Hi Sam! I'm wondering if you've written or know of a ship manifesto for Steve/Tony (my Google search was supremely unhelpful) Are those still a thing? I feel like I'm dating myself ha. I got into this fandom late and I have to say I never really understood the basis for a romance between them. I'm not against it - I just don't see it in the movies at all. I used to love ship manifestos back in the day, they were so great at explaining why the relationship worked for ppl. Can you help a gal out?
I sorta missed the heyday of the Ship Manifesto, I think – it seems to have cropped up while I was away from fandom in the late 90s/early 00s. I have to admit I never really understood their full purpose. Possibly because I normally wrote the “major” ship in a fandom at any rate, so my ship never needed advocacy to get more people into it. But it always seemed sort of futile to try to academically persuade someone to like my ship, because the ships I’ve written are always based on an instinctive love that I don’t think can be instilled in someone via an essay.
This may be anecdotal rather than accurate because this was happening right as I re-entered fandom in 2002, but I think the reason that ship manifestos died out is that in Harry Potter, which was one of the biggest fandoms at the time, they became a very nasty way of slamming other ships. There were a lot of fairly brutal fights in the fandom about whose ships would be canon and whose ships were the best even if they would never be canon, and I think ship manifestos started being used to berate people outside the ship and measure the loyalty of someone within a specific ship, as if the whole thing was some kind of terrible team sport.
I mainly kept out of this because I wrote many different ships, and also because fandom did, and to an extent still does, seem to see “my ship will be endgame” as the most powerful argument that people should like it. This seemed irrational to me, because if you like a thing you like it, and canon becomes irrelevant. Besides, even if I didn’t particularly care for a specific ship, I could recognize from EVERY OTHER YA NOVEL EVER which ships would clearly be canon by the end. JK Rowling is many things, but subtle in romance is not one of them. So anyway my vision of ship manifestos may be skewed by my time in Harry Potter, he says, like a grizzled veteran of a medieval war.
Uh, sorry for that random history lesson.
Anyway, I don’t know that a ship manifesto would help you, honestly. I think what you’re looking for is less someone advocating the ship and more someone explaining its popularity, which I think is fairly easy to do – it came to the movie fandom from the comics fandom, where it has been a major ship for decades because, well, they get a lot more screen time together in the comics, and like each other a lot more. (Or used to.)
I think what may help you more in understanding that is the Cap-Iron Man Slashy Moments List, which chronicles their relationship not just in the comics, but primarily in the comics, and reaching far back through history. It’s not really a manifesto, it’s just something some Steve/Tony shippers assembled for other shippers to enjoy, which I think takes a lot of the aggression out of it.
Also please enjoy Tony’s bright pink SUPERSTAR vest, because it’s glorious.