|Synonyms:||shipwar, shipping war|
|See also:||shipping, OTP|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
A ship war is a heated disagreement between two or more groups of shippers. Ship wars are usually between fans of two, or more, ships with a character in common, for example the two ships involved in the Bellarke vs Clexa ship war had the character of Clarke Griffin in common, with both sides believing their ship was the best one. Unlike your garden variety of wank, ship wars span a long period of time (often years) and involve many people in their fandom. Symptoms of a ship war include:
- rants, both of the "we're obviously right" and "why can't we all write our porn and get along" kinds
- long-winded essays trying to prove canonicity or superiority of the preferred ship (sometimes going overboard and claiming every scene with one or both of the characters as proof, in a very convoluted, Dan Brown fashion) or pointing the flaws in similar essays by rival shippers
- a refusal to quiet down till well after the canon is closed
- anti-shipper posts appearing in that ship's Tumblr tag
- mocking the other ship, or opposing shipper groups, via graphics, like memes and manips
- Character Bashing of the one who is "in the way" of each side's preferred ship
Because they’d invested so heavily in this one ship, to the detriment of making wider connections in fandom and developing a diverse interest in the series, Rowling’s revelation threatened to invalidate not only their ship, but their fandom...
In a pre-social media age, none of these could really reach or touch Rowling unless she, for some reason, actively sought them out, but, nevertheless, something had changed; the Harmonians, facing extinction, had decided to double-down and bite the hand that fed them. The ship meant more to them than the fandom did.This is the moment that birthed zero-sum shipping, a kind of blind gamesmanship that only values a ship for whether it not it wins, not whether or not it is enjoyable. Add in the peculiar moralizing of the Harmonians, and, voila, you’ve got the recipe for fans antagonizing creators over appearing to support ships that are, in their eyes, morally unacceptable.
Unlike LiveJournal’s communities, Tumblr’s fandoms rely on tagging. Instead of joining a group for your interest, you simply search for #show or #movie. This is where problems begin. A user on tumblr can tag a post with whatever tag they wish. Let’s say I was a shipper who wanted to pair off Alice and Bob on the show Great Adventures. I might tag a post “#AliceBob #GreatAdventures #ThisShowIsAmazing.” Unfortunately, until December of 2017, Tumblr did not have any built-in filtering mechanism, so every user who wanted to see posts using the #GreatAdventures tag would see my posts about Alice/Bob, as well as other pairings, like Bob/Eve, Alice/Eve, etc...
Early Tumblr fandom attempted to work around this problem with the simple etiquette “don’t tag your hate.” If you were passionate that Bob and Alice should never be together and you wanted to write an essay on why it was a horrible pairing, it would be inappropriate to use the #AliceBob tag, since that’s used by all the people who want to find content for the pairing. Instead, the early solution was to use #anti-AliceBob when arguing against something. The idea was to replicate the communities of LiveJournal by separating users who objected to a pairing to those who favored it. The term anti, or anti-shipper, comes from this tagging practice, and entered common use in 2015.Unfortunately, this plan to help fandom police itself backfired. By creating the #anti-AliceBob tag, the fandom created a community joined together by their hatred for something. And, over time, these anti communities radicalized other members.
In the 2010s, there has been fannish discussion about how the arguments in ship wars have changed, from whether or not a ship has canon support to whether or not a ship is morally good. See also The Three Laws of Fandom.
- Bangel vs Spuffy in Buffy fandom
- Bellarke vs Clexa in The 100 fandom
- Bumbleby vs Blacksun in RWBY fandom
- Caryl vs Bethyl in The Walking Dead fandom
- Clana/Lana Lang war in Smallville
- Gillovny vs. Gorgans (RPF) in the Gillian Anderson/David Duchovny fandom
- Harmonians incident in Harry Potter
- Kataang vs Zutara in Avatar: The Last Airbender fandom
- For a time, at the beginning of The Originals, Klaroline shippers were involved in quite a vocal conflict with other fans of the show (and the character of Klaus) due to potential love interests being introduced. This resulted in severe hate being directed at the characters of Hayley Marshall and Camille O'Connell and the actresses portraying them.
- Ichigo/Rukia vs. Ichigo/Orihime in Bleach fandom
- Inuyasha/Kagome vs Inuyasha/Kikyo in InuYasha fandom.[note 1]
- Jate vs Skate in Lost fandom
- Jonsa vs Jonerys in Game of Thrones fandom
- Kamui/Subaru vs Seishirou/Subaru in X/1999 fandom.
- Lucas/Maya vs Lucas/Riley in the Girl Meets World fandom
- Mulder/Scully, the May and June 1996 "relationshipper wars" on alt.tv.x-files. See On Relationshippers... (May 13, 1996) -- PUSHER was a 'Shipper!! *gak*!; archive link (May 28, 1996) -- my problem with the "relationshippers" (May 29, 1996)
- Nesspaula vs Nesscas in the EarthBound fandom.
- PokéShipping vs AmourShipping in the Pokémon anime fandom, though all Ash/female companion ships have been involved in the ongoing war since Advance Generation.
- Ranma/Akane vs Ranma/Ukyo in Ranma 1/2 fandom.
- Ray Wars in due South
- Sheith vs Klance in Voltron: Legendary Defender fandom. To a lesser extent, Lotura vs Allurance.
- SoKai vs SoRiku in Kingdom Hearts fandom
- Team Edward vs Team Jacob in Twilight fandom
- Tsukino Usagi/Chiba Mamoru vs Kou Seiya/Tsukino Usagi in Sailor Moon fandom. Recently, Senshi/Shitennou vs Kunzite/Zoisite.
- Westallen vs. Snowbarry in CW's The Flash fandom
- The long-standing Love Triangle Debate in Final Fantasy VII fandom - mostly Cloud/Aerith fans vs. Cloud/Tifa fans
- Willabeth vs Sparrabeth in the Pirates of the Caribbean fandom.
- Dozens in the Fire Emblem fandom; the most notable being Chrom/Sumia vs Chrom/Female Avatar in Awakening, Ike/Soren vs Ike/Elincia vs Elincia/Geoffrey in the Tellius duology, and all ships centered around Lyndis in The Blazing Sword.
- Shipper Wars Rant, Archived version by Melusina (2004)
- you have got to be kidding me; archive link by seperis (2006)
- MY FUCKING FANDOM GIVES ME FUCKING FITS, part 34,849 by Hth (2007)
- Ok, well don't say I didn't warn you.; archive link; WebCite by Bokai (May 2017)
- antishipping as the cool new trend, or: why are most antis under 25 years old?, freedom-of-fanfic (June 2017)
- Could you talk some more about how current antis relate back to the LJ social justice scene and when the morph from debating fanworks to dissing people happened?; archive link, freedom-of-fanfic (July 2017)
- The ship wars: what it means when fans don’t agree who belongs together
- Welcome To Hell - Hazbin Hotel, Charlie Morningstar/Alastor, Charlie Morningstar/Vaggie, Ship Wars, Harassment, Toxic Fandoms - Bliss Fully Aware podcast (Oct 29/20)
- Hobby Scuffles Week of April 17, 2023; archive link by iwasonceafangirl (2023)
- The fall of fandom etiquette and the rise of the ship war
- Toxic Fandom: When Criticism and Entitlement Go Too Far
- See What's the difference fandom wise between today and ten years ago? ask answered by glamaphonic (31 December 2015), Anti-Shippers entry at the Fail_Fandomanon wiki.