|Mah dear Once-ler~ |
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Note: The following essay is an OPINION. Can’t handle it? I refer to the back button in the top left corner.
This is not meant to offend any shippers, I just felt the need to express my point of view. I will try to be as respectful as possible, however please note that I am also very blunt. Can’t handle that? I once again refer you to the top left corner.
I don’t expect anyone to stop shipping Jelsa because of this. I know that people will ship whatever they want regardless of what I say, and that’s fine. But if you don’t mind someone’s opinion, then please take some time to read this.
One last thing: Please read the whole essay before commenting. Thank you.
Why I DON’T Ship Jelsa
There sure is a lot of blue on the Internet these days…
Ah, Jelsa, Jelsa, Jelsa. From the moment I saw it, I knew it would be popular. I mean, it’s two attractive people with ice powers! Of course they would get shipped! but I admit, I never expected it to reach this extent. In fact, it has become so popular, it’s even caught the attention of several online magazines:
I was pretty neutral to this pairing at first, but now I’ve started to become rather annoyed by it. As you’ve probably guessed by the title, I dislike the pairing. Not simply because it’s so popular, but because I can’t understand for the life of me why it’s so popular. How could such a simplistic ship with blatant logical errors garner such a huge following? I don’t get it.
Granted, I’ve seen some pretty lame reasons to hate on this ship, but I’m not here to talk about those. It’s not canon? She’s disney and he’s Dreamworks? Pff. Who cares. It’s fandom, we ship what we want.
The shippers are jerks? Maybe I’m just being a hipster over here? Nahhh. It’s true that several of the shippers are jerks, and that stinks, but that’s really no reason to hate on the pairing itself. Never judge a ship by its shippers (or shippers by their ship, for that matter).
So then, what’s the real reason I dislike Jelsa?
Honestly...I just think it’s shallow.
The basis is weak, the reasoning is surface-level, the logic is unconvincing...Trust me, I’ve read a whole bunch of argument defending Jelsa and all of them pretty much say the same things. Most if not all of the arguments can be easily refuted.
And that’s what I plan to do: debunk the most common arguments defending Jelsa, and then dive into the real reason that I don’t like the ship. And if you still think I’m being a hipster after that, then...the back button is still there, bruh.
(Please note that this essay is called “Why I Don’t Ship Jelsa, so please don’t take it personally.)
Before I dive into the reasoning, let me treat you all to an actual, legitimate conversation I had with my friends IRL, just to set the mood for the rest of the essay and to set up the main problems with the ship:
Friend #1: I ship Jack Frost with Elsa
Me: *sigh* Ok...but may I ask you why
Friend #1: The snow powers!
Friend #2: Oh yeah, I never thought about that! And they both look alike too!
Friend #3: Yeah, and Elsa didn’t have a boyfriend in her movie…
Friend #1: Yeah!
Friend #3: And they both have white hair?
Me: Is...that all there is?
Friend #1: She ships Elsa with Wreck-it Ralph
Friend #2: Eww!
Me: What do you mean? They have lots in common! Both of them were rejected because of their abilities and--
Friend #1: Oh yeah, she likes to go all deep and stuff. I just ship based on looks.
Friend #3: Wasn’t Jack rejected too?
Me: Not really, he just wasn’t famous, it’s not like he had trouble with--
Friend #2: Yeah but Jack is so much better looking than Ralph
Me: Never mind. Let’s talk about something else.
Once again, this is an actual, real-life conversation I had with my friends. I didn’t make any of this up. Now, these are three of my dearest, lifelong friends and I love them forever, but you can’t help but question their logic a little, right?
Let’s go over the things they mentioned in the conversation:
Similar color schemes/appearances
Blatantly obvious shared ability
It’s kinda interesting that the most popular pairing in the fandom just happens to have all three of those things, isn’t it? Or am I imagining things?
Sadly, only a portion of Jelsa shippers actually bother to go beyond that when it comes to explaining their ship. A lot of them ride on looks and powers (mostly powers) as the basis of the ship. The magazine articles I linked above are more or less the same.
I realize that there are other reasons that fans give for the ship, but first, let’s go over those mentioned in the dialogue.
This is one of the most-debated factors when it comes to discussing the ships legitimacy. Non-shippers argue that Jelsa is only shipped because of the ice powers, while the Jelsa shippers argue that there is more to it than that. But let’s just face the facts here: this is kinda the first thing that comes into people’s heads. While it’s not the only reason given, it’s the first thing that people notice between the two characters and it is likely the reason that people connected the two together in the first place. If it wasn’t for ice powers, most of the current Jelsa-shipping populus wouldn’t have even considered the pairing in the first place.
I’ve seen a few Jelsa shippers comment something along the lines of, “Even people outside the fandom say they should be together! That’s proof that they are meant to be!” But really, what makes you think that people outside the fandom are bothering to notice anything beyond the obvious? I’ve had that happen to me, where a friend would finish watching RotG/Frozen with me and say, “Jack and Elsa would make a cute couple,” and when I ask them why, do you know what they say?
And why wouldn’t they? It’s so obvious.Even the magazine articles I linked above, plus many other interpretations of the ship, use phrases like “frosty love” and “icy romance” to describe the pairing. It’s the whole reason the connection was made.
But you know what I think? I don’t think ice powers should even be</i> a reason for shipping at all! The ice powers thing should just be an added bonus, not the basis for the whole ship. Can you imagine if abilities were a determining factor in real life? Architects would only date architects. Singers would only date other singers. “Oh, he’s a good artist and I’m a good artist? Gee, we should totally go out!”
What about personality? Compatibility? Things that actually make these characters people instead of just beings with ice powers? Compared to that, ice magic really doesn’t matter at all.
Now, there are people who try to explain why the ice powers matter in the relationship (the most common argument being “He could show her how to have fun with/control her powers”), but we will get to that in a minute.
I can’t believe I even need to address this. Unfortunately, it comes up in way too many “justifications” of the pairing for me to ignore.
I will keep this short. Why does it matter at all that they both have pale skin? Or similar hair colors? Or that they both wear blue? In what way does that make them compatible with each other? There are a million boys in the world who have the same hair color and skin tone as me, does that mean that they are all automatically compatible love interests with me?
Of course not. It doesn’t matter. It adds nothing to the relationship. In fact, this isn’t even shallow, it’s beyond shallow. It’s desperate. People are just desperately naming random things that they have in common just to make their ship look more legit. But it will never matter. I find it rather sad that people actually use this as a reason for the pairing.
As for them being attractive, it’s more or less the same thing. Loving someone just because they are good looking is something we should all know is shallow and silly. I don’t care if they are both attractive physically. This does not make them compatible. Don’t be vain, and start digging deeper.
”They are both single.”
I’m not even going to try and pull the whole “it doesn’t matter if they are single or not this is fandom” stuff. This statement is simply false. The directors of RotG literally said that Tooth is Jack’s canon love interest. Just because they do not loudly declare their love or make out in the movie doesn’t mean there is no romance between them.
In fact, they even said that if a sequel is made, Jack and Tooth would have a love story and they would kiss.
Do you have to ship Jack and Tooth together because of this? No, of course not. But don’t give me whole “they’re both single” excuse because it’s simply not true.
”He’d show her how to have fun with/control her powers.”
This is the thing I mentioned that I would talk about earlier. It’s good to see that people actually bothered to come up with it, but even so, I still don’t agree.
It’s probably safe to assume that this would happen before or right at the beginning of the Let it Go sequence, since that was the time that Elsa had the most trouble controlling her powers. In this case, there are two scenarios that I often see happening:
The first is that Jack met Elsa when she was locked up in her room. At that point, she was too paranoid to let anyone help her with her powers. She wouldn’t talk to Anna and eventually she grew distant from her parents, so why would she let Jack help her? Perhaps, maybe, she’d be relieved to see that he possesses ice magic as well…
Until she realizes that her powers are stronger than his.
Until she realizes that he’s never hurt anyone with his ice, and therefore isn’t burdened by it or experiencing the same problems that she has. Jack was never treated like a monster for his powers, so why should Elsa listen to him?
At this point, Elsa, being the pessimist that she was, would realize that he wouldn’t be able to help much and therefore want him to leave the way she did with Anna. She was just too scared, and at that point in her life it would be impossible for anyone to help her, even Jack, simply because she would not allow it to happen.
Move over to the other side of the spectrum, during Let it Go and at the end of the movie--and what do you know? Elsa already knows how to have fun with her powers! She doesn’t even need someone to show her how, all she needed was to feel that she is free enough to do it.
I know what you’re thinking, “but she wouldn’t have felt free if it wasn’t for love!” True, but guess what? Anna’s already got that covered, so once again, there is no need for Jack.
Long story short, there’s just no room for Jack’s involvement in or after Elsa’s story at all without making it seem inconsistent or rehashing Anna’s role. Even after the film, if Elsa were to have supposed “relapses,” Jack wouldn’t be able to help her because once again, Elsa is too closed off to let him.
Before we go on to the next point, I’d like you all to picture something in your heads:
Imagine that you are a painter, and you are known to be one of the world’s best. One day, another person comes along, who is also an amazing painter, and the whole world seems to associate you two together because of this. The person is fairly attractive and kinda looks like you (same hair color, eye color, etc,) and you get along fairly well...and then one day you realize that they are very childish. Very VERY childish, much below your level of maturity. And it’s not just every now and then or with their baby cousin or something, this is their actual personality. This doesn't stop the two of you from getting along, but any romantic potential that this person had in your mind is now gone, even though the rest of the world still associates you two together.
Replace the painting skills with ice powers, and that’s basically Jelsa.
”But Maria! People don’t just ship Jelsa for their looks and powers! There are other reasons too!”
Yes, I am aware. And that’s what I’m going to talk about next, the most common reasons for shipping Jelsa outside of looks and powers. Let’s take a look at them:
They were both isolated/loney
From what I’ve seen, most people don’t go beyond that. They are both isolated, therefore they are going to relate to one another.
However, I find this analysis to be extremely surface-level and unconvincing. Besides the fact that lots of animated characters have been experiencing isolation as of late, people just don’t seem to realize that isolation is a common result for many different problems. Just because the two characters are separated from everyone else, doesn’t mean that their problems are the same. In this case, they’re not. Jack and Elsa both go through a period of isolation, yes, but the reasons why are very different.
Elsa was what you could call quarantined.--as if she had some kind of disease. She was treated like a monster because of her ice powers and was therefore separated from everyone.
Jack, on the other hand, was isolated because he...wasn’t famous. That’s completely different from being isolated because of an ability. No, he was alone because people didn’t know who he was, not because they feared him. It wasn’t that he was burdened abilities or his role in life, he was just looking for a friend who could see him and enjoy his company.
In other words, Elsa was isolated because of a burden, while Jack was burdened by his isolation. Do you see what I mean? Two very different problems. For Elsa, the burden came first, and the isolation as a result, but with Jack, it’s the other way around.
By that context, they might be able to relate a little bit, but there are other characters who would relate to each of them much better than they would relate to one another. Like I mentioned before in the “Having fun with powers” section, how could Elsa expect Jack to help her with her powers if he’s never been burdened by them in the same way she has? What Elsa needs is someone who was quarantined, like herself. They don't necessarily need to have the same powers, but just someone who was rejected because of an ability/role. (I personally ship her with Ralph because he was ostracised for his “bad guy” status, but there are other characters who fit as well.)
Jack, too, would fit better with someone who is more like him--someone who was burdened by their isolation and just wanted a friend to be with. Characters like Mavis, Anna, etc fit that bill pretty well, much better than Elsa does.
I think the direction fans wanted to go with the “loneliness” is that Jack somehow “knows what Elsa is going through.” But as I explained above, he really doesn’t. He has ice powers, but they are not a problem for him. He’s isolated, but not out of hatred or rejection. He really doesn’t know what she’s going through at all. Being isolated does not mean that they have the same issue. The reasons do matter.
They both selflessly love their sisters
I mean, it’s great that Jack and Elsa both love their sisters, but...well, I imagine any other animated protagonist would do the same, don’t you? I can see Jack and Elsa getting along and talking about their little sisters every now and then, but I fail to see how this adds to their romantic relationship. It says nothing about their personality/character except that they are both nice people, which, again, most animated protagonists are.
He’d bring out her fun side and she’d bring out his mature side.
This is a tough one to tackle because fans may interpret it different ways, so the only thing I can say about this possible dynamic is...perhaps so.
However, that begs the question: If Jack is there to bring out Elsa’s find side, where does that leave Anna?
That’s pretty much what Anna’s role in Elsa’s story is, right? To bring out Elsa’s fun and gentle side and help her relax a bit?
I mean, if Jack and Elsa’s relationship so closely mirror’s Elsa and Anna’s, it seems more likely for Elsa’s mind to associate him with Anna instead of see him as a possible romantic option. That’s why I think that Jack and Elsa would have more of a brother/sister dynamic than a romantic one, because the two relationships seem pretty much the same.
And on Jack’s side, aren’t the Guardians performing Elsa’s supposed role in this dynamic as well? Characters like North and Sandy, they help bring out Jack’s mature side, don’t they? And North is like a father figure to Jack, so if Elsa were to do the same, wouldn’t Jack see her as more of an older sister or a mother figure? The fact that she’s so regal and polite in comparison to him would only add to that.
It doesn’t make sense to me for a romantic relationship to mirror the ones that a character already has with friends/family/family figures. Remember when I said that there’s no room for Jack to be in Elsa’s story? This is why. He doesn’t really add anything new in her life that she doesn’t already have in Anna. Heck, you could replay the entire plot of Frozen with Jack in the place of Anna and the story would be the same. And considering that Frozen is a movie about a sibling relationship and not a romantic one...hmm…
By that context, there’s no room for Elsa to be in Jack’s story either. If the two were to meet somehow, it seems much more likely that their relationship would be more of friendship or familial love than anything else.
Tooth, another one of the Guardians, is technically Jack’s love interest. While she does bring out his mature side a little bit, her role in Jack’s life is very different from that of North, mostly because she is much closer to Jack in terms of mental age, so he would not see her the same way he sees North, Sandy, Bunny, or in terms of this discussion, Elsa.
Which brings me to the biggest reason in my mind of why I don’t think Elsa and Jack make good couple:
ELSA. IS TOO. GROWN UP. FOR JACK.
This is it, everyone. This is the reason. I know you’ve heard this one before. Besides the fact that none of the reasons for shipping them have a strong basis, this is the one thing that initially drove me away and continues to drive me away from the ship. The maturity gap between the two characters just makes it near impossible for me to wrap my head around the ship. I’ve seen so many Jelsa shippers try to write around or even disregard this fact, which bother me because this really is a crucial part of both their characters. I’m not even going to talk about the whole immortal/mortal issue or even the 3-4 year difference in their physical age. No, this is about maturity.
Now, I’ve seen a lot of non-Jelsa shippers say something like, “Elsa acts like an adult and Jack acts like a kid.” Really though, that’s only half true. The reason so many Jelsa shippers are able to put up a fight against this is because Jack doesn’t act like a kid. He acts like a teenager. Teenegers are a whole lot more mature than children, trust me. I’ve seen how kids act. They’re ridiculous.
However, while Jack does have more maturity than a young child, he still has very distinct adolescent traits, and I highly doubt that anyone would ever call him an adult or a grown man. And Elsa, while she does possess some childlike innocence, is still clearly very adult-like, and would never be called a teenage girl.
...And yet...that’s how I see her portrayed in every single Jelsa fanfic I read. The writers will take away the mature, grown woman that Elsa is and replace her with an impulsive, flirty, hormonal teenage girl (in other words, they basically turn her into Anna). But she’s not. She’s a grown adult woman and adult women simply don’t</b> date teenage boys.
Remember the “painter” scenario I gave you earlier? That was written from the perspective of a teenager trying to date someone who acts like a kid, but it also works from the perspective of someone with an adult mindset trying to date someone who acts like a teenager. See what I mean? Like I mentioned several times before, this is how Elsa would most likely perceive Jack--as a little brother, not a possible boyfriend. He’s such a young boy in comparison to her and she would notice that.
From what I’ve seen, the majority of Jelsa shippers are teenagers themselves on the same level as Jack, so that might explain why they see Jack to be more mature than he really is. But that does not explain why Elsa is goes from a classy regal lady to a young girl like Anna, Rapunzel or Mavis in fanfiction (it’s possible that she’s being used as a self-insert, but I won’t go into that here) just so she can be compatible with Jack. I mean, if you have to change a character so drastically in order to make a pairing work, isn’t that an indication that the pairing...just doesn’t work?
I’ve seen a lot of Jelsa photomanips and fanart around here, and while everyone says they look so cute together, I just get extremely mind-boggled. I look at those pictures and I see a young, teenage boy making out with a fully-grown woman and I get very confused. Very, very confused.
”But Maria! Didn’t you see the movie? Elsa isn’t so serious! She was being cheerful and having fun!”
Are...are adults not allowed to have fun?
This is a common misconception I see when I read about this pairing. People seem to have the strangest idea that “serious” is the same as “mature” while “cheerful” is the same as “childlike.” This is not true at all! There are many adults and adult characters who are optimistic and joyful, but still very mature and grown-up. The two aren’t opposites in any way. Look at North, for example! He’s jolly, he’s fun, he’s a little goofy sometimes, but would you ever doubt that he is a grown man? He’s got many mature qualities to indicate that he is an adult: responsibility, experience, wisdom, etc.
Elsa, albeit in her own way, is similar. She is cheerful at times and knows how to have fun, but still possesses many adult traits: she’s regal, refined, sophisticated, dignified, and just very queen-like. On the other hand, while Jack is seen to be mature at times (remember, he is a teenager and not a kid), he still has many traits that prove him to be mentally young: He makes rash decisions, he gets moody easily (dare I say, much more easily than Elsa), he picks fights...etc. He just acts so noticeably young while Elsa acts so noticeably mature.
Elsa, being the introvert that she is, would quickly pick up on this (introverts are very perceptive, trust me), get that impression right off the bat, and like I’ve stressed before, would see him more as a little brother, not a romantic option.
Seriousness is not maturity and cheerfulness is not immaturity. I have no clue where this idea comes from but it’s simply not true.
Furthermore, Jack is a teenager and Elsa is an adult. There is no way to write around that without seeming like you’re writing about a different character.
Even if all the reasons to ship them were more well thought out, their personalities, the very thing that makes them characters, make the whole ship seem illogical (as it stands, the reasons for shipping aren’t well thought out, so the pairing is illogical either way.)
So, I ask again, why is this pairing so popular?? The logic and reasoning are weak, their personalities and stories don’t allow for it, and the pairing in general is just all-around shallow. Truth be told, the only explanation I can find for this pairing’s crazy popularity is, in fact, ice powers.
And that’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate that an illogical pairing would gain such a huge following simply because of something so minor. It only shows how shallow the fandom really is. Even the people who try their darndest to come up with something deeper for the ship end up with very fickle reasoning, because in the end, there’s nothing deep about this pairing at all.
Hi, my name is Maria, a high school Christian girl living in California. I made this account because I have drawings up to here that I want to show off. (Because I'm a very big show-off )Besides drawing, I also take pleasure in singing and writing, mostly singing. And I am constantly changing my art style, so watch out!|
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