After having been in online fandom for (thinks a bit and is suitably croggled) almost eight years, I've had ample opportunity to hear others complain about seeing fan writers fridge some character's significant other because they want to get that character involved with another character. And because they just haaaate that character.
Sometimes it's someone getting rid of the icky girl so that the writer's favorite slash OTP can come true. Sometimes it's defenestrating the icky boy so that the yuri OTP of choice can flower. And of course, just as often, it's someone getting rid of the icky "person who is not part of my OTP," regardless of sex or gender. The commonality is that it is obvious through the writing, or through the author's comments, that the writer truly dislikes whoever the character's significant other is, and, more than that, wants to take out his or her dislike on that character within the boundaries of the story.
The non-ship version of this, of course, also exists. I've heard fans mourn about stories in which a writer will get rid of a character just because they really dislike the character - making it clear in the manner of dispatch how much they despise the character - without the need for OTP-rage-induced plot twists. And I don't much like that either.
Really, whether it's ship or non-ship related, I've always thought that if you were writing in a fandom where you truly disliked a character, you had various options to deal with that; writing in a reality where the disliked character never existed, for instance, or writing a story in which the character doesn't play a part. Or you could focus on other characters.
There are ways to write around the disliked character, in short, without hate-writing and character-bashing.
I understand that fic-writing allows people to write what they want. Fic writing exists for many reasons, not least of which, apparently, is the ability to pen the words "And then the horrible, ugly, mean, lying, tax-return-cheating, puppy-killing skag who I loathe was eaten by a pack of rabid squirrels, and everyone rejoiced, and My Hero stepped over what the squirrels had left and said, 'Wow, you know what? I never really liked her/him, let's go out for gyros,' and they did and then they came home and done sex."
But I always felt lucky that writers I enjoyed didn't do that.
If they didn't like a character, they didn't write about that character. Simple as that. It's not that writers I enjoy loved every character I did. They were often incredibly up front about not liking a character. They just didn't seem to take a great deal of pleasure in damaging that character within the boundaries of their stories. Hell, I've known some writers who, when they became very unhappy with the fandom in which they'd been writing, simply chose to sit it out, or find other fandoms in which to write. I respect that, even if I might not agree with it. That's the classy way to handle it.
So it's been an uncomfortable situation to see a couple of writers whose work I have enjoyed in the past, and who have never shown signs of this before, start slagging on characters. (They're characters I like, but, as I've said, other writers I know may not have liked some of my favorites, but either ignored those characters, or at least got rid of them without indulging in obvious glee)
It's happened a couple of times recently. And it's really both uncomfortable and slightly disappointing. It makes me sad.
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