The Nature of Relationships (and the problem with the shipping world)
I want you to think about all the different relationships you have in your life. Your family, your best friends, those special someones that you hold dear—there are almost too many relationships to count. However, out of all those relationships, there should only be one (hopefully) which is a romantic relationship.
I often wish that, in the English language, we had different words for the word "love." I mean, you can say, "I love music and I love my husband!" Clearly you don't love them in the same way! However, there's only that one word 'love' for which we have to apply all sorts of different meanings to, and apparently for shippers, discerning what the meaning of love is for each relationship is too difficult. A language I adore because of its different uses of the word love is Greek. I'm going to give four different words that all mean love, except for each has a specific meaning for that love.
Means love in a "spiritual" sense. In the term s'agapo, which means "I love you" in Ancient Greek, it often refers to a general affection or deeper sense of "true unconditional love." This love is selfless; it gives and expects nothing in return.
"Physical" passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. Romantic, pure emotion without the balance of logic. "Love at first sight". The Modern Greek word "erotas" means "intimate love;" however, eros does not have to be sexual in nature. Eros can be interpreted as a love for someone whom you love more than the philia, love of friendship. It can also apply to dating relationships as well as marriage.
"Mental" love. It means affectionate regard or friendship in both ancient and modern Greek. This type of love has give and take. It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity.
Means "affection" in ancient and modern Greek. It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. It acts almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family.
When I see these beautiful, articulate forms of the one word we have, love, I wish that we had more words in our language to describe these different types of love. The love I have for my brothers and sisters is the not the same kind of love that I have for my friends, and though I've yet to truly fall in love in regards of the romantic sense, I'm quite positive that the love I will share with that man is going to be, yet again, completely different than the love I share with my beloved sisters.
Have you ever imagined your life being part of a fandom? As a TV series? Perhaps you have, perhaps you haven't, but my friends and I have this running joke that if our lives were a TV show, everyone would ship us together. Any possible relationship I have—the extremely close relationships I share with my older sisters, my good friendship with my older brother, the close friendships I have with my best friends, the jokingly flirtatious relationship I have with my friend's boyfriend (we threaten her we'll run away together. Don't worry though, we only do it to annoy her)—if I were in a TV series, there would be some crackpot out there that would ship one of these relationships. In fact, probably the most popular ship would be me and my older sister, because she is probably the person I am closest to out of all of my relationships.
The problem with shippers is that all they can see is the agape sense of relationship.
They can see that people care deeply about one another, and in order to make that relationship have any worth they think that it needs to be romantic, so they apply an eros definition to the relationship. That, however, is an enormous fallacy that is becoming increasingly common in fandom. Just to name a few:
While this relationship is more believable than perhaps other relationships, it's still something I see as a no-no. While I find their relationship precious and Naruto's dedication to Sasuke heartwarming, I see absolutely no eros in this relationship. It's completely friendship-based, agape (at least on Naruto's part) and philia only. This is another example of people seeing that unconditional agape love, liking how sweet Naruto's love for Sasuke is, and then deciding to ship them together because they feel like in order to make the relationship meaningful they have to turn it into something romantic.
No. Okay? Just no. Nothing says "I'm a deluded fangirl who can't take beautiful relationships as they are" like incestuous shipping.
If you want canon incest, read Vampire Knight. Yes, Dean loves Sam more than he loves anyone else in the entire world. Yes, Dean would die for Sam. Likewise, Sam would do anything for Dean. All this is true. Yes, they love each other and are each other's weaknesses, but NO that does not mean in any way, shape, or form that their relationship is romantic! It's wrong, is what it is: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Wz2KW… (And this is why I love Supernatural) I adore Sam and Dean's relationship. It's my favorite relationship in the entire show. I love their interactions, I love their moments of brotherly love, their man hugs, the tears they shed for each other, the sacrifices they give for one another—oh, man, I love it all. I love it so much, I think I adore it as much as I adore my OTP. However, I see it for what it is—a precious brotherly relationship, and I get as much satisfaction from their relationship seeing it as it is than as someone who deludes themselves into thinking that it would mean more if it were to be romantic. No, just no.
- Frodo and Sam:
If any relationship is on steroids on the feeling agape, this would be it! Sam's incredible devotion to Frodo seriously makes me want to cry. I love their relationship so much, and it's sooo precious, but when people start shipping them together, the entire nature of their relationship is swept aside and it means so much less. They are the closest of friends that anyone could possibly be, because they practically journeyed to hell and back together. If that isn't a bonding experience, I don't know what is! But does a relationship have to be eros to be worthwhile? No. And is there anything in their relationship that is romantic? Absolutely not. Adding an idea of romance to their relationship ruins that masterpiece that is already there, and I wish people could see that a relationship does not have to be romantic for it to be meaningful.
Ever since I got hooked on Supernatural about a month or so ago (and burning through three seasons during that time despite going to school from 5:30-3:15 Mondays through Fridays), the nature of relationships is a topic that's been on my mind a lot, a thought stimulated by the Wincest fan base. If you get nothing else from this journal entry, at least get this: