Finding the Ideal Man using Justice League

After my very serious last post, I thought I’d do something fun.

I was telling my sister the other day how I could use the Justice League Animated show to pick out what I did and didn’t want in a man, and then I thought I could so turn this into a blog post.

So let’s dive in:

What is the show’s philosophy about what makes a good man?

The early season of Justice League, with just the original 7 members, is the best one, I think. The writers also tackled more hard topics back then.

Before I get into the individual characters, I think it’d be helpful to look at how the writers defined good men.

You’ll never hear those words specifically used, but it was funnily enough, usually episodes that centered around Wonder Woman, the feminist icon, that examined what makes men good. (In hindsight, that was low key savage as heck.)

In The Savage Times, when Wonder Woman meets Steve Trevor, she’s impressed that someone without powers and special abilities is willing to risk his life in battle. Later, in the episode Fury, she acknowledges Batman to have the same heroic qualities. (I mean, and he’s Batman, so there’s that.)

Other than these episodes, the show mostly doesn’t make a distinction between genders, but displays courage, honor, honesty, and loyalty as the traits the heroes should have. As well as Compassion and naturally, Justice.

Breaking Down the Characters:

While I love the show and still watch it from time to time, even though I’ve seen most of it 10 times over, over time I have changed how I feel about the characters.

If you do watch the show, I’m probably going to insult at least some of your favorites, but hey, I don’t care if you like these characters. I understand why people do, I just don’t personally anymore. Too much negative experience with some.

I won’t bother with the female characters, since A, I’m a woman. And B. I don’t know if I’d pick either of them as a great example of womanhood, but I do think both of them change over the show more than the male characters do, so at least they can grow. That being said, this post is more about what I look for in a man.

I will freely admit, I am biased towards my favorite, the Flash, but he wasn’t always my fave, and I don’t usually let my biases influence whether I approve other characters or not, I just don’t enjoy them, but if I’m criticizing, it’s because I thought it out.

Let’s start with Superman, the big guy:

In all fairness, Superman is probably not on my hate list, but he’s not on my top 3. I usually just feel neatural about him.

Over time I’ve started to think that’s because Superman purposefully lives his life in a way that keeps people neutral.

Now, when I say a superhero is not what I’d look for in a man, I’m not actually saying I think they’re a bad person. Plenty of good people are just not ready for, or suited to, romantic relationships.

A romantic relationship, as even Jesus said, requires a lot more growth, maturity, and self sacrifice than any other form of relationship does, from us. We’re naked to each other, both literally and emotionally, in romance, and that’s not something everyone is ready for.

Which is my chief complaint against Superman. He’s a great guy as a friend, son, and mentor…

But with Lois, both in the comics and the show…not so much.

The comic version of him, at least early on, was way worse, I admit. I remember one issue where he literally tells Lois “Maybe I will marry you….someday.”

And…it’s like…played off as a joke…

But I’m thinning “So you play with her feelings, toy with her, get jealous if she flirts with anyone else (which happened multiple times in other issues) but you won’t put a ring on it and she’s just supposed to be okay with being treated like a convenience?”

I’d put it down to it being the 50s and 60s, but…to be honest, marriage expectations were higher back then, and a young man not proposing to a girl after so many years of dating was kind of seen as irresponsible and weak…so yeah.

Superman just doesn’t want to trust anyone with his identiy, usually.

But…I mean…you know, worst case scenario, everyone finds out you’re Clark Kent…just form a new false identity, you’re superman, are you really worried about someone killing you?

And if you can’t trsut the girl…why are you dating her at all?

It’s not about logic with Superman, it’s about fear.

On the show they do a better job of showing this, they depict how he’s afraid of his powers sometimes, especially since Darkseid used him against earth.

Superman does become more arrogant later on in the show, probably in a suppressed desperation not to ever lose control of a situation again.

Lois, being the sassy queen that she is on that show (best version of her) is never afraid to call him out on his BS.

But…I don’t recall a single time he ever listened to her. He brushes her off, dismisses her concerns, and honestly, at times I think he kind of acts superior.

Lois has good points every time, but for all Superman pays attentin she might as well be the airhead she is in the comics.

Though on this show she saves his life two or three times, so you’d think he’d be alittle more grateful and respectful.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I don’t actually think he even thanks her once for doing that. So…yeah.

Again, I don’t hate Superman, but I think Lois could do better. Take the glam off of him being Superman, and he’s a guy with a lot of insecurities, which is fine, but not if they control him.

We all have our fears and hang ups, but not all of us let that make us into people who won’t listen or trust people who prove themselves to us time and again.

And while Superman has had issues with people setting him up, they are always his enemies, none of his friends have ever betrayed him, so I wonder what his possibly excuse for being so wary is. People who’ve been abused often can’t help but mistrusts others at first until we do therapy and growth, but Superman’s past is pretty healthy all things considered.

Not that he still can’t have trust issues, but what’s his reason for not addressing them?

He lets no one get close enough to call him out on it.

And it’s not just Lois, other league members like Batman, Flash, and Green Arrow all confront him and he ignores all of them, and it takes blowing up a deserted base of government workers to make him see a problem with his actions.

All things that might be forgivable, but don’t bode well for any relationship he’d ever be in. If he can’t listen, then forget it. You’d never resolve any issues.

Men who can’t admit faults scare the crap out of me. So do women, for that matter.

That said, if you like Superman, that’s cool, he’s a fun character in many ways, but, I’d never date him.

J’onn J’onzz:

Not much to say about our friendly neighborhood Martian Manhunter, because he’s not featured a whole lot in episodes that deal with relationships.

But we do know he’s lonely often, and tends to go by the book about interpersonal issues as well as public ones.

He actually does have a relationship later on in the show, and it seems to be going well. I could believe that.

Though he can be stoic, J’onn is caring, compassionate, and not overly stubborn about his own faults that I can tell.

I feel like characters who don’t look human are often written to have less human flaws in fiction, maybe it’s just me, but just about the only flaw J’onn has is he doesn’t always do the right, or human thing, in favor of doing the “smart” thing.

While you can argue that maybe that’s not bad, it is easy to slip into ignoring a lot of people’s needs if you carry that logic too far.

But J’onn laughs it off fairly easily when he is proven wrong, so it’s not too serious of a flaw. He also can be quit salty when the other members do things hypocritically, which is fun.

While J’onn is not my type, because I like a man with more of a sense of humor, irony, and friendliness, I would approve him for dating to the right person. He’s got the necessary humility and doesn’t seem too hostile to critiques or conflict resolution…plus he could read your mind, so that’s bound to make communication easier right there…a little unfair, actually.

Green Lantern:

I’m about to piss some people off.

Sorry, not sorry.

Green Lantern is my least favorite Justice League member, period. even out of the wider cast.

Actually when I returned to the show after years of not watching it, it surprised me how little I liked him. I used to think he was fine when I was a young teen, young teens are honestly the worst judges of character in the world. Children and older adults are much more perceptive.

GL can be funny, but that’s about it.

In my humble opinion, he’s an ungrateful ass to his friends, and arrogant to them also.

He thinks it’s my way or the high way all the time.

Even more concerning to me was that his ship with Hawk Girl gets off to a pretty rocky start.

Hawk Girl is actually pretty cool to him at first, I thought. She helps bail him out when he gets framed for blowing up a planet, and tells him “that’s what friends are for.”

I don’t really see any issues with how she treats him from that point on to the War World, or whatever. But there Green Lantern snaps at her about her attitude.

She’s quiet understandable pissed off by this, and bothered.

Green Lantern apologizes later, by saying he was “too hard on her.”

But I don’t find that very satisfactory.

I mean, was it your place to call her out on that? Did you have a close enough relationship for that? And what exactly did she do anyway?

To me it’s more like he was wildly out of line, and should know better.

My problems with GL continued though, aside form Hawk Girl, I think he treats the Flash pretty disrespectfully–because he can, the Flash won’t retaliate– and is often lacking in compassion to the people they’re helping, even thought the other members say they should help them.

He’s ungrateful when they help him.

And in the episode where they’re all fighting and trying to do team building, he takes a very militant approach to solving issues that are much more personal and emotional.

Still GL in the early show was a bit more bearable, there were some funny moments.

But the later showed killed the character for me.

For one thing…he’s dating Vixen

And he can’t even do that properly, he’s negligent to her and acts annoyed when she wants to go out on a date.

But what peaked it for me was when he told Sheyara about them having a son in the future. Only to add that he didn’t want to break up with Vixen and be controlled by it.

And I thought…” then why did you tell her? She never had to know, Jackass!”

Thenhe gets pissy when she dates someone else…wow…due, just…wow..

This is not healthy behavior.

And so monumentally unfair to Shayera. She’s been through enough, losing it all, you need to tell her that even if the future declares it, you won’t just choose her.

How does that make a woman feel?

Horrible, I guranntee it. Her guilt wasn’t bad enough.

There’s no real point to telling her that anyway, it’s not like it can influence your decisions if she knows or not, unless you were hoping to convince her not to date anyone else, in which case…frick you man.

The amount of insensitivity in this, it’s not how you should treat anyone, let alone someone you claim to love.

Some could say I have too high standards.

Well, I guess it is true that the people closest to us hurt us the worst…but is it too much to ask that there be a traditional reason for a decision? Not just him weirdly wanting to clear the air?

After that I kind of thought Sheyara should just dump his rear end for good and find some one who actually treats her right, the show never does resolve this conflict anyway, that I recall.

It says a lot when Vixen, her rival, treats her with more respect and consideration than her actual love interest does.

So it’s a hard pass on GL for me.

I also think he’s judgmental, which I hate.

Batman:

Well, Bats is my second favorite male in the league, mostly because he’s funny, though not usually on purpose.

His main ship is with Wonder Woman on the show, and while…it’s not perfect, they have a much better rapport than Superman and Lois, or GL and Hawk Girl.

You never catch either of them dunking on the other for stupid reasons. Batman is actually the first to believe Wonder Woman is a capable hero, and she tends to see a side to him that other people don’t.

He’s also the first person she asks for help when she has an emergency, and he delivers.

Their trust in each other is affirmed several times throughout the show, and batman even finds her more belligerent temper to be funny or endearing at times, instead of off putting.

So the signs are good that Batman can handle a challenge, especially one that would scare most people off.

Wonder Woman is also the only non-spoiled rich, crazy, or kleptomaniac ship for him I know of, which I thought was a plus. She’s weird enough to satisfy his need for not liking ordinary people, but she’s sane. And a good person. Hurrah!

Suck it Catwoman.

But anyway, as far as Batman goes, he does have trust issues.

He trusts Diana though, as he’s quite open about, and his issues don’t really revolve around her, but more of the idea of getting close to someone in general.

I’m pretty sure she’s the only woman he ever admitted that too.

Of course, it’s all total BS, since he used to cozy up to Catwoman with zero regard for that.

Also it kind of feels like the writers shoehorned his problem with it in, since he has none in earlier episodes.

But assuming it’s legit and not BS, then I think his problem is really that Diana is the type of person he could actually be happy with, and that’s what scares him. He’s afraid to risk it, and disrupt his life.

And of course, where would they live anyway? Imagine Diana going out of Wayne Mansion, right?

But you can work around that. For crying out loud, he’s a billionaire, move? Have a private house, like, get creative man.

They’re just excuses.

But I’d hold out more hope for Batman to be able to grow up a little, despite what the authors ultimately did in Batman Beyond (because he’s not allowed to be happy, you know, ruins the edgy aspect), because he’s at least aware he has a problem. He also treats Diana way better than the other men treat their girls. At bottom, Batman is actually a pretty affectionate, compassionate guy, who hides it behind being scary. Which is shown both on his own series, as well as Justice League.

He also is pretty cool to the Flash and doesn’t berate him like the other often do, and shows up for his big event.

Batman also has the ability to appreciate qualities in others that he himself lacks.

It’s a 50-50 chance on whether he’d chose to overcome his issues, but if he did, I’m convinced he’d make one of the best partners out of the bunch.

Not maybe my type per sec, but I could at least see myself being friends with him, so that’s a start.

Biggest flaw is that he doesn’t take people saying no to him well. And tends to ignore criticism. I think he gets better about it–and to be fair, Diana’s about the only one who gets away with teasing him about it and not getting the Batglare, so I ship the heck out of it to this day.

Fight me, it was the best relationship on the show.

The Flash:

I saved the best for last.

I never crush on fictional characters, but I think the Flash has become my one exception to this rule.

What can I say? He’s just so good.

I don’t get too wound up about it, it’s just that every episode he’s in, he somehow fails to do anything to tick me off, and manages to be the best part of the league.

Now I know, he may not be everyone’s flavor, I’m not like a Jonas Brothers fan girl, okay?

But I evaluate.

One of my favorite things about the Flash is that, unlike the others, he’s not too polished, he’s not perfect, and unlike most of them, he doesn’t hide it.

He can be a bit reckless, thought not stupid, as he’s accused of being. And he does flirt too much in the first season.

But, he was the youngest member, and probably only in his early 20s when they started.

And I’ve met real life 27-30 year olds who act worse than him, so, age isn’t everything.

Plus, he grows out of it by the later season, so I think we can overlook.

I think after how I was raised by someone who’d put on a fake spiritual face at church and around people he wanted to impress, but torment the life out of anyone who was actually at his mercy, I’m just over people who act like they have this uber high standard, but are jerks to people close to them.

(Looking at you GL)

Flash on the other hand, goofs off on the job, which is hilarious, but is easily the most compassionate to people on a private basis.

He plays peacemaker between Wonder Woman and Hawk Girl (unsuccessfully, but he tried).

He’s willing to risk his life to help GL get out of a death sentence.

And my two personal favorite moments, are when he actually talks the Humanite into helping him bring Christmas Cheer to the kids at an orphanage, and talks his enemy the Trickster into surrendering just by being nice to him.

Flash also is said to help people with trivial tasks like household chores. And volunteers his time to lift the spirits of kids at an orphanage.

Something I never catch anyone else doing in this league, except maybe Batman as Bruce Wayne.

But Flash is a stand up guy both in and out of costume, both with people it will help him with, and people it won’t.

He’s also not afraid to call out the other league members if they cross a line, he even managed to stop Wonder Woman from straight up murdering a guy for killing Superman…which is taking you life into you hands right there.

On top of that, he’s funny.

I might swoon, to be honest…

Okay, okay, maybe this is not everyone’s type, but I guess personally, I don’t see what more you could ask for without exceeding human limitations.

Flash has his bad moments, but is the first to apologize usually, and the first to forgive, like when the league splits up briefly and then gets back together. He’s insecure sometimes, but tends to brush it off quickly.

He does nice things for the league even off the job, like getting them coffee, or blankets, another thing I don’t see the others doing usually.

He’s down to earth, and despite bragging a lot, actually has the smallest ego in my opinion, it’s mostly just for show.

He’s humble enough to brush off the other’s snide comments at him, though I find GL’s especial to be a little too cutting to be friendly.

And he forgives Hawk Girls the fastest and treats her the same even after her betrayal.

All in all, the only things against him are being too flirty, and sometimes too quick to speak and unable to reads the room.

I find those to be pretty minor flaws. Nothing to dump someone over. Just put him with a girl who’s good at that and he’ll be fine.

Sorry for gushing, but I get on a roll about Flash, I think he’s underrated sorely by fans.

Basically, the Flash could handle a relationship with a woman, because he checks all the boxes for his other relationships that would make you a good bf of husband.

Though as a fiend, he could get away with less effort, he chooses not to. He makes everyone around him feel special, and he’d do that for his SO if he one. Most men tend to treat women how they would treat their friends, after a certain point. So if he’s nice to his friends, he will be to you too.

At least my dad was a jerk to his friends as well as us, so I’ve seen it work the other way. And I’ve observed the same rule in my guy friends.

But fair warning fellows, that’s not true of women. Women will treat men differently than they do each other, anti-male brainwashing is rampant in this culture.

I’d suggest finding a woman who either is fed up with that crap, or who is able to learn, and if you explain it to her that it’s a double standard, and she listened, then there’s a good chance she’ll learn better.

I mean, men do frustrate me often, I admit. I’ve yet to find one at all like the Flash. It was a different time, you know, when men were taught to be somewhat confident. But I know there’s some out there still.

Flash might be a little too good, but in all fairness, it’s not like we see all there is to these characters. You can’t depict all of the quirks of a human being in fiction.

But you can look for the red and green flags.

Most of the members flash too many red flags for me to support shipping them, and I would look for it in a boyfriend.

But in my opinion, humiilty, compassion, honesty, and a snese of humor are the most importnat personailty triaits while and unwavering moral code is the most important foundation.

Beyond that, hobbies, tastes, and looks are really all a matter of taste and not that important anyway.

I actually think dating someone just because you have the same hobby is one of the stupidest ideas in the world. 10 years form now chance are one or both of you won’t be into that hobby anymore, and if you have no character compatibly, what will you do?

That said, that wraps up my analysis.

So did I convince you? Or do you think I overlooked some details?

Do you have any fictional examples of an ideal man or woman?

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

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I ship it!

Since I got tired of writing only super serious life posts, I’m continuing my Christmas break (lol) with a post about one of my favorite things to do in fandoms. You guessed it from the title, I’m a shipper.

I am that kind of shipper who views shipping as an art form, I never multi-ship, and I put hours of thought into my OTPs, and NOTPS too.

Note: For those of you not in on the fandom lingo, here’s a few terms

Ship: Noun: Short for relationship, usually means erotic, but can mean friendship, if you specify it as such. Verb: To support or hope for said relationship, usually by making fan content or subscribing to other fan’s content, but can just be casually enjoying it on the show or book.

OTP: One True Pairing, your favorite couple, that you cannot see being satisfied with any other pairing, think of it as the soulmate of fictional relationships. Initially it meant the one pairing of the source material overall that you liked, but now it more of means the pairings for each character you prefer, so you can have more than one. For example, your One True Pairing for Batman can be him with Wonder Woman, or with Catwoman, while your One True Pairing for Superman can be with Lois Lane, or with Wonder Woman (depending on what DCU you follow) and you can have both, but Wonder Woman can’t be in both, you have to pick, otherwise it’s called being a multi-shipper.

NOTP: The pairing in a fandom you absolutely hate, usually because you like a different ship more, in my case, it’s because my NOTPS are usually abusive relationships that I find horrifying that people ship at all.

Shipping War: When fans take shipping WAY too seriously and attack each other and the author over it. A debate is not a shipping war per sec, but fans will fight on social media and leave hate comments on the opposition’s videos, like it really make s a difference, and riot if the source Creator doesn’t do what they want, it’s all a joke until shows actually lose ratings over it. No rational fan likes shipping wars.

Just like in my previous post about RWBY, I am making the case that caring about this stuff is not only important if you’re a fan, but also if you’re not, because fandoms are influencing your life way more than you realize they are, unless you are in one.

Seriously, I make friends over this stuff, and other people lose friends over it, and that’s just the beginning of the way fandoms permeate the culture. And that’s global, for the most part. Think how Frozen became a world wide sensation in like a month and it still is 6 years later.

If you still aren’t convinced, then hear me on this: Fandom Logic has permeated even our political social interactions… in fact, if I’m being honest, Politics are the original Fandom.

LSU Press :: Books - Politics for the Love of Fandom
This book goes more into the subject, if you’re interested, I just found it while researching this post.

So, that being said, I’ve learned quite a bit from participating in a few, you really see the good, the bad, and the ugly side of people’s art and love of art and values through fandoms.

And shipping is an especially good way to learn this, since as a woman, I find relationships to be pretty much the most important thing there is, and plenty of men I know or know of take the ships very seriously too. Though they tend to blame the overall show’s tone for what they don’t like, while women tend to focus on the characters themselves and whether or not they have chemistry. I, an intellectual female fan, do both.

I had my days of fan-raging out over stuff I didn’t like, and I sometimes indulge that around people who agree with me almost 100% (who doesn’t) but overtime i realized that it fixes nothing, and no one will ever see your point if you just yell at them. I’ve started being able to calmly discuss things with other fans, and actually diffuse it if they get too worked up. Though it doesn’t always work. I do this more with politics, religion, and other real world issues now too, actually, learning about one helped me learn about the other.

There, I think I’ve justified talking about this so seriously enough now, let’s get to the meat of this post:

Shipping: Why Bother?

So, the top annoying things i hear in fandoms about shipping is the self righterous snobbish comments about it not being improtnatn who gets with who, who kisses, and waht not. That we should focus on the plot.

I fine this stupid and concerning for a couple reasons. The first being

  1. Nothing in the story is real, so why does it matter which particular element people focus on? Are you really saying the plot is more “real” than the relationships, because usually the plot depends on magic, superpowers, or a political system that’s not actually in place int he real world, while relationship dynamics are a real thing, more people care about than they do the so-called “important” stuff.

2. Sex, kissing, and all the rest that goes with are important. That’s literally how we get new life, and have a future on this planet, and in a story it works the same way. Strictly speaking, without couples, there is no real continuation or progression of a plot. Stories that don’t develop ships end up in a weird loop, of never changing dynamics. Even freaking Star Trek eventually added ships to change stuff up and that’s one of the most popular sci–fi shows of all time. Dr. Who has a ton of shipping. Shipping changes stuff in ways other plot points don’t. in franchise like the MCU, adding a next generation of kids because of the couples gives you the opportunity to go into themes like legacy, and carrying on a hero’es mission, even when the circumstances have changed. Yo just don’t get that without a romantic subplot to set it up.

Actually, even stories that keep romance out of it usually have a mentor-ship arc, which is basically a variation of a parenthood arc. So yes, I find it quite important.

That said, I don’t think most fans actually hearken to the idea that shipping is unimportant. Some do find it stupid to argue over it.

I think, in one way, they are right, arguing based on personal taste is a colossal waste of time. I think of the shippers of Zuko x Katara vs Zuko x Mai, yeah, I prefer one, but neither is toxic enough for me to argue about it. In that case it is more of a minor annoyance.

But then, if a ship is promoting a lifestyle, mindset, and set of behaviors that is simply wrong, and that may influence what younger viewers think is acceptable in relationships, I think it is the job of viewers and fans to call it out. After all, we contribute to it if we support this stuff. Which is why I find the shippers of Harleyquin and Joker to be quite scary. The tags “EVIL LOVE” are insulting and degrading the very nature of what love is. Love is never evil, if it’s evil, it’s not really love, just a sick impersonation of it. Why would you support such an abusive relationship?

At this point someone usually argues that it’s just for fun. To which I respond “Bullcrap”

People take this stuff dead seriously, and more and more science supports that fiction affects our brains almost the same way non-fiction does, in fact, it effects us more simply because we consume more fiction than reality, in this culture. We’ve substituted local gossip for shipping discussions.

And, if the amount of toxic relationships in the culture is any indication, we really to believe this crap is normal.

It astonished me after watching Naruto, how many fans saw no problem at all with the way the ships ended, even though at least a couple of them are toxic, and most were not developed at all. But the alternative fandom ships were almost worse, making me wonder if people honestly thought this was relationship goals.

I think people do purposely choose to ignore the red flags in these ships and put the best possible spin on it, and hey, it’s a show, so why is it not open to interpretation?

I used to be more lax about that, but after realizing that in my own life, my family and I had made the same excuses for my dad and my other relatives that people make for fictional characters, I had to wonder, is there really a line of reality?

We use backstory to excuse a lot, and in real life, we do that too. My dad uses his own tragic backstory to excuse all of his behavior, even what is not explained by said backstory (and his is a very anime type kind of story too. Not in a nice way.) I have a prime example of what it might be like to live with an anime protagonist post the show. Allegedly, my dad moved on, overcame his trials by his own efforts and hard work, married happily, settled, and had 3 great daughters. What more could you ask for if this was an anime?

Yet, nothing was truly happy in my household, my dad still related to my mom, me, and my sisters in exactly the same way he related to his toxic family. He didn’t ever have satisfaction in his line of work, even though it was something he enjoyed he stressed constantly and complained and abused his employees.

So, I maintain, if a character has unresolved issues and is shipped anyway, it will remain toxic whatever the fandom chooses to believe. And, an author is probably writing from their experience, so it raises concerns about what they think is okay.

One of the reasons I mentioned that I do not like the Bumblebee ship in RWBY (that’s a gay ship between Yang and Blake, two Main Characters) is that I believe its toxic, and since this is the focus on this post, let’s dive a little bit more into why that is:

I said that Bumblebee was pushed to pander to the fans, and that it took the focus off both character’s development, but I didn’t really go into how it actually works. And since it’s hardly addressed at all, this should be short.

The dynamic of Bumblebee is mostly to be gay, and even LGBTQ fans complain about that very thing, I’ve seen it. If we remove that element, all we have left is a few funny exchanges in season 1, a single heartfelt conversation that was mostly Blake being defensive until the end is season 2, absolutely nothing important in season 3 except Yang trying and failing to save Blake from her psycho-ex (which at that pint in time Yang would have done for any of her team), nothing in season 4 at all. A angry gripe session of Yang in season 5 where she blames Blake for leaving her, and doesn’t try to understand until Weiss of all people point sit out to her, and even then she seems hesitant, but sort of accepts Blake back into the team. In season 6, they spend most of it being uncomfortable with all the unresolved tension and changes in their lives, ending it by tag-teaming Adam to death and reassuring each other they’ll be there for each other. Great!

Vol 7 we get more of nothing, except Nora hinting that they are a thing–Nora, mind you, not them–and Yang saying the wrong thing, and Blake being weird about it, and then both of them discussing what’s going on without having anything notable to say about it, I don’t even remember what they talked about.

In vol 8 so far, we have zero conversations, while they disagree on the plan of action, and Yang worries Blake will look down on her for someone vaguely defined reason (seriously, it makes no sense, Blake did pretty much exactly what Yang is doing in volume 5, of course since they’ve never TALKED about it, maybe Yang is unaware of that fact).

Great history isn’t it? The amount of time Yang and Blake actually spend together NOT making each other uncomfortable is… maybe two scenes? Out of 8 volumes. Yeah, this just doesn’t work for me.

Aside from the dynamic, I also put a lot of thought into personality. Like parents and family usually do for their children, you think what will bring out the best in the other person, what they need, and you look at their track record for clues about any pattern they have in relationships.

Yang has a total of zero relationships that we know of, other than a very negative mother-daughter one, a decent Father-daughter one, and a questionable sister-sister one. She’s consistently annoying and angry at all her other friends and doesn’t listen to any of them except Weiss on one occasion. Terrific. (I didn’t dislike Yang initially thought, I thought she was a good character in volume 5, it just got dropped after that).

Blake does have one relationship, or one and a half, under her belt, and that’s actually my main concern. It was an abusive relationship with Adam, the guy who tries to kill her like two or three times afterward. Since that relationship ended (a straight one I might add) she’s been busy running form her problems, and being pretty reliant on other people for her self-care. It takes Yang really beating it into her head in vol 2 for her to rest a little, with help from Sun. And then Sun has to follow her home and risk his life a couple times for her to get that she needs to stop hating herself and trying to be alone.

I didn’t think all this made Blake a bad character, I could relate to some of what she felt, and it was a good story. However, to me, her development with Sun was a crucial part of it. She was learning to talk through stuff with him, not carry it all inside. To open up to help, and be less defensive and sad. It was solid. She also was strangely unhung-up over Adam while she was around Sun.

Once Sun left, Blake goes back to being freaked out by Adam, and Yang doesn’t really make a difference here. They don’t talk about it more than once, and Blake just ticks Yang ff that time. Then after they kill him, Blake is upset but resolved to be better. I thought that was good for her…but then it’s just kind of gone in the next volume and Blake is acting awkward and insecure around Yang…

And she was literally flirting with Sun a week ago in the show’s timeline.

To me this makes it seem way more like Blake just can’t not be a relationship to have self worth, she relied on other people to help her get through things not in a good way, but in a, “If I don’t get this kind of attention, I shut down” kind of way. She makes no move to talk to or bond with the other characters, and she and Yang continue to not work through their unresolved issues. Which seems far more like her relationship with Adam than with Sun, and not what we should be going for if she’s really learned something.

Together, their dynamic seems codependent, when it’s there at all, most of the time it isn’t. Yang has abandonment issues, and she gets mad at Blake for leaving her… that’s never talked about either. And she never admits that’s she pushing her issues onto Blake when she has no right to do so, as Blake never made her any promises to stay, and quite actively pushed her away most of the time. Blake’s whole aura is “don’t rely on me” Yang, like most neglected kids, is drawn to the familiar, hoping someone will make a different choice and somehow heal them, and sets herself up for disappointment when Blake does what people like Blake do, and runs or refuses to talk to her.

Yang is also angry, which is what Blake’s past failed relationship was like, so it hardly seems healthy for Blake either.

Being with someone like your abuser doesn’t fix trauma, it doubles down on it. Even if they are not “as bad”, it’s still poison.

My mom had an abusive father, he’d get drunk and yell at her, I don’t know if he hit her, she’s never told me. But he’d be angry, inconsiderate, and a jerk. Her mom was stable, but had to work to compensate for her several useless husbands, so my mom was left to mother her younger sister and take care of herself. My mom ever needs anyone that much even tot his day, 40 years later.

My dad ensures that you can’t rely on him, he yelled and stormed at my mom, and made fun of her weight, her singing, her personality, and no matter what we said, he wouldn’t stop. He recreated her trauma, and it didn’t fix a dang thing.

I tend to gravitate toward people who are negligent with me, or toxic, only I don’t realize it till later. It’s scary.

That being said, if Yang and Blake were real people, this relationship would be a bad idea, and in my opinion, it would not last. Blake will get tired of repeating the same patterns, she at least seems to learn slightly. Yang never learns, and will likely just go from person to person, unless some serious character growth happens.

If a fan were to say I was making assumptions, I’d retort that volume 1 and 2 establish Yang as a bit of a violent flirt, and in her own words, she prefers to drift “with the flow”. She doesn’t go through much to change that between volume 1 and 6, so… yeah, I don’t think she’s over it. She tends to be disrespectful to all older women she meets, Maria, Winter, the Ace Ops Females, and any others handy, because she has mommy issues. Then she turns to younger women to try to heal that. At least, it looks that way.

Now, I got all of this by actually watching the show and paying attention, and I’m pretty sure the writers down’t do that. No one seems to notice Yang has a pattern, which you’d think it would have to be intentional, however based on my own writing experience,it’s really not. I write character who consistently play off other characters in patterns, without even trying, because that’s how the personality tells itself to me. Yang has been given Mommy issues, she acts accordingly without the writers needing to plan it, we write what we know.

I wouldn’t have to try to give a character Daddy issues, I do have to try to give them a good relationship with the males in their lives. That’s how it is.

So, I spent a lot of time on Bumblebee to show you how this analysis of ships can work, and why it’s important. The level to which you can recognize these patterns in fiction may mirror the level to which you are aware of them in your own life and your family’s.

It’s not coincidence the at the people who hate Bumblebee also give the most thought out critiques about the show overall, usually. They see that common sense is being thrown out along with the continuity.

I notice most underdeveloped ships are toxic, actually, it’ like without the time and effort to think it out, we default to toxicity, because it’s toxic to not put in effort to something.

Bumblebee is like a n archetype for the main problems with shipping. Things are overlooked that should not be over looked, things are excused that are not excusable, and trust establishment is traded for cute fluffy moments, which to me are never cute if there’s nothing there.

Contrast that to a shoujo like “Lovely Complex” where both Risa’s falling for Otani, and her winning of his trust and affection are drawn out to a length that’s believable with plenty of emotional ups and downs along the way, till the climatic moment where they kiss and he returns her feelings, and you’ll just see the difference. It can be hard to re-watch because it rings so true. I’ve felt a lot of those frustrations, and the show’s message that true love never gives up is a good one. It even matches the Bible when it says “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

Fiction is a great way to experience love as we believe it should be, to give ourselves an idea of what should happen if we could love the way we want to.

I find it highly disturbing when people’s fictional love is worse than my real life love experience, mine isn’t so great, but I’ve still been blessed with some real friends and good family members. When I dream of love in the future, I dream of something better.

Another reason I find shipping just to pander to the audience to be a really bad idea. An author ought to be lifting our gazes higher than we’ve been before, to help us see what we should be looking for, even if they don’t know very well themselves, they need to strive for ideals.

You do often end up with the trashy romance novel tropes if the author has no actual experience to back it up, but Jane Austen was single, yet wrote some of the best romances of our English literature, so if you have a keen mind and an observant soul, I don’t think that has to stop you.

Again, effort is everything here.

When I ship character in my own writing, I test it out as a friendship first, I explore the strengths and weaknesses, and I honestly ask myself if I can promote this kind of dynamic to my potential audience. will this become abusive? Is it encouraging an unhealthy attitude toward love? That sort of thing. Once I find a way to make it good, without being too perfect to be believable, I set the wheels in motion to turn it into a romance. When I introduce a character just to be part of a ship (all writers do it) I try to flesh them out so they contribute more than just that to the story, at some point, the ship may not even be the main thing they contribute.

Since I began taking this approach to shipping, I noticed that fandoms have circles of shippers. People who ship just for the sexual excitement, and people who are looking to learn and benefit by the ships, and raw inspiration for their own lives. You tend to find more single people in the first circle, and people who are probably since for a reason, in the second you find more people who have successful relationships, and enjoy talking about them. That’s pretty telling right there.

Some fans ship superficially, and root for one character for no particular reason other than they are hotter, and they like that dynamic better. The “bad boy” “sad boi” or “angry boi’ thing turns them on, ( usually it’s women, if it’s men…normally it’s just how thicc the female is..sadly, there’s some exceptions, but superficial shipping is grossly predictable).

The ones like me and my friends tend to ship more for development’s sake. We wait to see who will be the healthiest, sweetest match, and go from there.

People still argue over the best option, but these debates tend to be more civil, not always, but usually, and we can see the other person’s point a little, because we actually think about the ship from different angles.

It’s like how in real life, when you want to marry someone, you can’t just think of the butterflies,you have to think of finances, family, location, the future, all that. And with the fight person, that can be exciting or at least you will get stronger because of it; with the wrong person, that stuff causes everything to fall apart. (And you may be the wrong person at times).

One thing I no longer ignore in shipping is family. I used to, but now I realize that behavior that is sown into you will come back out in some form or another.

In the MHA fandom, I love Shoto Todoroki’s character because the show takes the time to show how he acts like his father even when he doesn’t intend to, and then he confronts that and changes, proving he is not his father, but giving a realistic portrait of how it is for all of us from toxic backgrounds. On the other hand, we see Uraraka, who has great partners, often acts insecure despite that, showing we still have to choose to benefit from good parents. Both these characters carry that into their potential ships, and to my surprise, I have found fan content that addresses that, plus content from the creator himself has.

There are case where the victim of abuse will not abuse their spouse and kids the same way they were abused, my dad didn’t beat us, for example, but he was still violent in other ways. And usually if it doesn’t come out in the same kind of violence, it comes out in overcompensation the other way in self defense. Leading to neglect, and emotional distance from the family.

With all human efforts to fix things, you have to pay the piper. You aim for one thing, you get it, you lose something else. It’s just how we are, we can’t be everything, only God can love without compromising, and enable us to do so.

Why does all this need to trickle back to shipping? Though. It’s not real, it can’t make us happy.

That is true.

Actually, the best shippers are the ones who don’t rely on ships to make them happy. I’ve done my time looking to fill my emotional void with romance writing, but the older I get, the less it works. I find I am more interested in seeing what I can apply to my own life, and what I can’t. I prefer to write ships that way too. Too cotton candy, and you lose any sense of reality; too toxic, and it ceases to be helpful. It’s not that complicated, but boy does it require effort.

The startling truth that most non-writers don’t know is that writing romance is freaking hard. It’s a challenge, even for subpar writers, to build a whole relationship in a story.

You see, Love, even if it’s in fiction, is never easy. It’s why series like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey start one way, and end another. You can’t write just about sex and feels all the time, romance eventually forces you to look at your own life. even if it’s clumsily done, some element of actual love starts to find its way into any ongoing romance. If it’s longer than one book, or one season, the writer can’t help it, they start to change the story around it.

Love is not stagnant. Sexual love has phases, just like every other kind, and each one is glorious in its own way. It challenges you. The act of sex itself is not really just about physical pleasure, anyone who takes it seriously knows that, it’s about giving, and learning to receive. Learning together. That’s why it makes a good metaphor for love in general, and God compares the Love between Him and US to a romantic love. It’s because it takes you so high, yet it requires all you got to give, or it dies off.

Even in fiction, Love is powerful. It gives people hope to read about it even when it’s not real, because they hope, somewhere out there, it is.

Which is why, we need to be so, so careful what we call a good idea in a relationship. Hint: It’s not choking someone else.

The rise of kinky shipping in fandoms is not something I see as a good sign. and there’s some evidence it’s on the rise in our real world relationship too, to the point where we’re no longer feeling ashamed of it.

Now, I’m not talking a fetish for a particular body part, I don’t really see that as much of a concern, widely. But normalizing violence in relationships, it’s a problem. People other than me notice that kids try to imitate anime, with it’s violent love tropes, and its harmless to a point, but then it’s not.

Plus, I’ve said before I think fiction is where people with unhealthy parents often turn to find something better to base their own ideals on, and it can’t be made light of in that way.

I guess, lastly, I hold even frictional love to be sacred, in a way. The same way fiction that riffs on good parenting is disgusting, fiction that promotes abuse is disgusting. To give glory to something, even in the imagination, that is base and vile is still wrong. In fact, making light of abuse is arguably only helping it continue to circulate. Because I believe in the Bible, I believe Love should be taken seriously, though it’s perfectly fine to be lighthearted about it, if you are lighthearted because the people are happy and trust each other.

This basically became an essay about shipping, but that’s how I roll.

I still have more I could say about this, but that’s enough for one post. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.