Hearing you’re a pro-shipper hurts, honestly. As someone who’s been abused, its not ‘harmless’, it romanticizes it often and can be incredibly triggering, especially when there’s no warning (ex: just put in tags, not in the first 5 that determine if it’s filtered through Tumblr) You don’t have to post this, honestly it’s just more getting it out so you might understand where people come from when they say shipping pedophilic/abusive relationships isn’t okay. Thanks for your time and good night

So. I’ve been looking at this ask for a few hours now, trying to decide how I want to approach it.

The thing that gets me, in the end, is that you seem to believe that me being pro-shipping changes the rest of my politics, beliefs, or stances.

But I’m still exactly the same person I was yesterday, before I answered the previous ask about shipping. I’m still a vocal, ardent believer that sex workers of all sorts–including writers and illustrators of erotic fiction–have the right to do our work in peace. I’m still a vocal believer in all labour rights, not just the labour rights of sex workers. I’m still a vocal supporter of the right of queer people to have sex any way they want, and to expression their sexual interests in art freely. I’m still a supporter of women’s right to freedom of sexual expression too.

And all of those beliefs require a foundational assumption: that sex is not a shameful things by nature.

Like anything, it can be used to hurt others. I know that all too well. I was a man’s personal sexual slave for most of my early adolescence.

But then, I have also been hurt by many things that are not sex. By racial discrimination, by anti-queer bigotry, by the belief that autistic and chronically ill people are subhuman and deserve to be eradicated from the human population and gene pool.

And in all of these cases, the common factor for what hurt me was not the act of being disabled, or brown, or queer, or sexual.

It was other people rejecting my right to express those aspects of my self. My right to exist openly along those marginalizations.

The fundamental difference between the pro-shipping and anti-shipping stances is that pro-shippers want greater freedom of expression, and anti-shippers want lesser freedom of expression.

That thing you mention, about tagging fiction so that it can be found and avoided?

That’s a pro-shipper concept. Shippers came up with it, and shippers enforce it.

However, in recent years, people have been tagging less and less, and with less and less detail. Because tags are no longer seen as a neutral tool to help people avoid or seek out particular kinds of content.

They’re seen as an act of support for the thing tagged.

Once upon a time, tagging a piece of fiction as #rape was not a seen as a statement about the morality of rape. It was merely a fact. “This story contains rape.“ People seeking out content about rape would know it was there, and people seeking to avoid content about rape would know it as well.

Now, specifically because of the anti-shipping mentality, tags are seen as condoning something. A story tagged as #rape is now often interpreted as being, “this story claims rape is a good and positive thing.” This leads to harassment, abuse, threats of violence, and even actual physical violence against artists (content warning: graphic images), sometimes requiring hospitalization. The worst case scenario for these kinds of harassment involve artists–sometimes underage artists, even–being driven to suicide.

Why would you tag your story as containing rape, if it could lead to a level of violence that makes suicide seem like the better option?

It’s no longer a safe, morally neutral statement. It’s an invitation for harm.

So people have slowly but surely stopped tagging.

And that means more people who want to avoid fiction about rape are exposed to it instead.

But this is not the fault of the artists, making the rational choice to protect their own welfare.

It is the fault of the people making the threats that have caused thorough tagging to be unsafe.

If you want people to tag more completely, then that’s a pro-shipping stance.

It’s only an anti-shipping stance if you want people to stop writing entirely. And the most common expression anti-shippers have, when they want people to stop, rather than to make ourselves avoidable, is violence.

You seem to think that my being pro-shipping is somehow a deviation from the rest of my politics and my beliefs.

It is not.

Supporting freedom of expression is one of my foundational tenets. It’s not axiomatic to my politics, but it’s very close.

And supporting shipping is supporting freedom of expression.

Supporting shipping is supporting the freedom to avoid others’ expressions, too.

it is anti-shipping that leads, inexorably, to the destruction of safe places for survivors who want or need to avoid triggering content to relax in peace.

And it is pro-shipping that leads, eventually and albeit with stutters and stumbles, to the creation of those spaces.

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