Inside the spectacularly weird uber-fan subculture of ‘shipping’

Inside the spectacularly weird uber-fan subculture of ‘shipping’
Image: Pinterest

Wherever there are hints of sexual tension in a book, movie or television show, there will always be shippers. They can be described as uber-fans who pair or ‘ship’ two fictional characters together in a romantic relationship, and then obsess over that mental image becoming a reality. Many shippers draw saucy fan art, write sultry fanfic, and at times freak out when their ship doesn’t pan out.

Shippers have been in the headlines in the past years for driving a few prominent creatives off social media due to shipping-related harassment. A WB exec was hounded over a Supernatural ship not happening and an artist for Steven Universe deleted her account because of abuse.

The shippers are a strange and complex breed. At its worst shipping can lead to campaigns of targeted harassment against art creators. At its best it can be a movement promoting gay acceptance and visibility in media. But mostly it’s just a bunch of people on the Internet enjoying the thing they love, albeit in strangely erotic ways.

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