A Brief Note on Shipbaiting in YA and Respecting Authors

I really didn’t want to write this post. Like I really really really didn’t. However, I feel like this is something important that we should talk about.

I’m going to try to handle this post in a somewhat sensitive way, but if I say anything that offends you or is problematic, please please let me know.

While this post specifically pertains to shipbaiting/queerbaiting, I’m sure that there are other problems that people have been talking about. This is the one that I’ve seen the most of with the most hate towards SJM.

Recently, I took a brief Twitter break in order to focus on my first week of classes at college. This morning, when I got up, I had a slew of Twitter DMs from a fantastic group chat that I’m a part of. There I discovered that there was Twitter drama–again–over one of my favorite authors, Sarah J. Maas.

I haven’t really read any spoilers for Empire of Storms, and I don’t plan on it. I want to experience her books blindly. I want to be able to pick up her book and know absolutely nothing because, for me, it adds to my reading experience.

However, I’ve heard some brief whispers from people on Goodreads and Twitter over a certain character who has a romantic relationship with another character. From what I’ve read, those people have been getting extraordinarily mad because of this relationship.

Y’all let me tell you something.

*whispers* The Throne of Glass series isn’t about ships.

I hate that I even have to fucking say this. This series has, from the start, been driven by its characters and plot. It has NEVER been driven by its romantic relationships. While these relationships are good additions to an ever-evolving story that is filled with so much magic and tragedy and heartbreak, it’s never been meant to revolve solely around romance.

Plus, even if it did, no reader has any fucking right to send hateful comments to the author just because they didn’t get the ship they want/got the ship they didn’t want.

What we’re reading is FANTASY. Authors are real people with real feelings.

In addition to this “shipbaiting,” I’ve also heard a lot about queerbaiting. A topic that I’ve heard so much about within the last year.

I don’t really want to get into this for two reasons: 1) I am not queer, therefore I do not think that I have the authority to make a full and effective argument and 2) I’m still learning, from a lot of my queer friends, what exactly this is and how much of a problem it is in popular media.

I first heard about queerbaiting from on of my favorite shows, The 100, a sci-fi TV show on the CW. The most recent season of the show has had a lot of accusations (a lot of them valid) of queerbaiting.

I’m very deep in that fandom, and I’ve seen how thoroughly the creative decision made by the show runner and writers has torn the fandom a part.

I use The 100 as an example, not a parallel. One of the things that’s different between The 100 and the Throne of Glass series is that the two characters that were central in the queerbaiting debacle were 100% confirmed as being LGBT+. The character that has been a part of the SJM drama has not been canonically identified as being queer.

While, I am in no way saying that this character isn’t queer, I just don’t that that this specific instance of queerbaiting can be applied.

In short, y’all, please please please respect the author. Authors create these beautiful and detailed worlds for both their readers and for themselves, and we’re just brief visitors.

If you have a problem with an author or a book, please voice your opinions respectfully and thoughtfully. We already have so much hate in this world; Please don’t add to the dumpster fire.

(Also, please keep in mind that the book hasn’t even been released yet.)

These tweets from my friend, Raneem, sum up a lot of what I’m feeling right now.

I want to discuss this with y’all. What have you been thinking about all this drama?

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3 thoughts on “A Brief Note on Shipbaiting in YA and Respecting Authors

  1. TeacherofYA says:

    I haven’t really known this was a problem! Also, I haven’t read any of the SJM series, so I guess I’m out of the loop.
    So “ship baiting” is where someone bashes on the relationship in the book? So for example, if I hated that Bob ends up with Lisa, and not Jill, in my book, I go off on the author? Is that what this ship baiting is? Sorry, but I am just trying to learn about the problems out there! 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Halee @ Confessions of a Book Addict says:

      Basically yes! Honestly, I think shipbaiting is all relative to the reader. Some people may see a ship as canon potential while others don’t. However, no matter what happens in terms of ships in any book, you should absolutely never ever send hate to an author. Whatever the author intends, everybody should have a measure of respect for. You don’t have to like it, but you should respect the decision.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TeacherofYA says:

        I agree. People get way too upset about things that are beyond their control. If they read a book and don’t like what happens to the people in it, they can write their own book or write fanfiction. It’s the author’s intellectual property and she can make the story happen however she likes. Some people just don’t get that.

        Like

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