Am I a little too late to the party with this? I mean, shipping has been a part of fandom culture for years now but I suppose it’s still technically relevant so there’s no harm in adding to the millions of text posts out there addressing it.
Here is the definition of shipping according to Wikipedia (because that’s obviously a completely reliable source):
To add further detail, the first notable ship unsurprisingly derived from Star Trek and its two main characters Kirk and Spock. There was no quirky ship name for these two; they were simply referred to as Kirk/Spock, and later as K/S. I guess people started getting more lazy.
Supposedly the term “shipping” itself wasn’t used until fans of The X Files became more vocal about their hopes for Mulder and Scully to be in a relationship.
But this isn’t a history lesson. I’m more interested in talking about what shipping has become and particularly my experiences with it in my main fandom, which *cough* totally isn’t obvious by my profile picture and endless reblogging….
I am totally for shipping and am an avid shipper myself throughout my various fandoms. I think that the passion directed towards the relationship of two characters or people can make your interest (or obsession) all the more…interesting. Wow I worded that well didn’t I?
Anyway, now that most fandom members are wasting their lives on the internet (the only way to live imo) running blogs and fan accounts, reading and writing fanfiction, creating fan art and videos and basically striving for their Senpais to notice them, shipping has intensified into something globally popular over the past few years. Except it’s not only fictional characters now.
(Excuse my use of a Katy Perry gif, somehow it fitted the situation perfectly)
No, shipping has now exceeded to….
Now, that may sound a little weird to some but trust me, it’s perfectly normal.
…nothing weird at all.
…pffft I can’t think why anyone would find this strange.
All jokes aside, I have very little opposition to shipping real people-my OTP happen to be very real people after all (or so I am told). Nor do I have a problem with the…beautiful photos above that I just had to save on my phone for this *sigh*. There are times when people take things a little too far though.
Before I go on my mini ramble, I’d like to make it clear that in no way am I slamming anyone for ALL of the following things mentioned for I too am guilty of some of these. Now that’s over…
Some things I dislike about shipping:
1) Over exaggerating EVERYTHING:
Sometimes, when in a fandom where the ship isn’t confirmed to be canon and where most of the romantic action is portrayed through fanart or fanfiction, people need to turn every little thing they see the members of the ship do into proof to justify their need for the relationship to be GODAMN CANON ALREADY OKAY JUST ANNOUNCE IT YOU’RE FOOLING NO ONE!!!
Ahem….assuming that’s how people react of course.
Don’t get me wrong, watching two guys make some intense eye contact can be oddly fulfilling, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re “gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes”. Of course, I happen to be one of many people who have taken several screenshots of these moments and hyperventilated over them, so I guess what we can all learn about this is that I’m basically just a huge hypocrite.
There’s also the matter of people freaking out when even the tiniest physical contact is made. I have literally seen comments going “OMFG HE JUST TOUCHED HIS SHOULDER JFC I CANT EVEN I AM UNABLE TO EVEN WHAT IS LIFE ASDFGHJKL”.
Imagine if someone tapped your shoulder in order to get your attention and someone else started freaking out as they claim that “IT’S TOTALLY CANON” and “THE SHIP HAS SAILED”. Wouldn’t you find that a little strange? Terrifying even?
Or I don’t know, maybe you’d just heavily relate to that person.
2) People who can’t accept other people’s views:
This may be news to some people, but funnily enough there is such thing as an opinion.
Yes, somehow there are still people on the internet that don’t know the difference between fact and opinion. While we’d all like to believe that our OTP is the best ship of them all, people happen to be obliged to oppose this view.
There is nothing wrong with someone saying that they don’t ship the same people as you do and there is absolutely no need to get defensive over such things. Honestly, the amount of people I have seen throwing hate towards non-shippers is ridiculous. It seems that some people are very one sided and aren’t willing to be open to other’s persepctives. Is directing such cruel, hateful language over such a thing as shipping really neccessary?
Of course, it can be argued that everyone is entitled to sharing their opinion, as long as you’re not an asshole about it. Here is a tweet from Patrick Stump who articulated this much better than I ever could:
3) The Fanfiction:
As someone who loves creative writing, I absolutely adore fanfiction when it’s well written. And while I’m not saying that the following are all awful examples of literature…
Here is a summary of a couple of the most scarring fanfics out there on the interwebs. This may trigger some bad memories for those who have read any of these.
The Hat Fic: YouTube stars Dan and Phil have fun with a hamster. And apparently buy a new one every month.
The Milk Fic: Brendon and Ryan from Panic! At The Disco experiment with milk.
The Lung Fic: I’ve honestly no idea what the hell this is. Let’s just say that Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy defy all logic and we’ll leave it at that shall we?
4) Reality vs Fiction- where people can overstep the line:
Okay, here’s a warning. This could get dangerously close to a 500 word paragraph so if you want to skip this ramble I’ll post a summary at the end.
I understand that it is very easy to get incredibly obsessive over a ship but a lot of fans need to realise -particularly if they are shipping real people- that how we imagine the relationship to be is not necessarily how it actually is.
These people have actual lives beyond what they portray to their audience; we only get a glimpse of them as people and there will be a lot of things that we will never know about them. We can fantasize all we want, but we may never know the reality of these ships, as difficult as that can be to accept. When fiction blurs reality, that’s when people can overstep the line and where the members of the ship can be personally effected by this seemingly harmless act.
This happened recently with youtuber Ian Hecox. Ian and his friend Anthony Padilla have been making sketches on YouTube for years under the name Smosh and have even gone on to make their own movie, but the close friendship between the two has lead many to believe that their relationship is something more (we all know where this is going).
Ianthony has been a huge ship for years among the fandom, but things have gotten out of hand, so much so that Ian himself has had to address the issue:
What baffles me most is how some people can sit there and think that it’s acceptable to harass another person over such a thing as shipping. Why has it become so serious? Shipping should be fun and harmless and the fact that in some instances it surpasses the “fanfiction realm” to such an extent that other people are hurt personally by it is ridiculous. Once again, this is an example of shippers going to great lengths to justify their ship being canon and to ensure it stays that way.
TL;DR, it is unlikely we will ever know the full truth about our favourite ships as these relationships are incredibly personal to them and we do not have the right to know such details. That doesn’t give us the excuse to be hateful or rude to those who we believe will “threaten” the relationship. Harassment is not okay. We as fans do not control their lives and we certainly do not determine who they pursue a relationship with.
So I guess we’ve finally reached the conclusion of this text post. If you’ve reached this point, congratulations. I’m not entirely sure why anyone would want to spend their time reading a ton of words splurged messily onto a page but thank you anyway.
I’m sure there are many others out there who have written on this subject much better than I have, but I felt it was important to address some of these issues, particularly the last one. For the most part, I don’t see anything wrong with shipping real people but there are limits to how far you should go and all too often I have seen people pushing these limits and crossing the line.
Either way, what we can all agree on is that shipping isn’t likely to die away any time soon and I certainly don’t see any of us stopping in the near future.