Fandometrics In Depth: Shipping

Shipping is one of Tumblr’s favorite hobbies, drawing hundreds of millions of engagements each year. On Tumblr, shipping exists in many forms: fan art, fan fiction, manipulated GIFs and videos, and roleplay, just to name a few. It’s a common practice no matter what fandom you’re in—from television shows and movies to K-pop and video games. On Tumblr, the most popular type is slash—ships comprised of two male characters. Out of the top 150, 95 (63%) were guy/guy love.

We grabbed the top 30 ships from 2013—2016. 2013—2015 were ranked by reblogs alone. 2016 and 2017 are ranked by their Trending Score. This includes volume of searches, original posts, and likes in addition to reblogs. We’ve sorted the source content behind each year’s top ships below.

2013

  • TV | 40%
  • Music | 40%
  • Anime | 10%
  • Celebrities | 6.67%
  • K-Pop | 3.33%

2013’s most reblogged ships were predominantly slash (76.67%). The remaining 23.33% were all heterosexual (het) ships—there were no femslash ships in the top 30 that year.

The most reblogged ship of the year was from an anime: MakoHaru (Nanase Haruka and Tachibana Makoto, Free! series).

Originally posted by rainycorngirl

2014

  • TV | 40%
  • Anime | 20%
  • Music | 13.33%
  • Celebrities | 10%
  • Movies | 10%
  • Web Celebrities | 6.67%

Though slash (66.67%) and het ships (26.67%) comprised most of the list in 2014, femslash ships (6.67%) made their debut.

 2014’s top ship was Destiel (Dean Winchester and Castiel, Supernatural). Though the ship is not canon (yet), the 200th episode “Fan Fiction” paid homage to it.

Originally posted by sociopathmb

2015

  • TV | 43.33%
  • Anime | 23.33%
  • Music | 13.33%
  • Web celebrities | 13.33%
  • Movie | 3.33%
  • Celebrities | 3.33%

In 2015, femslash numbers also doubled, representing 13.33% of the ships. Slash accounted for 60%, het just 26.67%.

2015 was a big year for Larry shippers—Larry Stylinson (Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles, One Direction) reached No. 1.

Originally posted by roseanddagger28

2016

  • TV | 50%
  • Movies | 20%
  • Anime | 13.33%
  • Web celebrities | 6.67%
  • Music | 3.33%
  • K-Pop | 3.33%
  • Video games | 3.33%

Slash ships began to take a dip (56.67%) in 2016, while het ships grew (36.67%) and femslash decreased (6.67%).

Despite femslash’s waning popularity, 2016 marked the first year a f/f ship not only cracked the top five, but hit #1. Clexa (Clarke Griffin and Commander Lexa, The 100) was embroiled in controversy when Commander Lexa was shot by a stray bullet and killed immediately after her and Clarke’s relationship was consummated. Her death launched a critical look at the “Bury Your Gays” trope by journalists and fans alike, and the argument that LGBTQ+ fans deserved better than the storylines given to them.

Originally posted by clexa-is-my-sexuality

2017 (thus far)

  • TV | 50%
  • Anime | 13.33%
  • K-Pop | 13.33%
  • Music | 6.67%
  • Movies | 6.67%
  • Web celebrities | 6.67%
  • Video games | 6.67%

In the first half of 2017, slash has continued to hold over half the conversation (56.67%). Het ships and f/f ships are starting to equal out at 26.67% and 16.67%, respectively.

This year’s top ship so far? Klance (Keith and Lance, Voltron: Legendary Defender). Since we launched the weekly ship list on May 1st, Klance has been No. 1 seven times.

Originally posted by otp-tears

Further reading

Some great resources where you can learn even more about shipping and fandom:

LGBT representation in the media
  • My mother: (homophobically) Are there any shows these days that don't have gay people in it?
  • Me: Biting my tongue back because I could go into a whole rant about how underrepresented the LGBT community is in television and how when we ARE represented it's either stereotypical Gay Best Friends, or good looking, cis, gay white boys. I could tell her that all of it is usually blatant gross fan service and Hollywood throwing the dog a bone, and I could tell her that The Straights are freaking EVERYWHERE and since we've all been doomed to watch them fall into sappy repetitive overly dramatic cliched insta love over and over again in every.movie.and.tv.show.ever the least she could do is not be homophobic while the boyfriends in this show get their 30 seconds worth of allotted screen time (that was only given, in the first place, because Hollywood feel like they have no other choice but to be 'politically correct')
  • So I need backup here to show her.
  • Can you all PLEASE like and reblog the shit out of this post if you agree that the LGBT community on a whole is grossly mistreated and actually, contrary to what she may think, very underrepresented in the media.
  • -------
  • Edit:
  • It has been brought to my attention that I shouldn't use shipping tags on posts like these. I'm sorry for any inconvenience caused by that. It won't happen again! 😊
  • For an explination, though, the reason I tagged ships on this is because I figured you all would understand/relate to what I was trying to say.

I hate it when people criticize me for being in fandoms and being a little bit enthusiastic about them

I mean, dude, you get batshit crazy for a bunch of people running after a ball. Literally. You spend hundreds in shirts and caps and you get into real fights because of it.

Like seriously shut up