Anti-shipper

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Synonyms: anti, antis
See also: noromo, notp, ship war, shipper, anti-anti, Puriteen, Purity Culture in Fandom, Anti-fandom
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Anti-shipper is a fannish term that has been around since X-Files fandom in the 1990s,[1] but has taken on different meanings in different contexts. It generally refers to someone who opposes shipping or a certain pairing, which can be for various reasons. "Anti" is a related term that can indicate opposition to topics including or other than shipping.

History & Use

Anti-shipper was originally a synonym of Noromo, a term that developed in the 90s, meaning a fan who wanted Mulder and Scully's relationship (in canon or in fanfic) to be platonic.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy fandom in the early 2000s featured regular use of the term "Anti," but this term was applied broadly. The word anti often preceded a character name[2], narrative arc[3] or ship[4], to illustrate a fans dislike of that character, narrative or ship. It was also applied to fans engaged in anti-shipping behaviours (possibly as an insult), but these fans do not appear to have self identified as antis.[5]

Despite this, some of the arguments made by anti-shippers were very similar to moral arguments made on Tumblr over a decade later. Fans who opposed the pairing of Buffy/Angel often claimed that pairing was paedophilic, because Angel was 250 year old vampire and Buffy was 15/16 in season 1. Fans who opposed the pairing of Buffy/Spike often pointed to their violent interactions in canon and the abusive nature of the pairing.[6]

Anti-Ship Art and Groups on DeviantArt

DeviantArt had clubs and other groups dedicated to ship hate and used the label of Anti.

Starting in 2008, in Invader Zim fandom the Anti-ZADR-Club hosted contests to create Anti-ZADR art, each with a unique theme, such as Jhonen Vasquez (creator of Invader Zim) reacting to it. Another such group was anti-knuxouge, founded in 2004. There were many anti groups in the Sonic the Hedgehog fandom, such as Anti-Couple clubs A-F, Anti-Couple clubs G-P, Anti-Couple clubs Q-Z, etc.

Anti-ship art often showed the two characters of a pairing being revolted by each other, one being frightened of the other, or both of them engaged in violent acts against each other. Anti-ship stamps were also popular.[7]

There were also groups founded against certain types of ships in general rather than specific pairings. One group founded September 15, 2010 is titled Anti-Incest and has the motto: "Family is family, nothing more." This group was affiliated with a now-defunct group called Hetero-Pairings, which may or may not have been anti-yaoi. There were many anti-yaoi groups on DeviantArt. Many were fandom-specific, but others were more general, such as AntiYaoiFangirls, Down With Yaoi, or YaoiHatersFC, group "For artists above and against stereotyped art such as - yaoi, yuri, slash, hentai, mpreg, lolicon, and similar genres".

People against a certain ship would sometimes refer to themselves as Anti(Shipname). For instance, one anti-Shadamy stamp from 2010 has the description: "If your an Anti Shadamy then hope this pleases you"[8]. Another anti-Shadamy stamp posted in 2012 says to fav "if you're an anti Shadamy"[9]

Another concept on DeviantArt was the "anti-couple", pairing that contradicted another pairing and is posed as an alternative to it. For instance, The-Anti-Sonamy-Fans shared art of Sonally (Sonic x Sally) and Shadamy (Shadow x Amy), which are both anti-couples to Sonamy (Sonic x Amy) because they pair Sonic and Amy with other characters.[10]

A post from 2006 about "couple extremists" also complains of "anti people" and says they are both causing fandoms to "turn sour".[11]

Use on 2010s Tumblr

Beginning circa 2016 in Tumblr and DreamWidth fandom, anti-shipper (or just anti) has been used to describe fans who disapprove of a ship and its shippers because they believe the ship is problematic or morally wrong. Specifically, older shippers on these platforms started using and still use the term "anti-shipper" to describe fans who harass shippers for shipping "morally wrong" ships. Having a term to describe the harassers' ideology became important because fans feared that the harassment was causing a chilling effect on online fandom activity. The fans they identify as antis are more likely to be active on tumblr or twitter, not dreamwidth. However, as the conversation about the phenomenon continued, and as the phenomenon itself grew, typically younger fans in fandoms with a large anti-shipper presence became more likely to self-identify as "antis". These fans may or may not be harassing anyone and may or may not be the same fans that the dreamwidth crowd is complaining about.

The opposite of an anti is an anti-anti, sometimes also called a pro-shipper for simplicity's sake.

Judging whether a ship is problematic usually involves assessing whether the canon facts about the characters and their relationship to each other would be indicative of an unhealthy romantic relationship if the characters were real people. This can include incest, non-con, and what anti-shippers call "pedophilic" ships[12][13], among other ships they deem "unhealthy". Ships labeled "pedophilic" can include cases where there's a canon age gap between the characters, or a fan created a fanwork depicting an age gap with one character underage. Anti-shippers have also been mocked for incidents where a ship was labeled pedophilic because a fan drew ship fanart in which one character arguably looked underage maybe, or because the shipper is an adult whereas both characters are canonically teens, or because the shipper is an adult whereas the characters were teens at the start of canon (but grew up).

Classifying a ship rather than a particular fanfic as containing pedophilia is a novel framing in fanfiction fandom. Fanfiction can be set in the past, present, or future of the canon setting, and in AUs characters' relative ages along with other demographic information can be changed completely. It has been suggested that many antishippers are either new to fanfiction, or are not fanfiction fans at all.

Fail_Fandomanon was discussing the phenomenon as early as October 2015, but the term itself may have appeared later. See the Fail_Fandomanon wiki entry.[14] Closely tied to the concept of anti-shipper are "purity wank" and purity culture; see AO3 Content Discussion (2016).

Tumblr user wrangletangle relates the origin of Tumblr anti-shippers to the long-standing Tumblr etiquette of "don't tag your hate":

The “anti” problem arose because Tumblr has no functional community structure, meaning people started using the tags themselves to replace the communities from back on LJ. In that context, tagging a negative post with the tags that apply was making the posts show up in the only viable community structure, which was a violation of LJ etiquette (where communities were self-selecting and moderated). This was exacerbated by the lack of functional cut tags, so everything was all completely visible, and you had to scroll past every post in its entirety. The culture of “don’t post anti in the tag” was a social concept developed to deal with Tumblr’s non-functionality for fandom purposes.[15]

In March 2017 an anon on Fail_Fandomanon elaborated on this origin story, explaining that the antishippers were told go to their own anti[ship] tag, which they did, and where they only interacted with like-minded people and therefore ended up radicalizing each other.[16]

In February 2018 tumblr user and anti-antishipper freedom-of-fanfic argued that anti is a self-designation. A reblogger commented, "I’ve seen people describe themselves as 'an anti' in the meaning 'I am against pedophilic/incestuous ships and I will actively argue against their right to exist on the internet'."[17]

Beliefs and Comments

Though all anti-shippers hold their own variable beliefs, in general anti-shippers from this context believe that "fiction does affect reality," and want to see certain types of content removed from website(s) or at least heavily hidden. This is in direct opposition with anti-antis, who believe fiction does not directly affect reality and that all ships are equally valid. For example, an anti may see the contentious furry fandom discourse surrounding baby-furs as something that needs monitoring. They may see artists who draw it as clear-cut pedophiles, and some may even believe baby fur art should be considered against the rules on sites such as Furaffinity and InkBunny, where such art is common and allowed. This is because they would see this type of art as harmful, and believe it directly aids in grooming children into believing NSFW of babies is okay, or that getting off on babies is okay. However, an anti-anti would disagree completely, believing that kink art of baby furries is acceptable, especially if the artists claims they create the art for "coping reasons."

Some anti-shippers create callout posts directed at artists who make art of or ship characters considered problematic, leading to many anti-antis to say that all anti-shippers are pro-harassment and doxxing. However, some surveys directed towards anti-shippers have responses from anti-shippers also disliking such behavior (see Discourse Demographics Survey (Voltron), where 57% of anti-shippers stated they discouraged harassment). Despite this, for many anti-antis anyone who self-labels as an anti-shipper is assumed to automatically be pro-harassment, and any support or perceived support of anti-shipper rhetoric seen as "harmful."

When a fan of HLVRAI named Metrix-86 was discovered to have a secret Twitter where he drew shota and non-con of the characters, he ended up with two written callout posts and a video essay on YouTube outing his actions. As a result, his art on Tumblr (and likely his ask box) received negative attention. Then, another example is SethPup, a popular furry who also had a secret Twitter, where he drew his fursona having sex with real puppies. He also had a callout post.

Anti-shippers see merit in callout posts, believing they help shame the behaviors that they see as deplorable and harmful to fandom communities or the world at large. Callout posts not only make others aware of an artist's actions, but sometimes also cause them to move off-site or go into hiding under a different name, giving the appearance of success for anti-shippers. However, a pro-shipper would see these "problematic" artists as defendable and sympathetic, with the act of making callout posts deplorable and akin to harassment. Pro-shippers also argue that harassing artists with problematic tastes and ships actually does little to help the community, and that in reality all that ends up happening is someone is harassed, with little positive affect.

Though there are a number of popular anti-anti blogs who speak out against harassment for any reason, there are also anti-anti blogs that are, ironically, run only as receipt blogs and callout post blogs for anti-shippers.[18] For example, one anti-shipper named bendyhatespaedos made it their goal to dox pedophiles on Tumblr. At a time, this included doxxing minors as young as 12 for shipping children together, which bendyhatespaedos did not deny. Bendy's argument was that "pedophilia is pedophilia, no matter how you stylize it," though they stated they no longer doxxed children. Anti-antis responded by harassing and making fun of bendyhatespaedos, told them to delete their blog, and said that they should utilize the authorities rather than take matters into their own hands.

Another example is of a 2020 occurrence between a 26 year old pro-shipper named MariAkutsu and a 13 year old anti-shipper named Kalmintz on Twitter. Mari had uploaded a NSFW fanfic of the children's cartoon Glitch Techs, and only indicated that it was a smutfic with the tag lemons, a phrase not many younger fandom members may know the meaning of. Kal ended up opening the fanfic and realizing it was NSFW too late. Being a minor and uncomfortable with an untagged smutfic that featured aged-up children close to her own age, she spoke out against it. The author, Mari, would then go on to make a 500 page long callout post for the 13 year old.[19] This may be one of the largest pro-shipping vs. anti-shipping issues to occur within the Glitch Tech fandom, and a good example of how even pro-shippers are not except from the behavior they usually abhor in anti-shippers.

Based on some of the back-and-forth from the "Anti Asshole Anti Archive" on Tumblr (since deleted), some members of both ideologies have been considered in poor taste and guilty of behavior considered to be harassment, despite both movements attempting to appear more "morally correct" than the other. For example, bendyhatespaedos was considered an "asshole anti" for doxxing a 12 year old. However, further up in the Asshole Anti Archive, the OP acknowledges that an anti-anti had begun posting explicit gore, maggots, and disturbing images on anti-shipper posts, which would have ultimately been seen by children.

Some argue that fans use the term "anti" derogatorily in order to shut down any discussion of morality in fanworks.[20] For example, an anti with this belief would see a stray pro-shipping comment on a discussion about pedophilic ships as being used to ignore the issues of grooming in fandom, simply waving them off as being an "anti," acting as the "fandom police," or pro-censorship. Some antis may even believe that, broadly, pro-shippers themselves are pedophiles who are in defense of grooming.[21]

The understanding of what an anti and an anti-anti are, and how modern fandom treats the discussion, vary across people and age. For example, a minor in the fandom may have different opinions on the issue than an adult. While some minors may be disturbed by pro-shipper art that features children (especially if drawn/written by adults), other minors may be pro-shippers themselves and see nothing wrong with it. Others may only object if such art is made explicit, but see general art as fine. Opinions from the Tumblr tag for "anti" and "anti shipper" are below.

Just so those “anti-anti” types who claim to be the real allies know, as a minor I have always felt so, so wary around you. You remind me so much of creepy people, especially men, who I have met IRL, and your attitude toward my objections about the work you produce (especially stuff involving adults and children and noncon) is flippant, disrespectful, and just plain shitty. If you’re a grown adult and think that consuming content that outright romaticizes p**ophilia is okay, take a long and hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why you’re facilitating a culture that tried to groom me.
Weaver-z, a minor, Jul 12, 2020
A friendly reminder

FICTION IS FICTION. FICTION IS FICTION. Fiction is FICTION. Fiction is Fiction. It’s not real. These fictional characters you fight tooth and nail for ARENT REAL.

People can write and consume whatever they want because: it’s NOT REAL.
Pro-shipper Flies-for-brains, Jul 14, 2020
the reason we bring up our trauma when it comes to ‘shipping discourse’ is because we want people to realize just how fuckin serious what they’re doing is. ‘it’s just fiction!!1!’ no, it’s just just fiction, it’s the romanticization/fetishization of childhood trauma that’s created for the sole purpose of getting off to.
Weirdcourse, Jan 15, 2020

Hoaxes about Anti-Shipper Violence

There have been at least two hoaxes directed at pinning anti-shippers as physically violent. The first hoax was a part of an actual violet act, but the subsequential fallout of the event spread untrue and uncredited theories. In 2017, an Undertale fanartist attending a con in Taiwan was gifted cookies by a stranger. The cookies turned out to have needles in them, and the artist was injured but lived, having not swallowed the needles. Though the artist has never actually stated anything about the motive of the stranger, and nothing came out of it in terms of police intervention, a rumor was spread online that it had been an anti-shipper who did it. This was because the artist in question shipped Chara and Sans from Undertale, a ship many anti-shippers abhor.[22] Even in 2017, many of those who discussed the event understood that the claims of the assailant being an anti-shipper were unconfirmed. Despite this, people continued to perpetuate the idea that it was an anti-shipper without proof, and the theory still persists, unfounded.

While the "fan's" motives are not 100% confirmed, people are assuming that the motive was hatred of a ship the artist draws. I have not looked into this myself so if anyone can confirm, that would be great, but I have heard that the artist draws Sans/Frisk art. I do not know the nature of this art (one person I've seen said that Frisk is aged up, but, again, that's not something I can confirm), but I have seen some people react violently online to ships of this nature, so I would not be surprised if that was the reason.
BabyCharmanderK, both confirming it was only a rumor but spreading the rumor regardless. May 11, 2017[23]

The second hoax was directed at the Voltron fandom. A hoax spread that someone had sent the Voltron team cupcakes full of glass because their ship wasn't canon.[22] There is little to no info on this hoax, and no news articles whatsoever, leaving most discussion of it within social media circles like Tumblr, Twitter, and Voltron's fandom wiki. What the non-canon ship was is unclear, leaving this hoax vague on whether or not it's about anti-shippers or pro-shippers. Depending on the ship it could be either, as some ships were disliked by anti-shippers while others were disliked by pro-shippers (see Voltron Controversies). Thus, who the hoax was about may depend on the perception of the viewer. The hoax resurfaced in 2021 due to someone on Twitter comparing MCYT's fans to Voltron fans.[24][25] Even in 2020 and 2021, people still believe the hoax.

Pretty much the voltron fandom put glass in cupcakes and fed it to the dream works crew. It was a mess. I don't know all the details, but I do know that it was just one of many attacks. It you look it up, you should be able to find more information.
Satmarie, 10/29/2020[26]
my favorite twitter lie is the "glass cupcake voltron cupcakes" where theres just not any sources on it ever happening apparently lol
TayGLisurfriend, Apr 2, 2021[27]

Example Ships

Examples of pairings where anti-shippers have been active:

Meta/Further Reading/Discourse

Anti-shipper Meta

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Meta either by anti-shippers or aligning with anti-shipper ideology.

  • Do Not Interact, a practice online of requesting that people of certain circles do not interact. "Proshippers DNI" is common.

Anti-Anti Meta

Meta either by anti-antis or aligning with anti-anti ideology.

Discussion Threads

Longer discussions between several people across various ideologies.

Academic Articles

References

  1. ^ Usage of the term on alt.tv.x-files on 11.08.96 in the discussion Scully and Pendrell? by Angela D. Troiani
  2. ^ Discussion on Stranger Things December 2004. References to "antis on the WB forum", and later anti-Cordy fans.
  3. ^ Evilistas been refered to as anti-redemptionists here and the site Big Bad Forever self identifies as anti-redemptionist here
  4. ^ Spike Anti-Redemptionistas on Dreambook. Comments include fan saying "I'm not anti B/A", and another fan referencing the"anti-Spuffy" page they created. Comments from 2002.
  5. ^ Comment by verbalgirl77 on Babble Board thread "Leather Pants and Other Cures for Fandom Diseases." May 18, 2003, accessed June 22, 2019.
  6. ^ Shipper/Board Wars.. Is one coming? comment by Dawny, July 2003.
  7. ^ Anti shippings collection in moli456's favourites
  8. ^ Anti Shadamy by Chichalovescandy, June 12, 2010
  9. ^ Anti-Shadamy by xXAngelTheHedgehogXx, January 19, 2012
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ We hate couple extremists! by AntiCoupleExtremists, December 4, 2006
  12. ^ For example: "pedophilic ships exist. for example gravity falls: shipping mabel with pacifica is fine. they are both 12 and as long as no one posts any nsfw thats fine. however, shipping mabel pines with gruncle stan is pedophilic and people who do are pedophiles." comment by odetcyou, archived, on 29 August 2016.
  13. ^ "jaytim is a perfectly fine ship. it doesn’t involve pedophilia or anything. jason is 21 and tim is 17 if im not wrong. even if there is a slight age gap doesnt mean that its pedophilia, okay? ive seen many people being mistaken over this and it’s not pedophilia. what is pedophilia is shipping bruce/batkids." tumblr post by frostedemma, 27 August 2016, with commentary in the reblogs. archived.
  14. ^ old wiki; dreamwidth backup
  15. ^ wrangletangle. Yes, you can tag your dark or triggery work on AO3 with the characters and ships that are in it, archived, posted to Tumblr 26 September 2016. 1,829 notes as of 19 October 2016.
  16. ^ "2017-03-07 comment". 
  17. ^ PSA: ‘antis’ named themselves. please stop accusing everyone else of naming them., Archived version reblogged by into-september, Feb 15th, 2018
  18. ^ theassholeantiarchive, Tumblr. (Accessed 10/6/2020)
  19. ^ This Grown Adult Made A 500 Page Callout On A 13-Year-Old, YouTube. Dec 30, 2020 (Accessed 6/2/2021)
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ Note: My fiancé is an anti-shipper and tends to be suspicious of the intentions of anyone defending art of children shipped with adults. To them, it looks like grooming under another name. (Patchlamb, 10/5/2020)
  22. ^ a b The Tumblr Needle Cookie Story, YouTube. Apr 1, 2021 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
  23. ^ A fan literally tried to murder a fanartist over... a ship?, Reddit. May 11, 2017 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
  24. ^ “mcyt has the worst fandom” the voltron fandom served the dreamworks, Twitter. Jan 23, 2021 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
  25. ^ i'm seeing a lot of mcyt slander, Twitter. May 9, 2021 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
  26. ^ Who want another season in Voltron?????, Voltron Fandom Wiki. 10/27/2021 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
  27. ^ my favorite twitter lie is the "glass cupcake voltron cupcakes", Twitter. Apr 2, 2021 (Accessed 7/4/2021)
  28. ^ See Your Vagina is a Bigot; My Vagina is a Saint.
  29. ^ archived, with 9,516 notes as of 27 August 2016
  30. ^ Anonymous asked: would you say that "antis" are a predominant US phenomenon? compiled by fiction-is-not-reality2, dated 2019-06-30, accessed 2019-07-25, archive.org version
  31. ^ archived, with 10,340 notes as of 27 August 2016.

Notes

  1. ^ Star Wars: The Last Jedi confirms that Rey is not Luke Skywalker's daughter, thus making her no relation to Kylo Ren.