Serious Line: Fan to Fanatic

I have to say, the whole concept of ‘ships’, shipping and shippers as it relates to fandoms just…baffles me. I’ve always liked or disliked something about a work of fiction no matter the medium based on my own life and history. I like or don’t like specific characters and/or their relationships to each other within that fictional work. I can discuss these things with other fans and/or critics and gain insight about the fiction and its characters outside my own head.

For those like me that honestly don’t have a handle on this whole ‘shipper’ thing….here is a decent explanation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shipping_(fandom) The quick bit is this: 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.

All this seems very….well honestly…juvenile to me. You know “Dick and Janie sitting in a tree…. K-I-S-S-I-N-G………………….” Really? I left that mentality behind in grade school and only reverted to such things when I really wanted to annoy someone. If you want to ship, have FUN with it and make that a big part of your life – power to you….I’m not addressing this to those kind of fans.

For the most part, shippers are just out to have fun. I get that. They enjoy actively promoting a ‘relationship’ (where the name ‘ship’ comes from). All sorts of relationships to ‘ship’ – romantic couples, brothers, BFF’s and so on. I don’t care for people that ship RL celebrities that are not actually a couple. I don’t like anyone doing that to celebrities because, job or not, they are still real people with real lives that are none of a ‘fans’ business. I don’t pick up gossip rags for that very reason. Sure it’s interesting to find out what is going on in a favored stars life – but it doesn’t affect ME so not that big a deal.

My big beef with some fans (regardless of what label they may have; shipper, truther, etc.), is that it has somehow become ‘ok’ and ‘acceptable’ to invade people’s private lives. Yes….Sam and Cait and any other ‘celebrities’ are public figures – but they are still human beings with a right to some privacy! They deserve some reasonable cushion between themselves as people and what their job may be as actors. What is going on with them will be discussed – ad nausea at times – where they are, what they are doing, who they are with. This attention comes with being a ‘public’ figure. But to totally invade ANY person’s privacy; make up stories, stalk them, poke around in very private things is not only uncool – it’s criminal!

I mean…seriously…………let us all look at this situation like mature adults for a minute. Who among you reading this would want some total stranger showing up at a family member’s gravesite, hanging around to see if you make an appearance? Or perhaps, finding out where you live, lurking in the shadows hoping to catch a co-worker coming over for coffee or to work on a project and whipping something totally innocent into a full blown affair! Who of you would want a person you’d never met lying on the floor to look up your skirt or otherwise try to see the most private areas of your body?! Who among you would want some woman you didn’t know doing this sort of shit to your son or husband?! Or some guy doing it to your daughter or wife?! If you are honest, you wouldn’t – any ONE of these things would freak you out, make you uncomfortable and wonder if maybe this person or persons was dangerous.

Yet………………………………………………… some fans seem to think any of this is perfectly acceptable behavior towards Sam………and Cait…………..and Graham…….and other ‘celebrities’ in other fandoms. They think it’s ok to totally rip someone on Twitter for making a simple statement of truth, because they don’t like it. To spew hatred and nastiness because it doesn’t match up to their expectation of what ‘should’ be reality.

In talking about this to a couple of other people, I was told ALL the things I’ve mentioned above have actually taken place! I’m appalled. I’m angry. I am shocked that some people don’t think this is any ‘big deal’. It’s harmless fun – fantasy. BULLSHIT! Stuff like what is going around is hurtful – not fun. It has to bug the ‘celebrities’ that they have no privacy – their friends and family hurt for them and get caught in the fringes of all this.

To ANY ‘shippers’ (in ANY fandom) out there that insist on pushing some/any sort of ‘relationship’ between any two REAL people that you don’t personally know: GET A FREAKING LIFE! It is none of your damn business. If you are so creative – write actual fiction, think whoever you want in your head, change the names and direct circumstances and maybe make some money. Oh and to answer those who will say “Sam doesn’t care if we ship him and Cait – why the hell should you?!” Because I respect Sam & Caitriona and the other cast and crew of the show. If that is truly ALL you are doing, saying ‘wouldn’t they make just the perfect couple’ …………… it’s not horrible and does promote the show. Something to keep in mind though…..you don’t KNOW Sam….or Cait or any other celebrity. If you truly did ‘know’ them, were their friends you wouldn’t engage in such stuff – especially not publicly. They may have wonderful friendship and great chemistry – but be diametrically opposed on important matters that would NOT make them a perfect couple.

Since the only fandom I’m really plugged into right now is Outlander, I have to use Sam and Cait here.

Do they look fabulous together on the red carpet?          Of course.

Do they seem to have a good relationship?                    Yes they do.

Are they terrific actors doing a great job together?          Yes they are.

Are they a ‘couple’ in the romantic sense?                      No one’s
business but theirs!!!!!!!

Honestly, I think they are great friends that work very hard to protect their private lives and the people close to them. That is what they put out there. As a fan and someone who really likes them as people…..I respect this and don’t speculate past that publicly. I’m curious, of course – about all the players in Outlander along with many other ‘celebrities’, and I do a great deal of ‘wondering’ – in private with one or two people I totally trust and NOT on social media. And to answer the sneer before it comes, no, this does NOT make me a shipper. I’m curious, but not emotionally invested in this. Their private lives do not affect ME in any way. I also don’t promote these ideas, my wonderings, out on the internet. I have done memes to promote voting, awards and hashtag events, but not just to get gooey over a relationship. I do blogs about things I see, concerns, frustrations and joys. I don’t hang out at their ‘haunts’ hoping to see them – but if I had the opportunity to go to one of the places they have recommended for a meal or a drink, I certainly would. I don’t care where they live – not my business as I am not their FRIEND. I am not someone in a circle of their lives that should have that information. I don’t know where most of my co-workers have lived through most of my working life and these were people I spent 40 hours a week with!

For those of you out there that are engaging in the activities beyond simple shipping – you are stalking. It’s wrong, it’s illegal and it needs to stop. I don’t care who is doing it or what you do or don’t call yourselves – that doesn’t matter. Mining a person’s private information, harassing their friends on social media, finding and watching a private residence……all this is just wrong no matter who you are or how ‘pure’ you think your motives are.

STALKING: noun 1. the act or an instance of stalking, or harassing another in an aggressive, often threatening and illegal manner: Stalking is now a crime in many states.  Stalking is unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group toward another person. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them.

Problem is, no matter how angry some of us may get about this – there isn’t much we can do. We can, as fans, address this problem; report people that are doing this sort of thing. Get them off social media as much as possible. I can promise that anyone I see promoting or engaging in this sort of behavior will be banned from anything I can ban them from. Blocked on Twitter, FB, here on this website………………..it may seem a contradiction when I say I am all for discussion and being able to express opposing views – but not at the expense of another human being’s personal safety or well-being. What these people are doing is stalking – plain and simple. I won’t condone it or encourage it! Period. I’m going to take heat for this stance – I may stand totally alone. That’s ok.

I’ve seen whining about how shippers shouldn’t be vilified – they too watch the show/read the books/support the actors. Here is a clue from me – shipper or not, if you act this way towards other people, people that live and breathe and just want their own lives, I have a problem with you. If you show so little respect to someone you claim to idolize – you get none from me.

My hope is, people will stop ignoring this problem. That sensible people will start saying “I don’t care if ‘everyone’ does it- doesn’t make it ok’…………………. I seem to remember hearing this from my parents on a regular basis growing up and said it to my own kid. I honestly wish the gal that looked up Graham’s kilt at a function would have been arrested. If you are reading this lady – be glad I wasn’t there – you would not have gotten off so easily. If a man had done to Cait or Lotte or Laura or Diana – what you did to Graham, they would have been arrested. Period. This sort of thing is NOT ok.

SmVHIZe

I hope the people involved with the show will take a stand and start banning problem children from events. I hope people on FB and Twitter and Tumbler and Instagram will not ignore this sort of behavior anymore and start blocking people. Not only that, start reporting them for what they are and get them banned completely. I have said over and over – and will likely to continue to repeat: Courtesy and Common Sense. I hope for all those who say they ‘adore’ Sam & Cait or Zach McGowan or Shailene Woodley or Jensen Ackles or Jennifer Lawrence or……………………………….. the list goes on……………………. they would show some courtesy & common sense in comments, deeds and actions towards these ‘celebrities’.

Celebrities or not, someone in the public eye is STILL a person with feelings; they have a life and loves and family and actual friends. As a ‘fan’ you can claim none of these and so don’t KNOW them. They deserve respect and the ability to have a private life beyond their public image. If you truly ‘adore’ them – don’t you think you should allow them that?

I wrote this blog and posted it. I took a lot of heat for it; that was ok. It got a lot of good discussion going which was my purpose. I took it down because I had people telling me I was making the problem worse and stirring up shit that didn’t need to be stirred. I wish I hadn’t – however – the time between let me be a lot more objective, change some of the writing to clarify things a bit and, hopefully, not come across that I am attacking shippers. I’m not. I am attacking a specific pattern of behavior and those people engaging in it. If the shoe fits, I’m talking to you. If it doesn’t – if you are NOT engaging in this nastiness, don’t take it personally. DO start to be part of the solution to get this horrible behavior stopped as much as possible.

6 thoughts on “Serious Line: Fan to Fanatic

  1. Lucy says:

    Hi Beth, I’m a big fan! Your original post had a huge impact on me. I’m glad you are brave enough to re-post it. Thanks for the nod to my tumblr site. You are always welcome to visit. It’s time many of us step back and look at what we are doing. We are a mature, adult group, largely composed of women who collectively have a lot of wisdom to share. We can do better. Thanks again!

    • rynawolfe says:

      Hi Lucy,

      You said things very well on your site. I didn’t put this on my main timeline this time, I gave it a separate page. However, if you feel it would be helpful to relay, please do so. I don’t mind taking heat, I just don’t want to cause more problems than I’m helping with. Unfortunately, we are not ALL mature hence our current problems/issues. Looking forward to more exchanges! Cheers!

  2. Marjory Noble says:

    BRAVO!

  3. BRAVO, so very true and I could not have said it any better👍❤️

  4. Myrna Weissman says:

    What you are discussing in terms of shipping (and thank you so much for finally explaining the concept), is really part of a much larger cultural issue in this country in particular, but growing world wide i.e. the worship of celebrity and fame for its own sake. We live in a society where Kardashians amass fortunes by appealing to and mining exactly the same mentality as shippers. I think Outlander benefits greatly from its Scottish production base and Euro-centric casting. Things would be far worse if all these people lived and worked in LA for instance. There seems to be some measure of respect for an actor’s privacy across the pond that simply doesn’t exist here, although one would have to question if they are quite as proper when it comes to royalty. Physical stalking is beyond creepy, in any form, and yet we countenance paparazzi. Is it any wonder fans given to obsession don’t know where to draw the line? There is also the issue of when provocative PR becomes part of the problem. I have enormous respect for both Sam and Cat as actors and I certainly believe they are entitled to a private life. By the same token, dual photo shoots clearly intended to appear romantic or sexy, for lack of better descriptions, do not help to dispel the shipping narrative. The same might be said for individual publicity as well in terms of how you elect to present yourself. I suspect that both of these people understand the power of physical beauty and are making conscious choices about what they are projecting and perceptions it may create. If not, they really need to learn fast.

  5. […] 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 people shipping. If someone feels […]

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