Main Shipping Discussion

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11:37:37 PM Oct 16th 2014
There's a couple of ideas presented in this article that I take issue with, and I'm speaking as someone who has been a shipper for well over a decade now.

The first is the idea in the opening paragraphs that shipping arises out of a need to live out a romance through the lives of the characters in question, to get a vicarious thrill. If so, this page is the first I've heard of such a thing. Whether or not one is in a happy romantic relationship has, in my experience, absolutely nothing to do with whether one enjoys shipping in fiction. There are shippers who are happily married and shippers with no interest in their own real-life romances, and single-ready-to-mingle shippers, too. Also, what does this say about people who ship incest, or who enjoy fics and headcanons that delve into twisted power dynamics and destructive relationships? Are we going to assume that they have desires as twisted as those they like to read about? Of course not, any more than people who enjoy scary movies actually want to be stalked or murdered. Ffs.

(And I know someone is going to bring up Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, and I'm going to say that shipping way predates both of those fandoms, so the point still stands.)

In my experience, many shippers are invested in fictional romantic relationships based on the crazy idea that "Hey, maybe those two characters would make a cute couple." And they think the idea is fun. And they roll with it.

Also, the idea that shippers instantly lose interest in a relationship as soon as the anticipation is through. I guess that's true in general, the same way that any fandom loses steam once the series is completed. But I can't tell you the number of fanfics I've read that deal with a couple's dating life, wedding planning, married life, children, happily growing old together, meeting each other in the afterlife, and I guess the next step after would be Reincarnation Romance, but I haven't actually read anything like that... Though I can imagine it very easily.

The statement that as soon as a ship is confirmed in-Universe, the fans lose interest, is flatly wrong. If it were accurate, then the Harry Potter fandom would have no Harry/Ginny or Ron/Hermione shippers active in it, and there are many. It also reinforces this idea that runs throughout the page, that shippers are a particularly vapid and shallow kind of fan, whose interest is temporary and rooted in a desperate lack of romance in their own life. Really, the world needs fewer stereotypes about fans who are super-passionate only because their own lives are pathetic.

To get very academic on you readers, frequently shipping acts as a shorthand for philosophical or moral debates within a work. A very easy example is The Hunger Games. Will Katniss end up with the gentle baker Peeta, who offers peaceful domestic bliss, and the lies of the Capitol? Or will she go for her old hunting buddy Gale, her kindred spirit who boils over with anger and big plans — but is completely honest? Whether you think this particular love triangle was well executed or not, you can easily see how they each represent two very different kinds of endings, and hence, two very different kinds of stories. Now look at Zutara and Kataang and even more possibilities unfold.

We don't have to get that academic, of course. But I do want to rid this page of its kind of scornful attitude, and its ideas that are completely unfounded in my experience.

PS. I know that shippers can be extremely annoying, but every kind of fan can be extremely annoying, but we give everyone a fair shot on this wiki.
06:24:43 PM May 6th 2016
edited by vifetoile
Alright, I am completely editing this section, but leaving it here for posterity.

  • ...but honestly, shipping is just a consequence of plain old human nature. we are wired to seek a romantic partner in such a powerful, fundamental way that some of us even get a considerable kick out of doing it by proxy — and fictional characters are plentiful, easy to relate to, often in want of someone to make out with, usually get their happy ending, and hardly ever fall out of love. We wish we were them. We are drawn to reimagining ourselves in their place like moths to the flame.
01:50:46 PM Jul 10th 2013
Someone should set up a massive list of fandoms and all their ships in like order of popularity or something. I can never find out exactly who's shipping what I'm shipping.
04:58:00 PM Jul 20th 2013
Good idea in theory, would be a disaster in practice. People would abuse it in every which way.
03:40:24 AM Oct 9th 2012
So here's some rather bold claims I found in the article:

Shipping is a consequence of human nature.

Shipping is and obsession that universally afflict fandom.

Shipping is (this is my favorite) "an omnipresent force of nature".

On a personal note, I think shipping is stupid and makes no sense. But apparently I'm an inhuman and unnatural freak, so what do I know?
11:48:09 AM Dec 1st 2012
Dude, it's a possible consequence of human nature. Also, it does end up being a big deal on nearly every fandom, and the last bit is obviously hyperbole. You should really just relax.
07:01:35 PM Jul 23rd 2012
I've heard of what seems to be a subtopic of this called "friendshipping", but I can't get any exact info on what it is, and I'm curious. I've noticed some stories are labelled as having friendshipping when they aren't really romantic at all, so I'm really confused as to what it is. Anyone know for certain?
10:12:22 AM Sep 14th 2012
There are two types of Shipping known as "friendshipping,"

  • Shipping two (usually) platonic friends romantically.

  • Platonic shipping.
02:27:25 AM May 25th 2012
I just want to ask here. Does any Fan Shipping related page acknowledges the Spike/Dawn (Spawn) shipping among some Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans?

I've looked on the first Shipping related pages I thought to try (Fan Preffered Couple to start with) and nothing.

Perhaps it's a more infamous a Ship in my mind then it ever really was cause it happened to be my introduction to the world of shipping. But still, this did begin as a specifically Buffy site.

It was controversial because of the age differences, but in universe it was no different then either Spike or Angel with Buffy, Dawn was just cast closer to her real age (Her exact real age originally, Joss's only continuity foul up was having Dawn go through 3 Freshmen years of High School). The contemporary equivalent probably being San San of Game of Thrones, which I also support.

It's still probably the Ship I support most of any in any Fandom, though Jeremy/Anna from The Vampire Diaries is up there now.
05:20:48 AM Oct 2nd 2011
I just wanted to say that this is one of the best articles I've ever read of the phenomenon of Shipping. It's described concisely, it addresses the fundamental reasons of why it exists, the most common manifestations of it, and the most common behaviours and quirks of the fandom that engages in this activity. And it does so in a way that people outside of fandom can at least get it, which is no small task.

If TV Tropes has some sort of Featured Tropes for showing the best written articles on this wiki, I'm nominating this one. Please don't change or add to it too much. It's pretty much perfect the way it is, in my humble opinion.

06:02:57 AM Oct 22nd 2011
Wow. Thanks! I put a lot of work into that article, so it's very nice to hear that. =)
02:57:24 PM Sep 10th 2011
Why isn't there a Troper Tales section?
06:06:43 AM Oct 22nd 2011
We don't host Troper Tales any more.
01:55:45 PM Aug 12th 2011
Uh... hi. I don't understand the appeal of shipping.



09:34:41 PM Sep 17th 2011
Me neither
07:40:01 PM Nov 15th 2011
Thirded. There's a fourth over in Headscratchers. I think the deletion of a certain line may be in order. The article clearly explains what people feel when they ship and what motivates them to do so, but I just don't get why they bother. I understand that perspectives and opinions differ, but since that's true, I don't want to be lumped into a category which I don't belong in.

And I've read this article several times to try and see if maybe I can get shipping. I don't want to not get it, if that makes any sense. But to assume that shipping is so fundamental to human nature that nobody doesn't get it implies that those of us who really don't aren't really human in nature. So, either the article is wrong, or there's something fundamentally wrong with me. (I'm willing to accept the latter if it turns out to be true, so don't be afraid to tell me ;) )
09:54:33 AM Nov 16th 2011
edited by Tropulastic
Well, from my experience, most people don't choose to feel, voluntarily. This largely depends on empathy, but either you get attached to the characters, or you don't. And when people do, if they're into the fandom mentality of going online and sharing their experiences with the show, shipping feels like the natural extension for them.

Perharps this part should be clarified in the article?
02:03:11 AM Jul 30th 2011
Just a suggestion but there should be a shipping sheet. Like a character sheet but with lists of tropes that would describe how compatible the relationships work out.
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