Which are the biggest ‘ships in fandom? On Monday, The Daily Dot posed this question. Today, I have answers about the most common relationships on AO3. (with a healthy dose of caveats, as usual!)
Note the ridiculously high number of m/m ships, the relatively low number of het and/or canon ships, and the complete lack of f/f ships on that list.
I am not entirely sure what that says about fandom on a large scale, but it definitely says something.
#and fandom looked like fandom #and i don’t know all the fandoms or all the characters #but i think scott mccall and zayn malik are the only poc on that list too #feel free to point out anyone i missed but i do recognise enough of the names to know that number is not high #shit like this is what we mean when we say your m/m ship is not progressive #you can queer up your favourites as much as you like #but the complete lack of f/f ships #the complete lack of female centric fics #is not even slightly progressive
This is also why I laugh whenever someone waxes on about how fandom is this wonderful women-run space. Umm no, It’s a space overrun with white girls who push their tacky beige faves on everyone else and cry victim when some of us demand even a 1/3 rd of the space they monopolize every single day with their white dude ships and blatant racism.
Misogyny AND racism. Fandom can be just as damn bigoted as anywhere else.
WHERE’S MY FEMSLASH.
well that’s pretty disingenuous, blaming the problems of media on the fandom. there’s a lack of women in fic? lack of PoCs? it miiight be because if you put a gun to my head I couldn’t name you ten female or PoC leads in television.
I mean, it sucks that all the focus is on white dudes, but I think blaming fandom for that is unfair and attacking the unfortunate symptom and not the problem. we can all try to shine light on women and PoCs in our fandoms, but there is only so much to be done when our source materials won’t give us anything but cishet white dudes.
That’s a valid point. People are more likely to ship the main protagonists or antagonists and so if these are primarily straight cis white men then that’s what people will ship. Plus people are more likely to ship relationships which get the most screentime and depth, which again, is given to cis het white men. Additionally I think many people ship who they want to ship, without bringing claims to be improving representation the narrative by queering it. You can’t blame fandom and absolve mainstream media of it’s flaws.
However that doesn’t mean you can’t call out fandom. If you only ship white slash ships and there are important PoC and female characters in your canon it is worth taking a look at why that is. Give one of the others a try. If you ever write original fiction don’t bring the same lack of representation there. That doesn’t mean that someone is a racist or a misogynist just because they don’t write femslash, however, if they completely exclude or derail the characterisation of women or PoC then that’s a pretty damn fair criticism. The same applies to those who bash them on Tumblr.
People in fandom are writing for free about what they want to write. No one’s paying for fic, hell, it isn’t even much of a barter economy, I can read a load of fic without having to write some myself in return. There’s no automatic mechanism to take into account your demand for certain types of fic. So if you can write, write it yourself, it’s often one fic that can really quickstart a fandom. It you can draw, draw it. Gifset it! Fanmix it! Hell, flipping Prompt it. Otherwise you’re not really demanding the space. For those less talented amongst us (such as myself) it can be very frustrating not to see the fic you want but statements like some of those above don’t help and only turn people away from ships.
Addendum: Western White feminism not being intersectional or acting all White Saviourish is an issue. That does not mean that using “white girls” instead of women makes an otherwise misognist statement a-ok or that their opinions don’t count.
Second Addendum: And now for something completely different.Apart from some odd repetition in that list, a slight flaw in it’s methodology is that it would be interesting to see how many of those posted fics actually have those pairings as their focus. It isn’t uncommon to tag secondary characters’ pairings in a fic but there might not be much focus on them.
fandom is not a symptom of media. fandom is an active part of media. it responds to and interacts with and expands mainstream media. too many times it simply parrots mainstream media instead of commenting on it.
10 poc leads? ok. but 10 female leads, even with those leads being white? now that’s just not true. we have a very heteronormative media, and all those men need women to fuck.
and i hate the way people speak about women and poc characters. “make space” for them. “shine a light” on them. as if this is some pesky moral quandary for folks who really do want to be good people, but who also just want to ship who they want to ship, and write what they want to write. as if the world is white and the world is made up of men, and what needs to happen is for people to take out space occupied by whiteness and men and place women and poc there. no. the world is not white. the world is not made up only of cismen. the world is wider and much much more than mainstream media and fandom. and whiteness and white cismen and their stories cannibalise the rest of the world and take up everything. and instead of people having women and poc characters to watch and read about, we have to watch and read about white cismen and find our humanity in them. that’s what we’re talking about when we say “screentime and depth.” and by shifting what we’re looking at from fandom to mainstream media (and at this point the things separating fandom from mainstream media are profit and means of production, because it certainly is’t space or popularity) we’re saying that the ‘imaginative, wonderful, creative, dynamic community space’ we all have actively built together and love is not that at all, but simply a passive extension of mainstream media. we’re also saying “have a problem? sorry. get the fuck out.” it doesn’t just “suck” that all the attention is on white dudes. it’s intentional, and it’s fucked up.
folks are making it out as if the only time you can comment on race and gender in fandom is if there are women and poc characters in the source material that are being ignored. if there aren’t lead women or poc characters in the source material, then their absence from fic should not be questioned. as if fandom does not routinely actively denigrate the existence of women and poc characters. remember joan watson? and there’s a disturbing (derailing?) tendency to make this argument about individual ficwriters as opposed to a look at the overall state of fic on ao3. this is not about you. this is not about you. this is not about you. this is not an indictment of you personally. this isn’t about me, either. this is not about calling out individual racists and misogyny.
and lastly, you can’t try to move the ‘blame’ (for lack of a better word) for the focus on white cismen to the exclusion of women and poc characters in fandom away from fandom and onto mainstream media, and then tell people to combat that very same thing by participating in fandom.
#the only thing I want to say is that frerard is the only bandom ship that made it on the list #oh my god
I know right? For once I didnt want to reblog the commentary and just flail about the fact that frerard is #31