Anyone who follows my blogs, previous websites or my tumblr knows that I love television shows, movies and books. And not only that – I’m also one of those people who can completely fall in love with a show or a character. For as long as I can remember I’ve been an active member of different fandoms, often more than one at the same time. And I’m a shipper – for those who don’t know this term let me explain it to you, it basically means that you would really like to see two people in a relationship on that particular show or in that book or movie.
Hate because you ship
Even before I knew what that word meant I was a shipper. But since I started reading fanfiction – and later on started writing it as well I got more and more into the fandoms and the terminology. One thing though that I never got was the hate. I really don’t get that. There is so much hate, in so many different forms. It annoys me to no end that we love the same thing and at the same time express so much hate towards one another, the characters and the actors.
Why would you hate someone for shipping a certain couple? For the life of me I can’t understand that. I’ve been on the receiving end of the hate a couple of times. In my case some people might say that I brought that upon myself for shipping the ships that I do. I am bisexual, so in any case I’m open-minded in regards to the couples that I like. But I do ship a lot of femmeslash couples and that’s sometimes difficult for people to understand. Because in general most shows stear their public towards a certain male/female couple. For instance Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle on CSI, for years they gave hints about a relationship between the two. Eventually they even ventured down that road. But my preference always was with Sara Sidle dating Catherine Willows. I could see it, even though I know that a lot of people can’t understand that, and I have to admit that you need to do a lot of reading between the lines but I never had any trouble with that.
Back then as a lesbian or bisexual woman there weren’t many shows or characters who gave us what we were looking for, so part the solution was coming up with our own stories in fanfiction. Nowadays thanks to shows like The L Word, Glee and Grey’s Anatomy there are several shows who give us lesbian, gay or bisexual characters.
It really sucks when you write fanfiction or create fanart and you receive hate because you don’t follow the general idea of what the ship for a show, book or movie should be.
That’s one part of the hate in fandoms that really ticks me off and I can’t be the only one.
Hate between shippers
The second part is the hate between shippers, people who think that they ship the OTP (one true pairing) and for some reason whenever they see anyone who doesn’t like that particular ship they see that person as a threat. Also something which I don’t get, you all love the same show, book or movie and the same characters. What does it matter that I ship couples that might not be the most logical or conventional? I don’t think that I’m hurting anyone by shipping Rizzles (Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles – Rizzoli & Isles) or Swan Queen (Emma Swan & Regina Mills – Once Upon a Time). But apparently that can be a reason for other people to hate you.
And yes, I am aware that Rizzles (even though the show is really gay) is not meant to be seen as such, a lot of people believe in that ship. And even Sasha Alexander (Maura Isles) seems to have no problem with the idea of Rizzles. It’ll never happen, I know that … most Rizzles shippers known that. The same goes for Swan Queen. But does that mean that I will stop shipping it – No. Of course not. Does that mean that we – Swan Queen shippers – should get hate from for instance Outlaw Queen (Regina Mills & Robin Hood) shippers? No of course not!
The hate seems to be even worse if the show, book or movie in particular steers the public in two opposite directions. For instance The Hunger Games were Katniss is torn between Gale and Peeta. And she isn’t the only one, the fandom is divided as well. Or True Blood were Sookie is constantly torn between the many men in her life.
Why can’t we just be part of a fandom and stay civil to each other? Despite of who we love, or would love to see together on a show? If you don’t like femmeslash or the idea of a certain couple there is a simple solution – ignore it! If you don’t like a ship move on! It’s not that hard! Is it?
Hate against characters
But the worst kind of fandom hate – in my eyes – is hating a character and therefore hating the person portraying that character. I’m sure it happens in each and every fandom, but let’s focus on one fandom here.
Criminal Minds, I love that show. I really do. But a lot has happened with this show over the years. A lot of it which has been very publicly fought over and I have been part of that. I was part of the fans who tweeted and retweeted messages to make the network see that the choices they were making were wrong, especially the way they handled everything. A couple of years ago with that whole firing and rehiring AJ Cook and Paget Brewster thing. And for once the fandom worked together to make the network and everyone involved know what we thought of their way of handling things. Which eventually resulted in the rehiring of both AJ Cook and Paget Brewster. But sometimes too much has happened and Paget Brewster unfortunately (yet very understandably) choose leave the show. During this time when the shit hit the fan, CBS hired Rachel Nichols as a replacement for AJ Cook.
First mistake – in my eyes – is that they use the word replace because that is the wrong word specifically in this situation. She was not replacing AJ Cook since that would imply that she was going to be playing Jennifer Jareau and that was not what was going on. They basically traded AJ Cook in for a younger model (harsh but true). They should have used the words ‘Rachel Nichols is joining the show’ sounds less harsh especially when the fandom is in uproar. The whole situation regarding Rachel Nichols was handles so badly that I felt sorry for her. She received so much hate from the fandom for joining the show at that moment in time. On the internet, in comments and blogs and on twitter. There was a lot of pain and sadness going around in the fandom because of everything that happened but that gives you no free pass to hate a woman who didn’t do anything wrong.
Worst thing is that she received even more hate when the episodes that she was in aired. Her role was very badly written – looked to me like a rush job – and they simultaneously decided that they should give Paget Brewster’s character Emily Prentiss more screen time than they had initially intended. Probably partly to soothe the uproar in the fandom. Because we – the fandom – were making it very clear through twitter, blogs and other outlets what we thought of the situation. So Rachel Nichols was screwed before she even started. And then she was fired, thrown aside like a piece of trash in my opinion.
AJ Cook came back, she signed a new deal and she has been part of the Criminal Minds team since that moment. Paget Brewster however was forced to come back, she didn’t want to, that much was obvious. She was done with the show. And who could really blame her, I wouldn’t want to work for people who treated me like crap either. She did another season of Criminal Minds and left again, this time because she wanted to leave.
Jeanne Tripplehorn was added to the cast, she’s a great actress but again the fandom started with the hate because she was replacing Paget Brewster … yes, again that word replacing was used.
And now Jeanne Tripplehorn is leaving after a short two season stint and it’s Jennifer Love Hewitt who’s receiving hate because she’s joining the show as a new series regular. I personally couldn’t be more surprised by that turn of events, I’d never expected that she would even be considered. She’s a wonderful actress – but I might not be the best judge of that because I’ve seen a lot of shows she has been part of. I religiously watched Party of Five (1994) and the spin off Time of Your Life (1999), Ghost Whisperer (2005) and The Client List (2012). That is a grand total of 250 forty five minute episodes which I have seen that Jennifer Love Hewitt was part of and I enjoyed watching them so I might be a little biased. But I’m looking forward to seeing her step into this new adventure and hope that the fandom will give her a chance. A chance she certainly deserves. Let’s remember that Paget Brewster – who we fought so hard to keep – actually joined in Season 2 after Lola Glaudini left.
One final sort of fandom hate…
A character is written by a writer, good stories need all kinds of characters. Even bad characters, characters we might hate for their ideas or actions. And those roles need to be portrayed by someone, usually good actors or they wouldn’t be able to pull it off. But really is that a reason to hate the person who portrays that particular character? Of course not! We need them! Imagine, what would Game of Thrones be without characters like Cersei or Joffrey Lannister. But that doesn’t mean that we should hate the person behind the character, it’s kind of sick to ‘hate’ a person because of a role he or she plays.
I’ve hated characters – and that’s fine. You can’t like everyone, certainly not when the roles portrayed are meant to gross you out for one reason or another. An example is Nicholas Brendon, he used to be Xander on Buffy. Many people my age grew up watching that show. Years later he suddenly appeared on Criminal Minds – which we’ve already established is one of my favorite shows – as Penelope Garcia‘s boyfriend in a similar kind of role. A nerdy but very likable character. During that same time he also showed up in another show, Private Practice, were he brutally attacked and raped Charlotte. The role was so different, the brutality of the actions and the way it was filmed creeped me out so much just thinking about it gives me shivers. And even though I had trouble seeing that good guy Kevin on Criminal Minds shortly after I watched those scenes on Private Practice. Those scenes really gave grossed me out, but Nicholas Brendon is not to blame. He played a role. However that doesn’t say anything about the person behind it.
In any case, I have been irritated a lot by all of the hate I’ve seen and I really needed to get this off my chest. I didn’t think that it would take almost 2000 words to write this down.
And I really hope that we as fans can find it in our hearts to unite as a fandom, and leave all the hate behind us. In the end we are all fans of the same fandom despite of who we might ship so please let’s keep that in mind.