Those Crazy Tumblr Kids and Their Real Life Ships

It’s official! We’re off to the US premiere of Catching Fire!

In the meantime, we’ve lined up some stellar guest posts for you to enjoy! First up is Emese, whose a little disturbed (and rightfully so) by a trend she’s noticed among members of The Hunger Games fandom on tumblr.

Take it away, Emese!

________________________________________________

For an outsider Tumblr might seem like a pretty crazy place. And it is! It’s filled with all these gibberish text posts, shiny fan arts, RP-ers and regular bloggers, social activists and trolls, hipster blogs and cat picture blogs and food blogs and of course: fandom blogs.

-

You see, it’s never dull there. People always have a lot of ‘FEELS‘ to talk about, they use taglines like ‘AKFSJGSGADKHJGSDAFLJKSAFHKJSA‘ to express excitement, and have separate folders on their computers where they store all the GIF files they might use as reactions to a post.

Pretty graphics can be called ‘color porn‘ and ‘scenery porn‘ and ‘hair porn‘ without having any kind of adult content and the concept of ‘shipping‘ was completely re-defined by these folks and the general fandoms. It’s not just for your OTP (=One True Pairing) anymore, you can have as many ships as possible for one single person by ‘multishipping‘ them. You can ‘go down with a ship‘ even if it’s about two characters who only interacted that one single time. Heck, they might not even met! And sometimes you can ship two people without actually wanting them to get together, and call them your ‘brotp‘. Really, it’s gotten to a point where you can ship someone with an inanimate object without seeming like a weirdo.

Perhaps that’s why I don’t feel like twitching and screaming whenever I see a a photoset out there of two Hunger Games co-stars tagged as #i ship it. Because I know that that same person might just have a gifset reblogged of the Doctor and his screwdriver (no, that’s not an euphemism, pull your mind out of the gutter and start watching some Doctor Who! God!) with that same tagline.

No, but seriously. #i ship it

No, but seriously. #i ship it

Still, ‘real life shipping’ in itself is in fact an existing separate phenomenon and is something that we all encountered in our lives. It can be derived from people identifying actors with the characters they play, or just an idea to put two celebrities you like together. In many cases though, real life shipping is simply just an act of appreciation of an existing relationship between two people, whether it’s romantic or not. Unfortunately, that’s not where it all stops. It’s just where it all starts to get disturbing.

Like guys, there are fanfictions out there! Fanfictions! It’s crazy! Think about it, these are not fictional characters, these are real actual human beings who could possibly read those! But that’s not even the honest-to-God-real problem – I mean yeah, I feel pretty uneasy whenever I come across those writings, but I also know people who merely find them fun and entertaining in a totally-not-taking-this-seriously sense. What worries me more are these mile-long text posts I have to scroll through day-by-day, describing why X and Y are not really in love but X and Z are like meant to be together. Like look at those pictures the user just posted, they tell you everything you need to know! Obviously, the poster totally knows these peoples’ feelings much better than the people in question. “Seriously, X and Y need to break up, stat!” That’s like a legit thing to write on a public forum about two very real people who you know nothing about.

Wow.

Again, we are talking about real people. Not fictional characters.

And guys trust me, I’m not making this up. These posts actually happen. In this fandom. And those posting them are absolutely serious about them. And people agree with them.

The question is, how is that better than any sort of shitty celebrity journalism making up crap about well-known public figures just to sell themselves? And even more so: how is that different from the Capitol’s obsession with Peeta and Katniss’ romance?

The answer is: it’s not. It’s actually worse. Because you’re a fan, and you should know better.

You see generally, this whole idea is not a new trend. People were obsessed with the personal life of their favorite stars 50 years ago as well; it’s why trashy magazines and celebrity journalism exist in the first place. Thanks to the internet however, there’s some rapid growth that happened on that front, which means more accessibility, more paparazzi pictures for the public and obviously much more intrusion into these people’s lives. It’s one of those disturbing points where the fictional world of the Capitol meets our present day entertainment industry.

Even so, sometimes I feel that while Tumblr is in many ways perpetuating that kind of behavior, occasionally it also adds some kind of fun spin to this whole craziness instead of embracing it. Again, we’re talking about fans here, and many of them might even understand the situation as a whole, and so they try to maintain a certain level of respect for their idols and their need for privacy. I personally feel like the Hunger Games fandom in general is very self-aware in that regard, especially since the books are full of criticism toward the subject.

That doesn’t mean though that I don’t feel uncomfortable whenever it happens in any way. Our cast is generally very private about their personal lives, and I feel that getting involved in their relationships like that is very disrespectful for them. There are parts of their lives that they choose to indulge us in, but there are also parts that they’re desperate to keep to themselves. And while enjoying a certain relationship that we get to see through channels that they choose to open, such as in interviews, is fine, I find that discussions above that are always problematic and very much Capitol-y.

What more could you possibly ask for?!

What more could you possibly ask for?!

I’m proud to say that most of the fandom – outside the madness that is social media – respects that. We might be aware of our cast members’ relationship statuses, but we do not talk about it – because they don’t. Unless of course it’s Sam Claflin’s adorable relationship with his wife, which we can unabashedly fawn over thanks to his openness about it.

I imagine of course that many of the weirdos who are taking this all to the extremes are either pre-teenage fangirls and boys, who haven’t yet thought over these issues, or people who might not even be actual fans of the books and movies themselves. Well, I’m here to tell you that your age is not necessarily an excuse to be a disrespectful prick to your own idols. Heck, I don’t even care if you’re not a Hunger Games fan: if you come into our party, you play by our rules.

Team Just Leave These Guys The Hell Alone A.K.A. Who Cares If It’s Real Or Not Real?
(E)m(e)se

Advertisements

8 comments

  1. I mean lets be honest I am sure plenty of people think those who hang out and write on fan forums are just as weird, but if its harmless who cares. These people will never read these posts so let them have their fun.

    1. I wouldn’t necessarily call it ‘harmless’. Real life shipping – or actor shipping as Twirl4me digged up the trope term – is the main reason why the scrutiny exists around these guys and their personal lives. Of course, that’s not what I’ve really been talking about in this post; this particular behaviour has been existed since the dawn of celebrity age and is something that probably won’t ever go away thanks to certain parts of the human nature. But I did want to point out that there’s a real life repercussion for all this.

      Mostly though what I do think is that regardless whether or not the actors would actually see it for themselves, it’s dangerous to tell people that it’s okay to treat celebrities as fictional characters. Even more so: their own fictional characters – essentially their own properties. There’s a line between finding a relationship adorable and marveling about how ‘they’d be cute together’ and saying things like ‘break up your current relationships because I said so’. It’s disturbing to me that people either don’t see that by default, or has been blinded to it by those around them who completely disregard it.

      1. I would never condone being aggressive/stalkerish/disrespectful like you have suggested some of these “Joshifer” shippers have become.
        You are right it is not alright to treat these human beings like their property. I myself however have only seen the ones who find their chemistry endearing and lament that they would love to see them together, but understand that they are in relationships with other people… I guess I must follow the right blogs.

        1. I have been checking out some of the joshifer sites on tumblr and most of them are very confused on how they aren’t in a relationship. To be fair, Josh and Jen have RIDICULOUS amounts of chemistry. But I think people these days are not used seeing a girl and guy ‘just being friends’ and the media exploits that.

  2. Yeah, the methods and media may have advanced, but this is nowhere near new. Sometimes people just can’t leave it to the fiction. I’m pretty sure there are still people that ship Kate and Leo… 0_o It’s been 16 years guys, let it go.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s