That, therefore, is what I will endeavour to do. I'll admit to still being a bit upset, so parts of this may come across as being said more out of pissed-offedness than anything else. I've tried to be as measured as possible, though, so when those instances slip in, I hope you'll forgive me. I encourage you to read, even if you don't ship Obidala. Basically, there are some misconceptions around the Obidala ship that I would like to dispel - particularly on where I myself stand.
When I became an Obidala shipper, I knew just from hanging around other ships' communities that I was not backing the leading horse. Obidala tends to be very disliked by the Anakin/Padmé community in particular, although they may not say so vocally. Many (not all, but many) Anakin/Obi-Wan shippers also have issues with Padmé in particular.
I knew this, and I've got to admit, I have experience at liking unpopular things. In my other life as a hockey fan, I'm a devout lover of the Ottawa Senators - my local team - where the most popular team in Canada is and probably always will be the Toronto Maple Leafs. Being that they are our provincial rivals, if you're a Sens fan it's pretty much your birthright to hate the Leafs. It didn't used to be so, but now if you're a Leafs fan you're expected to hate the Sens, and many do. So I've spent quite a lot of my tenure as a hockey fan (eleven years now) in the minority, defending my team against Leafs fans. The Obidala side of me, therefore, understands this and is able to draw on my hockey experience when coming into conflict with other shippers.
Despite this experience, or perhaps because of it, I became an Obidala shipper knowing full well what I was in for. I'd like to think I mostly coexist with followers of other ships, although you're certainly welcome to correct me if you can think of an instance where this hasn't been the case. In fact, three other ships occasionally capture my attention - Qui/Obi, Anakin/Obi-Wan and Anakin/Padmé. Not necessarily in that order, mind you. Do these other ships conflict with Obidala? You betcha. But I'm okay with that. I honestly am.
Through monitoring the communities that like these ships, though, I've come across a number of different ideas about Obidala. Obviously, these ideas and opinions are coloured by each individual's view of the ship. But some ideas are raised quite frequently, and so I figured it was time for me to state my opinion on each. In some cases, I will agree with them, but in others, I will attempt to counter what I see as some sweeping (and unfair) generalizations.
I'm going to say this upfront: I have nothing, and I do mean nothing, against Anakin. Nothing whatever. I can think of only a few instances where I have engaged in outright Anakin-bashing, and even then it was all done very jokingly. I have issues with the concept of bashing in general - the act of putting down another character in order to build yours up. It is unfair to the characters in question because it does not give a fair representation of them. If the only "evidence" you can produce as to why your character is a good person is the ways in which another character is deficient, then you're just being a bully.
With that in mind, I have issues with a couple of things: 1) that, by virtue of being an Obidala shipper, I am expected to automatically dislike Anakin and 2) that non-Obidala shippers automatically lump me in with the Anakin bashers, assuming that since I ship Obidala, I must dislike Anakin.
That's guilt by association. And it's not fair.
True, I don't find Anakin the most compelling person to write (though I have written fics from his point of view before). But that's just my muse indicating its preferences. It doesn't mean that I'm against Anakin personally, and I really resent it when both Obidala and non-Obidala shippers try to imply that's the case. Search through my archives of Obidala fic on this journal, and you will not find one piece that bashes Anakin, whether expressly or subtly. The reason? I'm not into bashing, whether of Anakin or anyone else. Pure and simple.
Lack of Logic in the Obidala Shipping Community
I've heard it suggested in the past that most (if not all) Obidala shippers are inherently illogical. This is another thing I resent. Many who hold this view point to the fact that there is little canonical evidence for a love affair between Obi-Wan and Padmé, and not much time for them to be together through the Prequel Trilogy. They say that for it to work, most everything about Star Wars canon has to be made AU, so that it hardly resembles Star Wars anymore.
I'd like to respectfully disagree with that last point. For evidence, I point to two specific works - One Path, written by so_out_of_ideas, and my own To Ignite the Stars. (Yes, I may be a little biased, but hear me out.) Particularly in TIS, my aim was to follow Star Wars canon as fully and completely as possible, allowing for the necessary and minor deviations that occur as Obi-Wan and Padmé fall in love. It's likely difficult for the average observer to make an accurate assessment given that we are only twelve chapters in, but as the author, I can tell you that To Ignite the Stars will adhere to Star Wars canon to the best of its ability. I do not consider it "[having] to be made AU so that it hardly resembles Star Wars anymore," and indeed, several reviewers have mentioned how well TIS has followed canon. (Many of these reviewers are not Obidala shippers.) And I think it still manages to work. XD I believe similar things about One Path.
Now, to the first two points. It's true, there is little to no canonical evidence for Obi-Wan and Padmé having been in love. That's because when Star Wars was made, George Lucas had it in his mind for there to only be love between Anakin and Padmé, and so that's how it works out. But if we're going on strictly canonical evidence, every SW ship but Anakin/Padmé is automatically ruled out. After all, there's no proof that Obi-Wan and Anakin were lovers, or that Qui-Gon felt anything more than fatherly towards Obi-Wan! And yet, these ships exist and thrive. As does Obidala. Sure, all of the above are possible. But they're not proven. Which is what some people seem to think about Obidala - that for it to be a legitimate ship, there somehow needs to be canonical proof or evidence that the two were more than friends. But why apply this standard only to Obidala when it is not applied to most other ships?
Now, the time factor. Yes, on the surface it is true that Obi-Wan and Padmé didn't have much time to spend with each other in canon. But this is also true of Anakin and Padmé, and yet they fell in love and married canonically. I'm not sure of the precise timelines, but it would seem to me that they had only a few days to a week on Naboo when Anakin was guarding Padmé before they rushed off to Tatooine to save Shmi, and then to Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan. Not much time for a romance in there, theoretically - but they married a short time thereafter. Then Anakin was immediately conscripted to fight in the Clone Wars, so they saw each other only in bits and snatches for the next three years.
Look, all I'm asking for here is a little common sense. (Maybe it's foolish to try and apply common sense here, but damned if I'm not going to try.) If one of your arguments against Obidala is the time factor, then fairness dictates that you also step back and apply it to other ships as well. Anakin/Padmé - not much time, but still worked canonically. Anakin/Obi-Wan - lots of time, so definitely could have worked too. Obi-Wan/Siri - not so much (but still canon!). Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan - for sure. In two of these instances, time would supposedly be a factor, but wasn't.
So, is the Obidala community inherently illogical? Perhaps some are, but it annoys me that we must all be tarred with the same brush. I'm genuinely curious as well about why this happens. Is it that people have had previous bad experiences with Obidala shippers being nasty? Is it that the majority of the Obidala fandom behaves this way, and I'm just a sort of ... oddity, a lone voice in the chorus calling for moderation? I'd be interested in knowing.
The Incompatibility of Obi-Wan and Padmé
Yes, on the surface Obi-Wan and Padmé appear incompatible. She's a politician, and he distrusts them. She was born into a situation that greatly values the family, and families have no place in the Jedi Order.
These are precisely the issues I have tried to explain and correct with To Ignite the Stars, but on the issue of politics, I really haven't had to do all that much. Obi-Wan has a general mistrust of politicians, but then so does Anakin - he admits as much to Padmé while they're picnicking on Naboo, and there are other instances throughout SW canon where Anakin either directly states or thinks to himself that he does not like politicians. And yet, it doesn't stop him from pursuing Padmé on a romantic level. Politics can sometimes be a barrier to romance - I couldn't see myself hopping in bed with a Conservative or a Republican, for instance - but it can also be a vehicle for lively debate to occur, as seen in the same picnic scene. My own parents don't even agree on certain matters of politics, but they've been married for 34 years. It's all a matter of perspective.
As far as the family issue goes, it is revealed in To Ignite the Stars that this is in fact a major barrier to Obi-Wan and Padmé's relationship, if not the major barrier. Several times, they are driven apart because Obi-Wan's natural desire to adhere to the Jedi Code puts him at odds with Padmé's strong sense of familial attachment. Padmé becomes quite irritated because all Obi-Wan can seem to do is parrot the Code at her, when she wants a firm statement as to whether he loves her and is willing to commit part of his life to her. She wants to continue loving him, but is unsure whether she can take the constant disappointments that come with his indecision. Obi-Wan, too, is conflicted because while he would like to pursue a relationship with Padmé, everything about his upbringing is telling him that this would be wrong.
My point is, the family conflict is indeed a conflict, and therefore can be taken in some interesting directions. It's not a barrier so much as an opportunity for character growth and development. All in how you view things, I guess.
I apologize in advance if I have offended anyone or misrepresented anyone's viewpoints; that was not my intention. The spirit in which I would like this to be taken is as an expression of my own personal opinions and attitudes, and a plea for understanding that they are not always going to be the same as the majority. It is offensive to me when I am lumped into the same categories and stereotypes as all other Obidala shippers. Therefore, I wish to make it known that my intention was not to do this for other ships or people. I tried to use very general examples, and to be measured in refuting what I saw as stereotypes.
I would like to open a frank and honest discussion with other shippers about this, though, because as I mentioned I'm quite curious about how the stereotypes applied to Obidala came to be, and if there are stereotypes about other ships that you would like to see refuted, I'd be interested in those too.