A while ago I made a post which talked about the complexities of shipping in fandom. I went into detail about why it is so complex and touched on a few of the issues and unwritten rules, the latter of which nearly every shipper in every fandom has broken at one point of another. It doesn’t mean that the majority of us don’t try to be respectful of other shippers and their ships, it means that we are human. I will quite willingly admit that in the heat of an argument I have been known to be extremely rude and disrespectful of other ships. Nowadays I try and talk calmly and be respectful but I still occasionally slip. My motto when it comes to ships has defaulted to “Live and let live unless someone decides to start a better-than-you-and-yours argument”, in that instance I reserve the right to tell you to go somewhere else and take your judgmental attitude with you (although perhaps not in such polite words).
An ship war that came to light again recently in the Star Trek Voyager fandom is the J/C vs. J/7 battle. For the uninitiated, J/C refers to the heterosexual ship of Captain Kathryn Janeway and Chakotay (her first officer – also the camp I reside in), whilst J/7 is Captain Janeway and the Borg Drone Seven of Nine (the camp I used to belong in). An offhand comment in an online group was met, at least in private, with outrage. Why? Because the poster in question made it clear that their opinion (that Janeway and Seven had a mother/daughter relationship only) was the only valid one as far as they were concerned and that there was no room for argument from others.
Now, this is where I say hold on a minute! When I first started to become active within this fandom, I automatically shipped these two (yes my opinion has changed over time and my lesbian ship on the show is now J/T or Janeway/Torres to use the names, but that is not the point). Janeway and Seven share a lot of screen time and are two of the three main female characters on the show at that point. As forward thinking as Star Trek has been (it’s one of the reasons so many of us love it), we still have not had a long lasting, honest to God, Queer relationship in any of the show’s carnations. Consequently those of us who are part of Star Trek’s ‘rainbow’ fandom are going to search high and low for any subtext we can get our hands on. I may no longer ship J/7, but I’ve written fics in the past for them, fics I’m proud of some of those pieces because of the way they were received by others. My preferences when it comes to ships may have changed, but that doesn’t mean I’ve taken those fics down and it doesn’t mean I’ll deny my shipping past or the preferences of others.
Different people will see different things in interactions between characters. When it comes to Star Trek Voyager, I have heard of people shipping Janeway with every other adult character, except Neelix (which I’m rather grateful for), and not everyone is going to agree on which is the right one. When it comes to the J/C and J/7 shippers, the only thing most of us seem to be able to agree on is that C/7 should never have happened. We all agree that it was the most poorly conceived canon relationship in the history of the show and was one big rushed mess which deserves the ridicule it gets. We all have our reasons for favouring our ships, but I wish fandom would realise that the show which we adore is shared by all of us and perhaps, as adults, it’s time we grow up and accept that not everyone has the same opinions. Live and let live.