I never liked shipping. Now I hate it, thanks to my experiences in the Winx fandom for the last few years. Shipping clouds people’s judgement and twists their views of each character as an individual.
Clearly, it’s worse when a main character like Aisha has more than one love interest. No matter which one we root for, we only focus on the traits that make them the “best” choice. Never mind if the love interest is poorly written and adds nothing to the story by himself or herself. It’s okay because compatibility and love!
I know I sound like a hypocrite. After all, this blog is about a couple — a ship, if you want. I’m just as guilty. In fact, I’ve even said I like Aisha and Nex individually, but I love them as a couple.
But I hate what stereotypical shippers focus on when choosing their ships. A love interest might get chosen because they’re “interesting”, cool, handsome, and other things that have nothing to do with their significant other. Someone might ship two characters just because “they’re cute together” (whatever that means). Others might apply real-life social standards to a fictional story, support a love interest who follows them, and reject a love interest who breaks them. Never mind that not all standards are universal, and not all situations are the same.
The shippers’ reasons are usually based on the past and present. What about the future? Are you sure you won’t get tired of that “interesting” love interest in a few years? Will the standards you’re holding your rejected love interest to ever change?
Most shippers don’t care about the principles of story writing. They just care about their ship being together (and the ship they hate not being together). Heck, let’s just skip to the wedding! How did the couple get to that phase? Who cares! All couples get married, right?
Here’s another question shippers don’t ask: what’s the point of this love story? Not every story needs a message, but some have one. What are you trying to say through this couple? What makes them the best medium for spreading your message?
When I look at Aisha and Nex, I don’t see a ship. I see a story with a universal message that’s more important than couples and relationships. (It’s not the obvious one you might think it is.) But because of the Aisha/Nabu, Aisha/Roy, Aisha/Nex, or whatever else battle, Aisha and Nex’s message is being distorted, drowned out, and ignored.
Will this couple ever be heard, and will the audience understand and appreciate them? I hope so.