xparrot: (karkat omg yikes)
[personal profile] xparrot
So currently in SPN fandom there is a good-old fashioned...shipping war? Gen war?--there is a contretemps going on, and I feel the need to rant here because otherwise I am liable to get into something on tumblr, and who wants that?

The crux of the matter is the most recent episode of the show, which was an action- and h/c-packed riff on Reservoir Dogs, and had the family Winchester (and others) fretting over a mortally wounded Castiel. It was pure fannish catnip, and in classic SPN ripped-from-fanfic form featured Cas begging the boys (and their mom, long story) to leave him and save themselves, telling them, "You're my family, I love you, I love all of you. Just please don't make my last moments be watching you die."

Naturally they refuse to leave, fight off the baddie, Cas gets saved at the eleventh hour (unexpectedly and pretty adorably), and the fandom all flailed wildly.

Though for slightly different reasons, because while a bunch of us were thrilled by the Team Free Will family-ness of it all, the Destiel (Dean/Cas) fans decided that Cas's "I love you" was intended exclusively for Dean, was meant romantically, and therefore the show has officially made their ship canon.

And I have been here so many times, with so many ships, on both sides of the aisle -- seeing the ship, not wanting to see the ship; but this insistence on canon is something newer to me. I think it's in part because I've rarely had het ships in fandom (there are actually a lot of het ships I'm into, but I rarely get into the fic sides of those shows for various reasons) and until the last few years, m/m or f/f ships would pretty much never have a chance of going canon.

It's awesome that this is changing, but it means the slash side of fandom is moving into a new arena, one that must be familiar to fans of Buffy and such. The amount of vitriol I'm seeing on both sides I suspect is partly an artifact of Tumblr's conflict-prone environment, but partly because both sides seem to think the other is willfully denying obvious fact, rather than subjective interpretation (the fact in question being whether the show would go canon with an m/m ship with characters who have never been established as gay/bi. Some are convinced it will never happen and anyone who believes otherwise is delusional; most shippers think there's a chance, ranging from 'far out' to 'done deal,' and anyone denying it is a homophobic killjoy. Personally, I think it's unlikely but not impossible; SPN is a weird show and while in some ways it's very, unfortunately mired in older genre show conventions, it can take unexpected twists.)

(For the record, and to make it clear that I am hardly unbiased, I really hope it does not go canon with Destiel or any other pairing; one of the biggest draws of the show for me is its almost complete lack of romance, and I frankly believe the writers would do a lousy job with it.)

At the same time, some of this is such a blast from the past. It's been a long time since I've seen a slash vs gen war! It's not exactly a shipwar, as most W-incesters don't argue their ship openly, and a lot of us not into Destiel are gen fans with no ships to speak of. While some gen brother fans don't care for Castiel at all, there are those of us who love him, and love that he said "I love you" to the Winchesters -- but get frustrated that it's being interpreted romantically, and narrowly to only one of them. There are also some "get off my side" idiots who insist Dean can't go with Cas because he's not gay and can't be bi, which, on the one hand, no, the char's not been written that way in the past; but it's the 2010s, so why not start? (On the other side, there are those who insist Dean is already canonically bi because arcane symbols and secret signals -- he has a red and blue plaid shirt, so, obviously...?)

Meanwhile the Destiel fandom's treatment of Sam is deserving of its own examination, because it's an odd case of a straight white male character being treated like many female and minority characters -- most Destiel fans don't outright hate him, but call him 'the third wheel,' in the fic he's either written out entirely or serves only as the cheerleader/relationship counselor, and a lot of Destiel fans hope/expect the end of the show will be Sam settling down with a woman while Dean and Cas go off to hunt together. It's especially interesting because Sam is explicitly not a romantic rival -- incest not being a canon possibility, and Sam/Cas is pretty rare despite an abundance of subtext (no one who decries Destiel is suspected of being a Sastiel fan, that I've ever seen) -- but he's still resented for taking up story time and emotional intimacy that the shippers want for their ship.

And I'm just here whining, why can't we all get along? Especially because the show itself, in my biased opinion, has been going out of its way to show Sam & Dean as equally close to Cas -- they've called him "our best friend" and "our brother," and this last ep kept framing the shots so they were equidistant from Cas, often in mirrored poses, such to make my little gen team heart explode:



In conclusion -- SPN continues to be the oddest fan experience in that, as frustrating and flawed as the show is, it still delivers to my id far better than the fandom...
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