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Monday, April 18, 2016

Shippers vs. Super-Shippers

          Recently there was some discussion about shipping in the Outlander fandom and how it has been “vilified.” That conversation got people talking, which I think is a good thing. As long as it isn’t completely one-sided, or slightly misrepresented, which it was. There is such a schism in our fandom. And it lies in the hands of only a very small group of fans. So who makes up the Outlander fandom?

          First, there are those of us old enough to have read Outlander when it came out. We’ve been fans for over 25 years. We’ve read every book in the series at least once, if not multiple times. There are those who have no interest in the books and simply enjoy watching the show. We can be found on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, LiveJournal, and CompuServe. You name it, we are out there talking about our love of all things Outlander!
          Within these groups are people who are shippers, super-shippers, non-shippers, have no idea what a shipper is, know what they are but don’t care, are truthers, or are on social media simply to see all and hear all they can about Outlander.

          As my title suggests, I’m here to discuss two groups especially: shippers vs. non-shippers.

          People often ask, “What is wrong with shipping?” The simple answer is “Absolutely Nothing!!” Regular ol’ shippers who find Sam and Cait’s interactions adorable and think “Aren’t they adorable together?! I *heart* them!” - and that is as far as it goes - are fine. Maybe these people are a majority of the fandom, I don’t know. Because let’s face it - I think that on the face value of those interactions, we could all be shippers! Sam and Cait are adorable in those interviews and games and panels! I would even go so far as to say that it is impossible not to have a big smile on your face and feel a little better after watching them interact together.

          Here’s a truth for you regular shippers: If you think that the group of people on Tumblr/Twitter who strive to show the truth of the S/C ship[1] hate you, you are completely wrong. Shipping can be harmless and the majority of you stick to that fun, harmless shipping.

          However, there is a separate group of shippers, the super-shippers, who are not harmless or fun. (A super-shipper takes shipping above and beyond the realm of harmless shipping. Everything is scrutinized to help keep the ship alive, and it is imperative that S/C are a couple.) These super-shippers (“SSers”) will stop at nothing to defend their ship. (I will not post any screencaps here, as the SSers complained endlessly about non-shippers-truthers (NSTs) doing this to them.[2] However, if you have any questions or disbelieve anything I say, you need to go through the SSers’ blogs on Tumbr. Take a good, long look and you will find it all there in black and white.

          These “harmless” SSers are bullies. They will bully anyone who dares to say the ship does not exist. This includes not only us mere “mortals”, but the cast and crew of Outlander: Nell (she said that Sam was in Thailand instead of Costa Rica with Cait for NYE like the SSers wanted everyone to believe), the Thai guy, Amy, Terry, Diana, Sam’s ex-gf, Cait’s bf, the Outlandercastblog for simply discussing shipping in the fandom, three of the drivers, and Sam himself (their self-professed Captain of the ship). They attack with the ferocity of starving piranhas until we are stripped bare, the only thing left our bones to clean their fang-like teeth with.

          I hate bullies. I was bullied for a brief time in elementary school and it left a foul taste in my mouth. Sadly this group of people also bully and mock people who do nothing to usurp the shipping. People they feel answer too many of the cast’s/crew’s tweets or are always the first to answer (which they screencap to show their viewers). They get ruthlessly mocked.  People who send gifts to the cast/crew. Mocked. (Nevermind that they do the same themselves. The hypocrisy on the ship knows no bounds.) The SSers claim to be full of “light, love, hugs and positivity,” but their words and actions prove otherwise. If someone sends a question to them on their blog, they are answered in the rudest ways possible and then blocked.

          I also hate liars. And a bigger group of liars about the non-existent ship I have not seen. They are full of untruthiness. But do not take my word for it. Go through the SSers’ blogs and see for yourself how full of love they are for anyone not on their ship, or who speaks against the ship.

          Next, the two SSers (and let us be honest here. These women were NOT regular shippers. They were of the SS class.) who engaged in Saturday’s conversation complained that the shippers are called “tinhatters.” This is only a half-truth. Regular shippers are never referred to as this. (In fact, regular shippers are not discussed negatively on any NST blog.) It is the super-shippers who are discussed to prove their lies wrong and to showcase their bully ways. And this is why:

Derived from the stereotype of conspiracy theorists and other paranoid people wearing tinfoil hats to protect themselves from telepathic, microwave or radio transmissions by aliens, the government, or both[1]: a fannish tinhat is a person who believes that their favorite celebrities are really a couple, forced by The Powers That Be to keep their relationship a secret. A lot of tinhat theories are based on fantasies of closeted celebrities (mainly actors) unable to be open about their relationship in their profession, although tinhatting of opposite-sex pairings does occur (and predates the term itself). The term can refer to the stylish accessory or, by metonymy, to the fan who wears it.

The term can also be used to refer to any fans who deliberately ignore parts of a canon they dislike in order to continue enjoying the media, for example bad writing, questionable relationship choices, etc. (Emphasis added)

          The SSers love to use this excuse. “Sam and Cait would come out and show their love for each other but the PTB are keeping them from doing so.”  So every minute detail of every photo and video is scrutinized for their supposed love.

          Sam and Cait both hanging onto a pair of antlers after a night of drinking? That’s now known as the “antler finger porn” photo.

          Sam and Cait throw “secret” kisses at each other.

          Sam and Cait leave little “breadcumbs” showing their love that only the SSers can detect and find.

          Sam and Cait are always on the verge of “the big reveal” (which, of course, never happens. Oh, wait! Unless you count all those videos and interviews they did where the unequivocally stated, “We are just friends. We are not a couple.”)  That was indeed a big reveal!

          But again the SSers spin truth into fiction and state that “something was off” with them. (Yes, it was. They were pissed they had to state publically that they weren’t a couple!)

          This is only a teeny-tiny part of what the SSers do to “deliberately ignore parts of the canon they dislike in order to continue enjoying the media” and the ship. They have stalked Sam, Cait, their friends and loved ones. They have threatened their loved ones. Gone to Sam’s dad’s grave. Mined SM to a degree that they know every friend or family member and follow them whenever they can.  And that is the tip of the iceberg.
          All this is why shipping is harmless fun, but super-shipping is not. But please, do not take my word for it. Go read their blogs on Tumblr for yourself! Make your own decisions about how full of light and love and truth they are.

[1] Disclosure: I am a part of this group. I simply consider myself a “Non-Shipper”.
[2] NSTs screencap to show that the SSers have indeed said what we are saying they said. As opposed to the SSers who make up lies and post them as truth without any truth to back up their lies. It’s actually a bit of a safeguard to have a screencap, super-shippers. If the NSTs represent something that you feel you did not mean, then you can use the very same screencap we blog to disprove what we say.


  1. I've fallen prey to a couple of SSers and it is not pretty! I received several bullying tweets about my stating real, solid facts that opposed their fantasy world. I don't care what their beliefs are, one way or the other, but, as you've written, there is no room on the "ship" for anyone who lives in the real world or anyone who wants to squash the perpetuation of the obvious falsehoods to keep their fantasies alive.

  2. Hi Kathleen - I'm sorry you have been bullied by the SSers. It isn't pretty!