Yikes. I just realized that today’s Dear kfangurl question is one that I received almost 3 whole months ago!
Panda asks today’s question:
“Is it wrong to ship yourself with your fave actors/actresses?”
I’m sorry for taking this long to give an answer Panda. The end-of-year busyness got to me, and I didn’t realize I’d kept you waiting this long!
To try to make up for it, I’ll do my best to give you a thoughtful answer, ok? *offers hug*
DEFINITION OF SHIP
Ok, so first things first. What are we talking about, when we use the word “ship” in this context?
To help us out, I went to our handy-dandy glossary for a ready definition:
Ship: To “ship” a couple is to support / hope for the couple to actually get together. The term, “‘ship” comes from “relationship”.
It’s from the X-Files days when fans who supported the idea of Mulder and Scully getting together were called “relationshippers” which quickly got shortened to “shippers” which then spread across the internet and took on a life of its own.
[Thanks to BetsyHp for the insight!]
Often, ships are inspired by various permutations of the 4 leads in a kdrama. Eg, to ship Yoo Seung Ho & Yoon Eun Hye in I Miss You.
Now that we’ve got the definition of “ship” out of the way, it’s time to talk about degrees of shipping.
DEGREES OF SHIPPING
Even though we don’t often discuss it, there are, if you think about it, degrees of shipping.
Whether you’re shipping a celebrity couple, like rooting for a We Got Married couple to make the leap from reel to real, or shipping yourself with Oppa, there are variances in behavior across the fandom at large.
Let’s talk about shipping oneself with Oppa, since that’s the point of today’s question.
For some people, shipping themselves with Oppa goes no further than indulging in some fangirl fantasies.
Y’know, in the privacy of your own bedroom, you gaze dreamily at Oppa’s photos, and imagine what it would be like to be his date to a movie premiere, or what it would be like to cook together with Oppa, or what it would be like to make out with Oppa.. you get the idea.
Yes, some fangirl fantasies might have ratings higher than PG (ahem), but at the end of the day, if you’re able to contain these fantasies such that they don’t hurt your Real Life relationships with others, I honestly don’t see the harm in them.
Not So Mild Shipping
For other people, shipping could translate into much more.. active behaviors.
For the more extreme cases, this could even translate into tracking Oppa down and stalking him.
Y’know, those scary sasaeng behaviors that sound too far-fetched to be true, but are, in fact, “acts of love” done by fans to their oppas. Take a look at this article and this one, too, for a couple of classic examples.
In an incident involving a used menstrual pad being sent to Taecyeon, the fan claimed not to be a sasaeng, but “merely obsessive.”
I’m gonna just come out and say it: I would definitely consider that kind of obsessive behavior sasaeng. Yikes.
Basically, if shipping yourself with Oppa translates into this type of behavior, then, you might need an intervention.
At the same time, consider how the celebs in each of the articles have reacted to such extreme behavior from their fans. Some have feared for their safety &/or the safety of their loved ones. Others have pleaded with fans to stop.
The bottom line here is, this kind of behavior might get you noticed, like the fan who slapped Yoochun, but it sure isn’t going to delight Oppa.
On a tangent, preparing gifts for Oppa and delivering said gifts to Oppa without resorting to stalking or frightening him – that’s ok.
Ok, so I know that not many of us would engage in such extreme behavior while shipping ourselves with Oppa (phew).
At the same time, there are more “moderate” behaviors that self-Oppa-shipping fans engage in that give me pause.
One common example, is “mine”-ing Oppa on every online forum/thread/blog that you visit, never mind if other fans on the site also love Oppa. Worse, when other fans “mine” Oppa too, rivalry and online catfights ensue.
I’d call that pretty uncool behavior. Coz, what gives one fan the right to “mine” Oppa over another fan? And, does that “mine”-ing behavior even make sense?
It’s all well and good when it’s done in tongue-in-cheek fun. Like how y’all indulge me and refer to the Woob as mine. It makes me smile, and gives us stuff to giggle about together.
[For the record, I have never claimed Woob as “mine,” well, except for that one banner on the blog where I thought it’d make a cute tagline, but you guys know I was just having fun with it, right? I’m actually all for good-natured fangirl sharing. Just so you know.]
Once it crosses over into aggressively asserting your claim to Oppa, though, I’d say we have a bit of a problem. None of us wants to be that fan that other fans roll their eyes over, and wish didn’t show up, right?
THE BOTTOM LINE
I’d say that the bottom line really is about the kind of behavior your shipping translates into.
Personally, I think a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, Does this behavior hurt other people? Would Oppa actually like this behavior? And perhaps most important of all, Does this behavior hurt me?
Coz when all is said and done, we don’t want our fangirl activities to prevent us from living happy, full lives.
Enjoying some fangirl fantasy about Oppa is perfectly fine. But don’t let that fantasy get twisted into your reality. Real Life has to go on, and you deserve a fantastic, fulfilling one.
It’s what Oppa would want for you too.
I hope that helps!
1. Dya have thoughts to share with Panda? Or your own story to share? Tell us about it in the comments!
2. Do you have a question of your own? Drop me a comment here or on the Dear kfangurl page, or send me an email!
hm… That was very interesting. I’m one of those who can’t ship herself with a celebrity… But I don’t think it’s wrong to do so. I mean, when you have a crush on someone you actually know and you picture yourself with them, there’s nothing wrong about it either. Like you said, it really becomes a problem when the feeling of entitlement is just too strong and you start acting like you own oppa or unnie. .. or, as you put it, you start “mine-ing”. xD well i think i’ve read everyt “dear kfangurl”… and i even commented! what do i win? nothing? 🙁 not even a cookie? haha
Yes, absolutely – shipping yourself with a celeb is essentially the same as picturing yourself with a crush. It’s the sense of entitlement that we need to be wary of. As long as that’s under control, I don’t see any harm in entertaining a little bit of fangirl dreaming 😉
And YES, you HAVE read and commented on every single Dear kfangurl post! *wild applause* Consider yourself the recipient of the largest box of virtual cookies, hugs and tiaras that can fit on the interwebs! XD <3 <3 <3 Big smooches to ya~!
I’m a shipper of an OTP. Though a lot of the actors I’ve watched are certainly drool worthy (hello, Ji Chang Wook!) I could not picture myself with them. But, that’s me. HOWEVER, I can, and have seen myself mildly obsessed with an OTP in the beginning of my kdrama-life. A fact that scared me so much, I had to unplug a bit. (kfangurl knows this hahah)
Now I can squee and frown along with the ups and downs of shipping. It’s great, it can be a great break from real life.
As long as you know yourself enough to keep one foot firmly in reality while the other is in shipping dreamland, then by all means, ship away. 🙂
and to Kfangurl: this was an awesome post. Loved the way you ended it. Hahahah, that should be a meme, if not already. What would Oppa Say? or What Would Oppa Do? Anyway, I know you get it. hehehe
I had to take several steps back in my own fandom activities once upon a time, too, when I found myself getting in too deep. I was (and still am) absolutely horrified that I let myself get that far that I would genuinely be angry with a celebrity when they were only rumored to be in a relationship that was outside of my OTP or my own self shipping with the celeb.
I feel very uncomfortable with myself shipping people together that aren’t in preexisting relationships, and can only really ship canon pairings in most films and shows (except for second-lead syndrome. xD ‘Cause sometimes, Chaebol’s just an immature ass and Girl needs to get herself together and figure out that Best Friend is not only a better potential romantic partner, but a better human being period and she herself deserves better because one’s self worth is entirely based on one’s self – not who you associate with or who your beau is) during said film or show.
What Would Oppa Say sounds like a great meme. xD Somebody get on that!
!!! YES. That would make a great meme!! “What would Oppa say?” would be a great guideline for sasaengs, especially! Who knows, it might prevent some ludicrous behavior, if said sasaeng had that poster on her wall? XD
Awesome, awesome post. And I cracked up at the use of the word “Mine-ing” for Oppa. Somehow I started picturing a coal mine, where, you covet the diamond you find, when it’s really supposed to be thrown in the cart for even distribution, etc.
In essence, that fan is “mine-ing” the diamond that is Oppa and not sharing…does any of that make sense? It did in my head. LOL
As someone who has been involved with internet fan and chat groups for over 15 years now, I’ve seen all kinds. Some are just downright scary. Others can be manipulative, if they actually run fan-groups, etc. And still others can be show-offs, if they have a chance to meet their guy/gal and rub it in everyone’s faces.
And then you have fans who are “mine-ing” when the actor in question is dead even. I mean, come on, really?
Sometimes fan behavior is an outright embarrassment to every one involved. And after reading some of the disgusting stuff these Sasaengs did, how can they call themselves fans? Gross.
I’d love to see the ultimate Sasaeng drama! It would have loads of comedy and seriousness, even action, thriller/stalker bits and heartwarming moments.
I think I have to disagree about the idea of an “ultimate Sasaeng drama” If such a drama were to exist, I would be scared for my life. That type of show would surely become popular (just because of what it entails and the help of media doing what it normally does: taking things (like certain words) out of context and blowing them out of proportion). The worst part is that it would normalize such behaviors in the first place. Stalking should not be romanticized. Attacking someone out of “love” should not be romanticized. Going to such extremes that the person on the other side of your “affections” is then injured should not be romanticized. That is harassment and sometimes worse, and that is illegal in almost every part of the world, and still people are victim blamed more than they are helped.
As big of a fan as I am of the Answer Me dramas (1997 & 1994, currently), the fact that Shi-won slept outside of Tony’s house thoroughly creeps me out. The only reason that that moment is saved is because Shi-won is shown to understand that it was, indeed, a bit extreme and is generally smart and aware of most boundaries – she did only (the fact that I even say only saddens me deeply) sleep outside of his house, and a good bit down the street too, so as not to disturb him. That shows she cares about him on a human level and is portrayed as “simply” getting carried away.
Another HUGE concern of mine for a drama like that would be that it would simplify the actions of people who do these kind of endangering things. I’m assuming you were talking about a drama that is focusing on the person who is the recipient of these actions and that the comedy and heartwarming moments come not from the stalking, but from other aspects of this persons life, and the seriousness and action is focused on the physical and emotional conflict that being stalked and harassed entails. (And conflict is and character growth are two of the biggest things needed in any story.) It would eventually need to prove that it is self aware, however, and that these things happen (far more than they should) in real life and are not a joke to be played around with.
Sorry to get so worked up about this, Lady G. I know you most certainly meant the latter of the two descriptions, but after reading it, I felt that it could easily be taken the first way. My career goal in life is to be a writer for film and television and being more aware of how television and film effects us and can literally change the way people view things is something I try and do. Dramas aren’t just silly shows, after all. We should all know that. ^^
Hi Joey, that’s okay, I do understand what you mean, and it is a very serious issue. You are right, I certainly meant the latter description you gave.
I’m sorry if my post came off that way.
I know when to be serious but I guess I do have this absurdist/gallows humor about me too. To me, while it’s absolutely scary that people go to such levels, I also find it head shakingly absolutely ridiculous that they do and still have the gall to call themselves fans.
So my thoughts were definitely tongue – in – cheek. And no, I am NOT going to make any saesang dream drama or something. 😛 (Just in case you wondered! :p)
Oh yeah, I shook my head in pity/disgust at Shi Won’s behavior in Answer me ’97, but I also realized she was a teenager and acting on her crazy impulses. It was totally creepy.
And I definitely believe too that TV/Movies/Media is an extremely powerful tool and has shaped the way each and every one of us who has been exposed to it thinks, and behaves to a degree. It’s up to us individually to step back and say woah, who am I trying to emulate here? Where’s the balance in my life? How strong of a hold do I want entertainment to have on me? I think from time to time and drama to drama we all need to do that.
Sadly, Saesangs have lost that balance. :/
Lol. Your mental image of Oppa being the diamond in a coal mine is funny! XD It bemuses me that “mine-ing” is even a thing, but I’ve seen some pretty aggressive forms of it, so I can’t deny fans’ tendencies to “mine” Oppa. When it can be pulled off with just tongue-in-cheek fun, I don’t see the harm.. It’s only when it gets aggressive and nasty that I think a line’s been crossed somewhere. I think the more passion there is in the picture, the less people are able to behave in reasonable ways. Which is a pity, since reasonable fangirling is a total thing – at least to me! 😉