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Objectively the best ship ever

"Why do you have a page dedicated to shipping?"

Because, despite popular opinion, I think shipping is a great way to engage with media and characters. A lot of people dislike the practice of shipping because they feel it takes away from a given narrative, watering characters down to just their romantic subplots, and causing needless fandom drama over the canonicity and viability of certain pairings. In truth, that IS a very destructive way to engage with ships, however it's not the only one. Instead of taking canon as the be all end all of shipping, I think a proper shipper's goal is exploring potential dynamics, not set-in-stone established ones. If you just like a ship because it's canon or popular, are you really Shipping the characters, or are you just invested in the media/fandom?

For example, one of the shows I was very invested in as a kid is Star vs The Forces Of Evil, and if you ask anyone what brought the show down to the "unreccomendable" ranks of trashy cartoons, the watered down answer will always be "shipping". The thing is, even though I loved Tomco as a kid, I never... thought it'd be canon. At no point did I think my liking of the ship meant it HAD to be canon to have value, the fact I saw these two's dynamic and went "hey, they should kiss!" was good enough for me! And it always will be! The reason I shipped them was both because their on-screen dynamic was really fun and could absolutely benifit from a romantic lense, but also because I saw neither of them as a viable partner to the main lead, Star. They were the two ends of her love triangle that was causing her so much pain and i said "hey, what if these two do all the lovey dovey shit they expect from Star with each other, and Star can just go on to have as many free badass adventures as she wants while having two great dude friends???" I was very disappointed by the actual show as you can imagine.

I remember how, even in the early days of the fandom, people were ascribing so much meaning to whether a ship would be canon or not. It's like the crux of their investment was if they'd be personally validated for engaging with one ship over another. It shouldn't be like that!! All ships are created equal, and canonicity doesn't render one above others. As Star Vs proved more than once, sometimes canonising a ship could be a DETRIMENT, because the writers misunderstand what makes the dynamic good, or what fans want to see, or they plain lose track of the fucking story because they try so hard to make ONE pairing canon. Yes that actually happened, no, no amount of warning would make you ready for the way the show handled itself. It's sad because, my original investment in Star Vs was exactly the PLATONIC nature of Star and Marco's dynamic, and I can absolutely see why some people would find my shipping of Tom and Marco the same amount of tired and groan-inducing as I found the show's insistance on Starco. And that's VALID! Just because someone somewhere out there romantically interprets a dynamic you prefer to be platonic or adversarial doesn't impeed on your ability to engage with it however you please! It's the free marketplace of ideas, baby.

The thing that makes all this even worthwhile to me is that none of this is NECESSARY, a ship exists for the sake of itself, for the sake of exploring a potential dynamic, and that dynamic doesn't have to be grand! Unless you're trying to build a narrative off of it, you could ship characters for purely aesthetic reasons! (Like how even though I headcanon Gaster as 100% homosexual I still ship him with Blue Pearl of all people, it's pure aesthetic! I'm not trying to build a story off of their dynamic, I just think they'd LOOK cool together.) And this is of course not accounting for the fact that PLATONIC ships exist! Pairing characters up as friends instead of romantic partners is underrated and underused in fandom spaces! I want to see more people sharing headcanons about how certain characters would vibe if they were best friends, how does an average text conversation between them work, how do they resolve conflict with each other, etc. Explore friendship!! It's just as, if not MORE important than romance!!!

"Okay, but... what do you get out of this?"

A lot of people carry around the incorrect notion that shipping is a thing that's connected to fetishisation or flanderisation of characters. It's yet another case of the loud minority making everyone look like complete assholes. The truth of the matter is, most people engage with shipping because they like seeing characters together romantically, NOT sexually. There's a big difference. And if you don't know that difference, this isn't the place to find a detailed and nuanced answer because I am NOT a romance expert lmfao

If what I've already written doesn't spell it out, I engage with shipping as a way to explore characters and character dynamics. What parts of their personality shine when with this person? What about this other person? How do these two manage emotions when together? Do they build each other up or tear each other down? Is it deliberate or accidental? How do they grow from having known one another? Is the relationship built to last or will their flaws prevail? These are all really interesting questions that are Really hard to explore in a single narrative in a nuanced way, hence why opening the doors to literally EVERY possibility makes it easier to explore the nitty-gritty of a character than if they were chained to one character to be their partner no matter the circamstance, narrative, or lackthereof.

"None of this has changed my opinion and I think shipping is cringe."

I hate this kind of mentality more than you can fathom. The people who want to lump ALL shippers into one niche negative stereotype they have in their heads just scream "I have no integrity" to me. Not being able to approach a subject with nuance and thought is exactly what they complain about yet I kid you not there's people out there who STILL unabashedly hate shippers or Very Specific ships just because of fandom reputation. Like, what the fuck is even the logic behind that? 'Oh, everyone who ships this is actually a fetishist' maybe YOU'RE just overexposed to the shitty side of the fandom. I don't think shipping Lapis and Jasper is the worst thing a person could do. I don't care if Asgore and Toriel are canonically divorced, I think they'd still be cute together. I myself am an avid Mr. Stick x Fake Peppino enjoyer, does that automatically make me disgusting in your eyes? If it does gtfo of my website, you will gain nothing from being here.

"So, wait, what if I want to get into shipping but I've never done it before?"

I make it sound like a science, but it's really a lot more up to personal preference and gut feeling than anything else. If it clicks, it clicks! And in that vain, some people just don't GET shipping, not because of some fandom bias but just because exploring dynamics doesn't come in THAT form for them, and that's perfectly fine! I personally think a fun place to start when it comes to shipping is just to grab a character you like and start thinking about the dynamics they have with the characters closest to them, in proximity or in relationship. Go one character at a time until you find a dynamic you want to explore further, or that sparks some kind of interest in you (whether that be aesthetic, psychological, sexual, everything's on the table with consenting adults!), and if none of the characters closest to them have that spark, go a layer further! Crackshipping, baby!

Try and see if you like their dynamics with characters outside their immediate circle, maybe completely out of their reach. Maybe from a different corner of the series, maybe form a different series altogether, mybe with another version of themselves! Selfcest isn't my thing but hey, the possibilities are literally endless either way! Who am I to rain on your parade? Maybe none of that does it for you and you wanna make your own character to be their perfect match, no-one's stopping you! Maybe you wanna be the one they smooch! Sky's the limit! The only thing that's required is that you keep it fun and healthy. The fun part should be obvious, don't pressure yourself and don't pressure other people (again, for some it comes naturally for others it doesn't, there's nothing wrong with either! It's meant to be fun!), and the healthy part isn't about the characters as much as it's about real life people.

Wanna explore abusive and/or unhealthy dynamics? Be my guest, but be VERY aware that the media we create and consume still has an effect on us and our mental health. Don't treat real people like they're characters, don't get unhealthily obsessed with fictional characters (rich coming from me, right? But there's a real limit to how much I actually consider these characters a part of ME and MY identity, and MY understanding of myself.), and for the love of god don't start normalising p*dophelia or inc*st, or similar garbage. Again, these things have an effect on our perception of the world around us, and if you start making those things seem normal to your brain, very soon they're gonna start seeming normal even if you see it in your actual, real life around you. Don't do that.

In the end, I don't wanna leave things on a sour note, so just know that everything is better with friends, and if you have someone who likes spending time with you and won't judge you for things people deem "cringe", why not get into shipping together? Find a pair of characters and go buckwild, make up stories and scenarios and tragedies and comedies! That's how I started with basically everything I'm writing to this day. No shame!