Real person shipping is a very sensitive topic. After all, it’s about people who really exist, not just characters.
In general, I’m not a fan of RPS; most of the times it’s just plain weird to think about the private life of a person who’s really walking the streets out there somewhere, and who we know next to nothing of. Certainly I wouldn’t want to be a celeb and have people then write fanfics about me and my life. Even worse when it is adult material that is written.
Nevertheless I do admit that I’ve read RPF occasionally back when I didn’t know yet what it is and I was simply curious. I was so lucky as to find some really good stories, plus they were about – in this case – a couple where I really believed that these two could be together in real life as well, seeing how they acted around each other, like, all the time, as you could see on numerous behind the scenes and interview videos.
I daresay that though they never came together officially, I would at least bet that they were into each other, even if they never consumed these feelings. We all know how we sometimes develop feeling for people we work with or we are friends with, but still never act on these feeling, because it could and would be wrong, for whatever reasons. That doesn’t mean that the feelings aren’t there, even for a short while. I think it was the same with these two; I always believed that, and they themselves made it believable all the more.
Recently, however, I feel RPF/RPS and the lack of respect towards real persons (celebrities) is getting worse and turning out to be a huge problem. When I enter into a new fandom, I also check out what stories are there, since I’m always looking for new and good reading material. I’m terribly picky when it comes to my reading material, and what others deem as ‘good’ isn’t necessarily in my opinion.
So lately I was looking for THOR fanfics, and maybe also AVENGERS fics.
I’ve never been a slasher, unless there were obvious hints in the show or the movie. I don’t mind Jack/Ianto shipping and like(d) them as a couple, although I’m a Jack/Gwen shipper. Other than that, I only have one slash couple I even write for, and that is Alfred/Herbert from the musical version of Roman Polanski’s THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS. I don’t ship what are only close friendships, love/hate relationships or teacher/student ones, like John and Rodney from SGA, Chakotay and Paris from VOY, or Hotch and Reid from CM. And yes, there is quite a number of stories for all of those, many of them adult rated.
But, I can ignore those stories I don’t want to read. If people want to write it and others read it (and they are being read, if you check the number of reviews for them…) – good, everyone should do to their liking.
When it comes to RPF and it being slash AND adult… then I think this is way beyond artistic freedom. It’s bad when characters that don’t have homosexual preferences are made gay (mostly it’s men). But it’s way worse when same is done with real life actors who are by no means gay (or lesbian). This is one of the things really bothering me.
Sexual orientation is a complicated thing, even nowadays. It’s very sad how intolerant people still are, even in the 21st century. Many people need a long time to admit that they are homosexual; and if you see how difficult it is for people who aren’t watched by the public eye, how hard has it to be for celebrities of any kind?
The more people ship RL ‘couples’ – m/m or f/f – and write fics about them, the more others will wonder if there might just be some truth to it. Then videos and interviews/words are analyzed, and the rumor is strewn that those could have some interest in each other. And what happens then? Right. People are asked whether they are gay in interviews and such. Because it’s like a wildfire, going around in circles that becomes bigger and bigger until even those people who’d never thought of the possibility before start to believe it.
Lately, Tom Hiddleston stated in an interview:
There’s a lot of bromantic love going on between Hiddleston and Hemsworth.
– talking about himself and Thor actor Chris Hemsworth. All those RPS out there must have had a field day with this declaration. But Tom was only talking about their friendship. They must have grown close in their weeks and months of filming together, and they obviously get along very well. But Chris is married and has a newly born child, and Tom also shows no signs of being interested in men – not romantically or sexually, anyways.
Yet on sites like AO3 appear stories that not only deal a lot with a romantic/sexual relationship between Chris and Tom – no, even Chris’ wife and his child are part of it. Like a big patchwork family, and in their everyone-on-everyone (pun intended) we probably can be lucky that at least the child is spared (excuse the sarcasm).
Then there’s something else I saw when I was looking for – !!! – fandom fanfic, and *not* RPF: Rape fics. Seriously? Good grief, people, what’s wrong with you out there? There are already enough rape fics about characters that not always have a right to exist. But with real people??? That totally unsettled me and my world view. How can one even think of something like that? Can someone please explain that to me?!
Over the years, I’ve read a lot, some things I wasn’t exactly comfortable reading, but I did it nevertheless out of curiosity and to know what is out there, what people write. Except for squicky stuff – Mpreg, for example – there isn’t much out there anymore I don’t know. I can say with a good amount of certainty that it’s pretty hard to shock me. A few years back I was in a writer community that introduced me to the dark side also, meaning, the lovely webmiss explained some things to me, thankfully, so I couldn’t walk in on things that would never be unseen again.
So I thought I knew enough to be able to just turn away when it was necessary, without being shaken too much. Guess I was wrong there.
RPS is fine, as long as it stays in the head. I guess we’ve all done that before when we saw a couple from a TV show or movie together in an interview, on a con or wherever, and it was obvious that they get along very well. Often you just have these thoughts because they seem to have also great off-screen chemistry where it is on-screen already fantastic, or they just cute together – you wish them happiness if they could find it together.
RPF is fine as well – as long as it stays in the teen-rated regions (max) and only includes behind the scenes or friendship stories. Okay, so you have these ideas and want to get rid of them. Do it. But for heaven’s sake, let them be the persons they are. And not some bisexual polygamists with some serious (in every sense) rape experience.
Have respect! These are real people, after all.