like Sinbad for a wide variety of reasons. A Sinbad fan can’t argue with a picture of dog poop. The person who posted the picture of dog poop and tagged it #sinbad isn’t interested in talking about Sinbad. It just makes Sinbad fans feel bad and provides one-sided catharsis for the person who posted the picture of dog poop.
The current system gives the person posting a dog poop picture in the #sinbad tag provides no disincentive for the person posting the picture. They see Sinbad fans getting upset and feel validated. So dog poop all day every day forever in the #sinbad tag. Hooray!
Complaining about ships is counterproductive. People are hurting themselves and other fans who don’t care about ships. They are going over the top. I don’t think that’s what serious shippers or critics of specific characters want. That’s why I’m suggesting that they use a neutral tag like #SinbadDebate or #AliMorDebate. It’s something people aren’t going to look up unless they’re looking for a place to vent or feel like investing energy in a flame war.
The troublemakers aren’t going away. they have every right to express their opinions, even if the way they express them is self-harmful and self-defeating. Such is the human condition.
I think our only hope is redirecting them to a different tag so people who just wanna see some fluffy AliMor fan art or silly Sinbad memes or a Luffy fan comic can do so in peace.