August 10, 2018

A call for calm & the problem with #Shiro and the 'shipping Fandom #Voltron

*Possible Spoilers for Voltron*

What is 'Shipping?

 According to Wikipedia  "The actual term "shipping" was originated in the mid-1990s by internet fans of the TV show The X-Files, who believed the two main characters, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, should be or were engaged in a romantic relationship."

It's good to note that most TV shows before and since X-Files had some sort of relationshipping going on. The internet is responsible for finding like-minded people who can band together to make their 'ship known. With the age of twitter, this poses a very tough problem for writers who 1. don't necessarily think about hooking up characters and 2. risk losing an audience one way or another.

For me, personally, I think it's a very bad idea to listen to a fanbase IF you already have a solid grasp on who your character is and what their plot trajectory is from the start. Conversely, fans can see things that writers don't always think of and if you are flexible with your characters, there is no harm in making minor tweaks it if fits with your main plot. Thirdly, listening to your fanbase and then doing them wrong, is the biggest risk of all.

That leads me to Voltron and one of the main characters Shiro. There are many, many, many 'ships going on in this universe. Keith and Axca, Keith and Allura, Keith and Lance, Keith and Shiro, Shiro and Allura, Shiro and Pidge, Pidge and Hunk, Lotor and Allura, Lance and Allura, I could go on and on and on.

Me personally, I was a Lotor and Axca then Lotor and Allura shipper until he went nuts. Most of the other cast are teens, so I didn't really think about it much. Shiro is my fave but I honestly never shipped him with anyone. (I wanted to keep him for myself LOL)

Two of the biggest shippers out there are Lance and Keith or Shiro and Keith.

From what I've seen on twitter and the net, a fan blackmailed the Animation Studio, Writers, and others in 2017 to make the Lance Keith ship a reality or he would release unseen animated cells from an upcoming season. I didn't delve too much into it because it's just crazy on so many levels, but regardless if the Voltron Team had plans to make Shiro gay from the beginning it felt like fan service after they announced it at Comic Con this past July.

I honestly don't know if that was their plan. I don't think so because if that were the case there could have been plenty of hints at in the first season. Lance was already flirting with all the girls (a whole different blog about why fans ship him with other guys), Keith seemed to click with Allura (like the original version), Pidge is a little on the young side to worry about an actual relationship while being the smart one in the room, and Hunk is so likeable and usually the comic relief, and we all know they rarely get ships anyway.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I went to bed excited last night to see what would happen. And I sit here now, five hours later, after reading a dozen tweets with well-deserved backlash for something called Bury Your Gays. It's a trope where gay characters get into a relationship and one is quickly killed off. I don't necessarily agree with all on the list in that link, but many of them are guilty of this trope. It feels like they did this with Shiro and his partner Adam. They had one flashback scene where they barely looked at each other, no physical contact, and then Adam was killed without Shiro being able to see him.

Everything else about the season was amazing. This was a letdown.

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This beautiful, wonderful character deserved better. I mean, he's like the torture guy for this show in the first place, but if you weren't going to actually make him gay from the start, you should have at least made up for it with a good story worthy of Shiro. This was not it.

I'm not going to get into the Keith and Acxa ship and why everyone is mad that they're heading that way, it makes sense to me, he's half Galra and always (in my eyes) saw Shiro as an older brother. I didn't pick up on any crush, but I can see how that's relatable to many people.

I know the actors, writers, and many of the team are active on social media and interact with their fans. Fans, I'll say this to you. I get it. I understand. Please also understand that writers aren't perfect either and I'm sure they didn't do anything to purposefully hurt anyone. Give them a chance to fix it in the upcoming seasons. Writers, this is tricky ground. I know you have so many people you need to listen to in this game of series production. Listen to why people are mad, not necessarily the ones who are trying to force their version of the characters on you, but why they're seeking proper representation.

The LGBTQ community is only asking to see themselves on screen, fairly, truthfully, and seen as normal, just like we see hetero-ships on TV, in the Movies, and in Books. They can help the worlds you create thrive and be more realistic and inclusive. But everyone need to remember that negativity and combativeness don't always solve the problems. Use your voices. Tell your stories. Welcome others and we'll all be stronger for it in the future.

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