Edited 8/8/16 to add a link.
I want to make something clear – I am giving MY thoughts and opinions about “shipping”. I’m not targeting specific people or fandoms with this blog….I am merely giving my stance on a practice that I believe can become very harmful to the people being shipped. And, as usual, this is fairly long – but I felt the points were important
Since I am finding some fans still don’t understand this term, here is the definition I’ve used before:
Shipping, initially derived from the word relationship, is the desire by fans for two people, either real-life celebrities or fictional characters, to be in a relationship, romantic or otherwise. It is considered a general term for fans’ emotional involvement with the ongoing development of a relationship in a work of fiction. Shipping often takes the form of creative works, including fan fiction and fan art, most often published on the internet.
So, to break this down, there are two parts…..real-life celebrities and fictional characters. Shipping FICTIONAL CHARACTERS – I have no issues with this at all as it has no impact on REAL people (other than the shippers themselves).
I DO have a bloody huge problem with “shipping” real people – especially as a couple. To me this is just wrong, intrusive, rude, and can possibly lead to being destructive and dangerous.
Taking it out of the realm of celebrity – how many people have personally ruined friendships or even family relationships ‘shipping’ their relative/best friend/workmate with another relative/friend/workmate because the shipper just “KNOWS” they would be ‘perfect’ together? How many have given in to going on a blind date simply because you were tired of fighting the idea and it was an absolutely horrible experience? How many people really hate ‘matchmakers’ out there?
Discussing two single people and saying something like “They seem to have so much in common, perhaps we could introduce them” is NOT shipping in my opinion. It’s a mild observation about people you know. (With the “introduce them” making it plain these are people you actually know…to a point.) “Shipping” is actively pushing/promoting/assuming two people ARE a couple whether true not and regardless of evidence to the contrary.
What I can’t stand is ‘fans’ who insist on ‘shipping’ two actors working a show together. Common comments (amongst many more) on social media are:
“They are so beautiful together – can you imagine their children?!”
“They have such wonderful chemistry – it can’t just be an act.”
“See they spend time together off the set – they must be a secret couple.”
“You haven’t seen her at things because she’s ‘showing’ now – everyone says so.”
Now, here are the reasons I have issues with this whole idea. These people are actors and when they are doing public appearances they are SUPPOSED to look good and interact well together. It’s part of the job. It’s great when two actors DO have a good relationship together. I mean, isn’t it a nicer working environment when you like/get along with your co-workers?
However, celebrity or not, these are REAL people and acting (or sports or whatever makes them ‘celebrity’) is their JOB. They have lives, family, loves. As fans, we do not know these people. All we know are bits and pieces and often those are carefully crafted for public consumption. Most (not all I agree) ‘celebrities’ prefer to keep their private life just that – private.
What if, for instance, one or both of a couple being shipped has a long-term relationship they have kept quiet because their partner is not a public figure and is uncomfortable with the attention? How much stress would constant shipping put on such a relationship?
Or perhaps, one or both of the ‘couple’ being shipped are actually homosexual but have not made this knowledge public? How much emotional turmoil does this put them under?
What if this constant shipping to have them be a couple IRL puts such a strain on their friendship they find it harder and harder to work together? What then might happen to the quality of the show? It may be that the “shipping” doesn’t bother one of them at all, it’s stupidly amusing – but to the other one it is a constant stress and frustration that begins to affect their work and their relationship with the other part of the “couple”.
What if, the girl in this couple being shipped is constantly seeing things from the fans about being pregnant and what beautiful babies this ‘couple’ will have together and pictures of her with a baby bump engineered by Photoshop – and she is incapable of having a child? How much pain will this cause her?! On the flip side, what if the guy is sterile and HE can’t have children IRL.
The point is, as fans we do not KNOW these people. We don’t know their minds and hearts, what they are truly like or if they would actually be compatible with this other person they are being shoved into being a couple with by the fans. They may have religious or political views that would make them totally incapable of living in harmony. Ideologies that will never mesh together in a hundred years. A million things ‘fans’ have no clue about.
It may seem like just harmless fun – but if you really think about it, the whole thing of ‘shipping’ two real people that you don’t know can be very detrimental and even harmful emotionally and psychologically. And please don’t use the argument it “comes with the deal of being a ‘celebrity’ – I won’t even bother remarking on how ridiculous that is. If politicians – who make our laws and run our country – get the leeway of ‘privacy’, then certainly celebrities should.
Let me put it this way…is it any of MY business who any one of YOU might be having sex with? Being a couple with? Have a baby with? Of course not. It is NONE of my business. I don’t know most of you reading this and even the ones I’ve had some contact with I don’t know well enough to poke about in their private affairs. Nor should I – it’s rude. I would be very unhappy if people I didn’t know were discussing in public my very private life; who I might be sleeping with, what job changes I might make, where my mother is buried, where my siblings live, or anything else of my personal life.
Would you want people you don’t know discussing such things about you on social media? If your answer is no, then how is it ok for you to do it to others? Celebrities are still people; flesh and blood human beings just like you that deserve respect and a life away from their job.
EDIT: This article came out on 8/8/16 and is a calm, rational expression of exactly why I don’t like RL Shipping from another POV. ‘Outlander’ Season 3 Rumors: Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe Are Really NOT Together
People will do as they want. I can’t stop them – wouldn’t want to try. I’m just putting out a thought process to be considered and asking the same thing as I always ask: