Why I Hate RL “shipping”

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:


25 thoughts on “Why I Hate RL “shipping”

  1. Fran says:

    Totally agree with every single thing you said. I find the whole fandom ludicrous,, the super shippers and yes sometimes the antis, are as bad as each other. So intrusive into the actors lives, it is rather scary and very stalker-ish. Why they care so much is beyond me.
    Thanks for your common sense!

    • rynawolfe says:

      I debated long with myself about posting this. I’ve gotten in trouble several times for ‘stirring the pot’ – and by one person I thought was a friend. I was only trying to point out what I saw as someone very new to the whole idea of ‘fandoms’ and combining that with social media. This particular practice has always been something I’ve hated – long before Outlander when it was just the media throwing people together. I worked to make this as neutral as possible while addressing my issues with it. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  2. cherrigness says:

    This was well written and expresses my feelings entirely! Thank you for speaking out.

  3. Cejsmom says:

    I always took the term as originating from worshipping. No matter where it comes from, it’s becoming obsessive and is wrong. I can admit I’ve praised a RL couple in the past, but will never go there again.

    • rynawolfe says:

      The urban term “Shipping” in this instance actually comes from ‘relationship’. Praising a couple i.e Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie for adopting kids and all the charity stuff they do is fine. They are a REAL couple doing things with their life and publicly so commenting on that is NOT ‘shipping’. Shipping is creating a relationship where one doesn’t exist and it isn’t always a ‘boy-girl’ couple thing. If you want to see more on this, can look at post under my pages called “Serious Line: Fan to Fanatic”. Thanks for taking the time to read & comment. I appreciate it.

  4. Nikki says:

    Completely agree with you. Hit the nail right on the head.

  5. SSW22 says:

    Found your comments to be spot on. It’s sad to think that most serious “shippers” likely have so little occupying their own lives, that they must obsess over the lives of others. It’s gossip in its worst form. Social media is so dangerous because as a medium, we can be so anonymous and get away with bad behavior, without personally getting called out. All people, famous or not, deserve respect and privacy. Thanks for your wise words.

    • rynawolfe says:

      And so many think it’s just ‘harmless fun’. SMH – I saw a comment on FB yesterday that really impressed me against this argument. The person said something to the effect of – but we can’t know what may or may not be hurtful or destructive to any of these people – so why engage in the behavior at all? Thanks for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it.

  6. Terri says:

    Bravo! Could not have said it better if I tried. Nice to see some common sense injected into the discussion.

  7. Ms Mel says:

    Amen! I couldn’t have said it better!

  8. secolerice says:

    Excellent! Thank you for stating this so eloquently!

  9. Elisa says:

    Thank you, especially for the “what if” examples; no one knows someone else’s personal issues. I have always thought when real people are involved, their private lives are not my business until/unless they choose to make it so; this includes people who have public profiles.

    • rynawolfe says:

      Sorry it took me so long to approve this comment – I have been sans computer for many days while it was shipped to DELL to get a new brain. I just hope I gave people a few things to think about.

  10. rmh8402 says:

    I know this is an older post but I found this via the link you posted and wanted to add my 2 cents.
    Very well said, very well written, and very well thought out. It boggles my mind that these people can go as far as they do and honestly not see anything wrong with it. Like you said, it’s one thing to think “Hey, they’d be cute together” and something completely different to say “Hey, of course you are together. Stop lying.” Or attacking the _actual_ significant other of the person you’re shipping. Or attacking people that don’t agree with you.
    There is a line. As long as you don’t cross it, ship to your heart’s content. But once you do cross it-you need to take a step back to do some serious soul searching.

    • rynawolfe says:

      Thanks for commenting 🙂 I added an edition of another link on this post today of an article just written today. I agree with you. While I think shipping real people is wrong on many levels, as long as long as that line isn’t crossed people will do as they please. So easy to cross that line though.

  11. […] have stated they are NOT a couple; I have laid out my reasoning in at least two previous posts: Why I Hate RL “shipping” and Serious Line: Fan to Fanatic. However, while I don’t like the practice, I don’t attack the […]

  12. Vox says:

    Thank you for writing this blog post. I agree.

    This needed to be said and I hope everyone sees this and realizes that shipping real people is wrong and not tolerable (unless they’re a married couple in real life).

    “It’s just fiction. It’s free speech. It doesn’t actually effect them.” My butt. How would you feel if someone did this to you by shipping you with someone (real or fiction) that you don’t like?

    Heck, I wouldn’t want any fanfiction writer or artist to ship me with somebody (real or fictional) because I am an ace and I have no interest in getting into relationships. Thus, it’s strictly forbidden and not right to ship me with anyone.

    While people can do whatever the heck they want, I will make sure they will never ship me with anyone, and I’ll stop them before they do, by using logic, facts and common sense, and of course, telling them the truth.

    Your blog is also great. I know this is an old post I’m commenting but you did a very good job writing this.

    • rynawolfe says:

      Thank you. I love it when people go back and read older posts. It’s hard to keep writing such stuff when it doesn’t seem to be having any kind of impact.

  13. Moon Child says:

    I agree with this article 💯! It’s one to ship fictional characters, but quite another to ship the real life people whom portray them. I’m a huge fan of Spider-man Homcoming actor, Tom Holland. Tom is in the movie with Disney actress, Zendaya Coleman.
    Tom once said, in an interview, he had a crush on Zendaya. Then the whole Tomdaya ship was born. I bet he regrets doing that, because all the little fangirl/boy shippers are dead set that they are dating. Despite both actor’s saying otherwise. I bet Tom regrets it because he’s not said a thing about it since the obsessive ship was born.
    The Tomdaya shippers are relentless, and, mean, bullyish and just plan sick! Insisting they heard from this source and that source about “imagined” going’s on with Tom and Zendaya. If any body refutes then, even with plausible truth, they are harrassed and bullied off the web. It’s madness and has to stop!

    Not to mention, the effect it has on the actors, themselves. We don’t know these people, and have to right to dictate what does, or doesn’t happen within their lives. We must respected their right to privacy. They, like us, are human, and deserve human decency.

    I’m just tired of the manip photos, and gossip. What’s worse, is that sometimes the studios execs pick up on these shippers, and use their obsessive fandom to promote publicity for their films. They will make sure the two shipped actor’s are seen together, everywhere, on camera!! They will get the actor’s PR to create a “fake romance” romance to cater to the obsessive shippers. This way, it generates free publicity off and online by the shippers. The thought is just disturbing!

    I don’t know what can be done to put an end to real life shipping, but I pray something can be done soon. Otherwise, this epedimic will continue to spiral out of control.

  14. Aaron Barlow says:

    The term ‘shipping’ is retarded and anyone that uses it is a moron. Mature people find the term immensely irritating.

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