Not quite a year ago I wrote a long post about the whole Shipper issue in the Outlander fandom. A few things that have happened in the past few weeks/months made me write a follow-up. It reiterates some of the points from that old post, but I hope you bear with me. And those things are worth repeating regardless.
I’ve been a shipper in the original sense of the term – interested in the romantic fate of fictional characters in books, movies, TV shows – for as long as I can remember. It’s often been what got me hooked and kept me interested in the story. The concept of “shipping” real people, as the term these days seems to be defined in – not just the Outlander fandom, but – fandoms in general, is still is a very foreign concept to me.
To some extent I understand the interest in a star’s private life. I am a fan. I would lie, if I said I don’t care about that stuff, because of course I do. I care about my favourite artists and I want them to be happy. And yes, I’m also a bit curious by nature. I try to not seek out private information on purpose and I try stay off gossip and papparrazzi sites. Or tumblr. Because to me the latter often is a cesspit of weird conspiracy theories (Most recently about rainbows for crying out loud!).
But I freely admit, that I have googled “Caitriona Balfe + Tony McGill” or “Sam Heughan + MacKenzie Mauzy” at some point in my Outlander fan life. More than once. And yes, I’ve started following MacKenzie on Twitter and Instagram. And of course I have thoughts and feelings about these relationships. Good ones. As I’ve stated above: I want my favourite artists to be happy. And to me Cait and Sam both seem to be. Happy in a relationship with somebody other than their TV co-star. Because as both have stated time and time again: They are not dating each other! They are not a couple in real life.
I know there are still a lot of shippers out there, who wish it were differently, because these fans see the on-screen chemistry and they see how affectionate Cait and Sam sometime are with each other in interviews, in behind scenes or on social media. And therefore or for whatever other reason these fans are convinced that Cait and Sam would make a great romantic couple in real life. I beg to differ by the way, but that’s not the point.
Besides from these two statements in this post
“I think they look happy in their relationships” and
“I don’t think they would make a great couple”
I try to keep my thoughts and feelings about Cait’s and Sam’s private life to myself! Because it’s none of my freaking business to discuss any part of it. And it’s even less anyone’s business to discuss, analyse or dissect any part of it publicly on the internet! You wouldn’t want the details your own love life or any other part of your private life to be the topic of some random people’s conversations or online discussions. Would you?
I mentioned it in my first post about this last summer:
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”
It’s so simple, really.
If you call yourself a fan of these actors show some respect. Show some common decency. Show some kindness. Towards them, but also towards the people they obviously care about.
What really pissed me off recently was seeing the abuse and harassment MacKenzie is still getting on her Instagram account. By anonymous “Eggs” (random name, no posts, no followers) who have just signed up to spread their venom. I have no idea what makes someone go through all the trouble to create a fake account and to post things like “You’re still alive, you bitch? I hope this is your last Easter” Seriously, what is wrong with these people?!?!? Why are they doing this? Even if they are convinced that MacKenzie isn’t the right woman for Sam, why do they think they have the right to harass her? I just don’t get it.
I even less understand how and why some women can spend so much time being a bitch towards another woman online. I really don’t want to go all “Sisterhood of Women” on you, but why are we doing this to each other? I haven’t seen any male TV or movie fan go crazy to this extent yet. Are there even (straight) male shippers? In any fandom? Do men have these romantic fantasies about TV stars? I know a lot of internet trolls are male, but their trolling happens on a whole different level, I think. Because seriously, can you imagine a guy anonymously posting threats on his favourite actress’s boyfriend Instagram account? I can’t. So I assume this behaviour must be something inherently female. AND. I. JUST. DONT. FREAKING. GET. IT!
In my post last year I also mentioned that I get protective on behalf of “my stars” very quickly. Like a momma-bear. Or maybe more like a big-sister-bear ;-), as I’m not that much older than Cait or Sam. I try to not get sucked into online discussions with these crazy-nutcase-fraction of the shipper community (I know there are respectful, kind shippers as well), but stick to reporting comments and accounts on Instagram. And to obviously now write a new long post about the whole drama again.
I don’t know if this will make any difference, but I just felt the need to make my stance known once more. But I also want to distance myself from these people in the Outlander fandom. I refrain from calling them “fans”, at least here on my blog. Because I consider myself a fan, and according to my own definition of “being a fan” their lack of respect and decency and kindness towards Cait and Sam disqualifies them. And they give us “normal” fans a bad rep. And I hate that and I know, or at least hope, I’m not alone in this.