i’m mad funny about power imbalances in ships tho
they’re really hot to me but only in the right circumstances and when they’re handled with care
especially when there’s oppression dynamics involved
like I realize I prolly don’t have a leg to stand on shipping Loghain with an elf but at the same time I can roll with that because of the circumstances it happens in. it’s one of those thin line between love and hate things and the person with the privilege was totally knocked down under the heel of the marginalized person and is at her complete mercy, she literally decided if he lives or dies, she’s deeply conflicted about her feelings all the way along, and she’s the one who eventually decides to pursue it. it’s messy, they know it’s messy, both of them go into it with eyes wide open but in the end there is no mistaking who is in total control of that situation and they are both 100% ok with that
so that’s one of those situations where it’s hot to me. if Gisele were a different type of person it might be another issue
i like reversal of power dynamics in some circumstances - like with gisele/loghain, they’re not in a situation where loghain could overpower gisele (mentally/emotionally/physically/wev) and you don’t present the ship as loghain “allowing” gisele to act this way towards him. like, it’s obvious and very clear that gisele is in control and that the relationship is 100% consentual.
apart from power imbalances in general making me uncomfortable, i think i could pinpoint my actual problem as those types of ships being presented as somehow romantic or sexy. same goes for abusive relationships. stuff like, for example, fsurana/cullen. no matter how the ship is presented, the fact remains that surana is not only a mage, she’s an elf and she lacks power in the situation, and there’s nothing she can do about that. they can both pretend it’s not like that — i’ve even seen it presented in fic as ~sexy~ or a ~forbidden love~ type of situation, but it fails to address that there will always be a massive power imbalance.
if the situation were different — if cullen was an ex-templar and a travelling companion, for example, and surana was the warden commander - i could get on board with that. they’re both in a situation where cullen is not an authority figure over surana and surana is in a situation where she is in control.
i guess an extreme example could be edward/bella from twilight, how edward’s behaviour towards bella is presented as being ~romantic~ when it’s barely disguised abuse.
idk i guess i like ships in which if it’s not gonna be 100% equal (which is what i see eilin/alistair as) then at least explore that dynamic in an environment where the marginalised person has at least a foothold. and don’t try to sugarcoat that shit, you know?
Sorry to barge on in this but here’s a radically different perspective that probably doesn’t get talked about enough in fanfic/fanart.
I’m a writer, not a shipper.
Believe it or not, I have very little interested in shipping or the romantic fantasies that are a popular activity in fandom.
I rarely write a pairing because I see it as romantic. I write fiction. Most of it would be classified as contemporary literature (rather than genre romance). I’m far more interested in the power dynamics that exist in all relationships, thus, when I write fanfic, I tend to write the more skewed dynamics.
Most of the time I’m not participating in the economy of feels that pervades fandom, particularly in shipping culture — something I rarely participate in at all. I’m writing stories about situations that aren’t good. That’s what some writers do.