Shipping, Fantasy vs Reality and the Dark Tetrad

Reading Time: 2 minutes (ish)

I recently discovered a really strange phenomenon called Shipping. This is the creation of fantasy relationships between celebrities that may have been in films together or on TV together. For instance there are a group who call themselves Damie Shippers. They have created a fantasy world where Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. from Fifty Shades of Grey, are really trying to be a couple. This is despite Dornan being happily married to Amelia Warner. They are not the only ones, they just happen to be the ones I have explored!

On the surface there is nothing harmful about this, fan-fiction is nothing new. In fact Fifty Shades of Grey started life as fan-fiction. The reason I am writing this is to explore a little of the mentality that I have seen in their actions. Harmlessly chatting about what could be is fine, but there are groups that seriously take it to an extreme. They constantly talk about how much they hate the partner of one half of their “ship”. They express wishes of violence or misery for them. At times it can be nasty shit as well!

Somewhere there is a breakdown between fantasy and reality for them, similar to the concerns many have about video gamers. Whilst they seem to understand that what they are talking about is pure fantasy, they seem to think that excuses very real nastiness towards people.

This seems similar to certain disruptor behaviour that I have witnessed in games and gamification. Because the activity is seen as fantasy or not real life, behaviours that may not be acceptable in the real world, some may feel is fine in the fantasy world. Of course, it is still reprehensible – but they can’t see that.

It reminds me of the Dark Triad / Tetrad.

This is a group of psychological traits that are very negative and destructive.

  • Sadism: Taking pleasure in causing pain to others
  • Narcissism: Egotism, lack of empathy and an exaggerated sense of self-importance and worth
  • Machivellianism: Self interested use and manipulation of others
  • Psychopathy: Antisocial, selfish, impulsive and remorseless

There has been research into the types of people who enjoy internet trolling of the sort you may some corners of gamification and actually shipping. The conclusion was that trolls strongly displayed sadistic traits. I have also seen quite a lot of narcissism as well, with people claiming that they are privy to information that no one else is.

My advice, keep clear of these people as they will bring nothing but harm to those around them. In gamification, find ways to filter them out or control them!


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4 Responses

  1. Jacob Jacob says:

    Never heard of Shipping but the article was insightful. There are people in society (and especially online) that show a lot of these psychological traits, but I’d never picked up on it because I didn’t know what to look for.
    Thanks for the good read,

    • Glad you liked it. I had never heard of it before – but it just appeared on my radar after my wife saw some really heinous comments about an actor she likes! It was a fascinating if not slightly depressing adventure!

  2. rowaner rowaner says:

    Hey, just wanted to let you know that that isn’t specifically shipping. Shipping is mostly about relationships in fiction, e.g. thinking Hermione should be with Harry instead of Ron, that’s shipping Harry/Hermione. What you’re talking about is RPF (real person fiction) shipping .

    And yeah, it is basically treating a celebrity’s persona as fiction. There are some RPF shippers that get pretty obsessed or nasty — the same way gossip magazines or stalkers can be; but the majority of RPF shippers try to keep any shipping discussion as far away from the real celebrities as possible.

    Anyway, I’m glad that research is being done and the law is taking taking trolls seriously, as seen with recent arrests of trolls making death threats on the internet etc.

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Andrzej Marczewski
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Gamification Consultant. I love to write about it, talk about it and bore people to death with it! If you really want to get to know me, check out the About page.

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