The Emmerdaily contributor @IShipVanity takes a look at the attitude of Emmerdale fans and the ‘shippers’ of the show’s power couples. Can they just get along without declaring a social media war on each other?

Emmerdale Opinions: Can the fandom ships sail the rough seas together?
Emmerdale fans from all over the UK joins for the Emmerdaily Big Day Out

Fans are the lifeblood of any television series creating ‘ships’ for their favourite characters. Emmerdale is no different with strong fan representation in #Robron (Robert and Aaron), #Coira (Cain and Moira) and #Vanity (Vanessa and Charity) vying for a place in the viewers’ heart. Sadly though, it seems to have led to a toxicity in some areas of the fanbase that has at times overstepped the mark, as fans in their respective corners trade highly emotive language in support of their ship.

Whilst every fan is entitled to their opinions on the direction of the series and with it the characterisation of their favourites, the truly ensemble narrative gets lost in a sea of harsh twitter and social media conversation.

In truth, all ships even #Borel (Bob and Laurel) have their place in the Emmerdale world. They offer something for everyone where people identify with those characters. That’s the truly unique facet of a serial drama, there is something in the series for everyone.

Emmerdale Opinions: Can the fandom ships sail the rough seas together?Everyone should feel included in the narrative from LGBT representation with Matty Barton, Vanity and Robron, to disability inclusion such as Ryan Stocks and Rebecca White and power couples such as Coira.

In the words of that famous Australian soap theme tune… “Everybody needs good neighbours, with a little understanding you can find the perfect blend.”

Emmerdale has found a blend of characters that are reflective of society, where there is something for everyone. That in itself should not be overlooked when looking at the frankly perplexing narrative of some sections of the viewership.

Over the course of the past year, some sections of the Emmerdale fandom that are active on social media seem to have declared some sort of online civil war, with each set of fans declaring their ship better than the other.

They are spectacularly missing the point in the barrage of exchanges. Whilst everyone is very much firmly entitled to their opinions as part of a healthy discussion on storylines, characters and creatives, there is a boundary between a well-meaning discourse over a vitriolic attack on sections of the viewership. On occasion this year, there has been an overstepping of that boundary. With Vanity fans at constant war with Robron fans over which ship holds more sway or fans in general using frankly a toxic narrative that serves no purpose.

It’s crucial to the success of any series that the viewers are engaged with storylines. However, in recent times, some have been very hostile towards Rebeca White as a character over her parenting of Seb with Robert Sugden that nearly destroyed his relationship with Aaron Dingle. They have been at odds with his existence in the first place and the way in which he came into the Emmerdale world. Whilst those fans have a point to a degree, their almost constant disapproval of a child character is a little harder to justify. Those comments really stir up a lot of controversy within the viewership. For some it’s a reason to avoid a decent discussion due to an overriding feeling of hostility.

That’s a point in itself where sets of fans are entrenched in their views who shout very loudly created a swell of negativity and prevent rational discussion. Generally, the viewership do call out those who overstep the boundaries which is a real positive for the passionate online community Emmerdale has.

Emmerdale Opinions: Can the fandom ships sail the rough seas together?
Fans got together at the Emmerdale Studio Experience recently

What is fundamentally important to say is that there is a very supportive community within the viewership, with some forming incredibly strong bonds through their love of Emmerdale and its characters. Visiting each other in hospital or supporting through emotional crisis, that side of the viewership isn’t normally seen but it’s there.

In general chats over Twitter or other social media platforms, Emmerdale has given fans an outlet for new friendships and support. Where storylines spur conversations and people feel able to come out or to admit they were sexually abused through seeing it portrayed on screen. Then immediately as only social media can, they offer a real time supportive response to the viewers comments. That is the really positive side to the Emmerdale fandom that does at times get overlooked in a sea of hostility.

When you step back and look at it objectively there is more good than bad within the viewership but it’s important to call out those who overstep the boundaries with their views on characters and especially those who attack the actors themselves. There is an old saying ‘treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.’ At the heart of this is that common sense approach so just do everyone a favour and respect each other, nothing more and nothing less.

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