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Posted by exocomebaek AKP STAFF 25 days ago

[OP-ED] How shipping culture can be toxic in a fandom

'Shipping' is not something new in 2019 since it has been around for years. However, before I make my point, I will try to give a specific definition of the term shipping. Shipping refers to the act of enjoying a relationship shared by two (or more) people. Shipping could be for platonic friends when we actually find someone’s friendship cute, or it could be used for couples when we think two people’s romantic relationship is adorable. In K-pop, it is common for fans to ship idols together, either with idols from other groups or with idols from within their own groups. There are many famous ships, some of the most popular including Vkook (V and Jungkook from BTS), Chanbaek (Chanyeol and Baekhyun from EXO), Moonsun (Moonbyul and Solar from MAMAMOO). While some fans ship them as just friends, others see the relationship shared by some idols as something that is more than platonic. In this article, I want to start a discussion on why people ship idols, whether it should be okay and why shipping can actually end up becoming toxic in certain fandoms.

To start off, I would like to look into the reasons behind why people ship K-pop idols together. As mentioned, people ‘ship’ idols together simply because they find the relationship that idols have with one another cute. And while some people may read their relationship as friends, other fans might feel that there is more than what meets the eye. The reason why people find a strong need or want to ‘ship’ people, in general, could stem from all of our innate want for love and want to be loved. The reason why we like to ‘ship’ people together is that we see the relationship shared by two idols as something desirable and something that we also crave and want to emulate in our own lives. So in my personal opinion, I do not think that there is anything wrong to actually ‘ship’ people together, be it in a platonic or romantic way as there is nothing wrong with finding a relationship shared by two people cute.

With this being said, although I don’t see there being anything wrong with shipping two idols together, I do feel that there are limits to what should be regarded as acceptable or not. I believe that fans should be able to ship idols with whoever they like, as long as they do not impose and force their beliefs onto the idols themselves. An example of this would be when a shipper of Xiumin and former member Luhan of EXO actually confronted Xiumin at the airport and questioned him on whether Luhan was good in bed since she thought they were together. In this situation, Luhan was reportedly very upset with the fan’s question, which only he understood since it was quickly asked in Chinese. As an EXO fan, I think that it is just plain rude to ask a member that. While I find it okay to ship whichever members you like together, crudely asking members about it or confronting them about it is definitely not okay, especially when the members are directly affected by the beliefs that you impose on them.

Moving on to my next point, another harmful and toxic culture that is created because of shipping would be when fans actually fight because of the difference in ships. There are often fights on whether a ship is ‘real’ or not. Some fans ship members within a group, while others ship idols across groups and due to disagreements in which ‘ship’ is more ‘real’, there are often arguments that break out. In this, both groups of fans are to blame, because it takes two hands to clap. While there is nothing wrong shipping idols together, it is wrong to attack people just because they don’t believe in the same ship as you, especially when the attacks become very personal. I personally think that everyone should have the right to ship whoever they want, as long as they are respectful about it.

To add on, there is one more aspect of shipping culture that I do not understand and feel the need to comment on. While there are often disagreements between straight ships and LGBT ships, arguments often break out when people try to make points about who is being a bad fan for shipping whichever particular ship. I have often seen shippers of straight ships argue about how it isn’t right to assume the sexuality of their idols, and that is the reason why LGBT ships should not be shipped. However, I would just like to point out that when the argument of it not being right to assuming our idol’s sexuality is thrown out, neither side of the fandom is right. This is because when fans ship their idols with other straight idols, they are also technically assuming their idols’ sexuality, assuming that they are straight. This in turns contradicts their own argument. By saying it is wrong to assume that an Idol might be a part of the LGBT community, it shows these people see that there is being a problem being LGBT. I don’t think it is right that the people who are shipping their idols with other idols think that it is okay as long as the other idols are the opposite gender while they attack people who ship their idols with other idols of the same sex because it frankly just shows how homophobic these people are.

Lastly, there are also fans who don’t ship their idols with anyone and the reason why they don’t could be because they are fans of the idol’s music rather than them as people, or they don’t care that much of their personal lives/ feel like their personal lives should not be speculated on. While some of these fans are very chill about their idols’ dating lives and what goes on in the fandom, we have some on the extreme opposite end. I have seen some fans who trash other fans who ship their idols with other people, going as far as to write lengthy, personal rude hate comments and threats to fans that ship their idols with other people. While I can understand the want of some fans to have their idol’s personal life respected, I feel that there is a better way to handle such situations, rather than to scold and insult other fans for shipping their idols with other people. Idols, at the end of the day, are celebrities who we as fans, feel a form of parasocial interaction and a fake connection to. It is because of this connection that we feel towards them that we can’t help but speculate about what they do when the cameras are not on them. I feel that as long as fans do not take their shipping speculations further than just appreciation posts of their favorite ship on social media or thoughts that they share with their friends, it is alright for them to ship whoever they want. These wars that are started by fans on either side of the shipping fandom actually promote a very toxic culture where people trash and hate on one another just because of their personal beliefs on who their favorite idols should end up with. I think as long as the Idols themselves are not personally affected by these ‘ships’, there should not be a need to start any fan wars because of this.

To put it short, as a fan, should it be acceptable to ship idols? In my own opinion, yes, love should always be celebrated, whether it is love between friends in a friendship or between a couple in a relationship. However, we should all realize that the way we interpret a relationship might differ from the way another person interprets a relationship and we should learn how to respect that. I think it is okay to run a blog supporting your favorite ship, look at memes about it, read fanfiction about it. However, we just have to keep in mind that this, at the end of the day, is a part of our idol’s private and personal lives and while we can speculate and fantasize, it should never come to a point when we place our beliefs on them and force it upon them or on other people. As long as fans all learn to respect their idols’ personal space and respect one another’s opinions, shipping will not be a negative or toxic thing. In conclusion, shipping is actually a celebration of love, so perhaps we should carry that celebration into the way we treat one another in the fandom and respect one another regardless of what we ship and don’t ship.

  1. (Bangtan Boys) BTS
  2. EXO
  3. MAMAMOO
46 28,921 Share 81% Upvoted

46

nq16 25 days ago 5
25 days ago

this also applies to shipping culture between 2 different fandoms. male and female idols can't even interact normally without dating rumors. fans are always watching and even small glances are interpreted as "love". i see so many shipping videos on youtube saying its cute without realising it damages their popularity and can send hate to both idols.

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6

SoShiStan 25 days ago 1
25 days ago

this.

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dowuz (Banned) 24 days ago 0
24 days ago

Comment has been deleted

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RebeccaB 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

Totally true. But try to say this to them...... like less they go to insult you!

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jessydmorgan (Banned) 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

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16

Cheeselouise 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

I do not ship real people romantically, I think it's weird. I never encountered it until I started following BTS. For someone like me, who loves the members and doesn't want to focus on who they're sleeping with, the fact that a huge portion of the fanbase ships members together romantically is distressing to me - you can't get away from it. For the most part, I can deal with it now, but what bothers me the most is the fact that so many shippers sexualize their relationships and share erotic art and fanfic on Twitter, which anyone, including BTS & their families, can easily find. Some even send that stuff to them. There's no way you can twist something like that around to make it seem like it's okay - because it's not. When people stop treating these idols as real people and start treating them as characters or sex objects to mix and match with each other, that's when I get angry. If the "good" shippers who respect the idols would do more to address the inappropriate things problematic shippers did instead of condoning it or sweeping it under the rug, then I'd be more accepting of shippers. Until then, I can't stand them.

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13

changminbaby 25 days ago 3
25 days ago

i agree that shipping can be toxic the reason is that people dont take it lightly they truelly believe their ship to the point they cross the line so if there is any girl near their idol or if he is dating then they will keep writing hateful comments because they want their ship to be real also when it blow up they make it awkward for the 2 guys , for example larry shippers, i was a fan of 1D and because of them harry and louis rarely talk even louis said that shippers ruined his friendship with harry, he cant stand near him without fans screams he have a baby already and still shippers are believing he is in love with harry and any gf he had get a lot of hate, he snapped in twitter and said he is straight but still they said the company told him to say that,i got sick with all those things honestly why people make it this toxic i think the bigger the ship is the more toxic it is.

some vkook shippers are showing some of those signs already, like hating jimin for no reason or going to jikook videos to say that their ship is the real one not the other ship, guys dont cross the line please im saying this to everyone

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bright_light 25 days ago 1
25 days ago

Yes imagine how they feel if nothing is going on between eachother and they see one another as family and then seeing people say they're in a romantic relationship, that's got to be a weird and awkward situation

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8

changminbaby 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

yeah and then they cant talk to each others freely because of fans reaction. it really hurts to see a friendship get ruined because of ships

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0

AllenRHarding (Banned) 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

Comment has been deleted

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8

Sassysly555 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

I'm old, i dont get this generation of shipping lol I also find it very cringy and embarrassing. Jin from bts was asked to kiss another member from an interview who told him "that's what fans want to see" Jins reaction was exactly how I felt. He seemed uncomfortable and even said "why must I do everything the fans want" that to me right there just goes to show how the idols truly feeling about this Male on Male shipping. I honestly think shipping starter from fans who would rather see their idols with other Male idols for fear they would actually find partners with women, and these fans are delusional thinking that their idols will one day be theirs lol I've encountered some fans to this extent on many fandoms, and its scary. I honestly dont care if members are gay, straight or a sexual. I just hope the fans would give them a break and let them love and live life to its fullest extent. I dont know why these fans want to damage their idols by keeping them single, fatherless, motherless, wifeless, husbandless and not having families of their own one day? Fans like this are very selfish and childish especially those who still think their idols are virgins lol

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LalaLus_Bangg 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

I mostly agree with you however I don't really agree with the explanation of why we ship. I simply ship some idols for their behaviour with eachother and chemistry. It is true that I enjoy doing so but I don't think I wish to experience the same thing or do I crave it.

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5

eriohadae 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

I understood this before but you really brought out some more in-depth information about the whole 'shipping' thing. I hate how netizens feel the need to pick an idol apart and know every detail about their personal lives when it should stay just as that, personal. It really bothers me knowing that the idols might not even be able to be themselves (especially in front of the cameras with their own band-members) without the fear that someone will say something wrong and totally out of balance.

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4

Karla7 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

I think shipping is completely toxic all around and it should end. I think it’s incredibly disrespectful to romanticise or sexualise friendships between members in groups. It seems to me that people build up delusional fantasies and people that ship have too much time on their hands

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4

yonyulsic 25 days ago 1
25 days ago

some people take ships way too seriously like for example KaiSoo. Kai dated two girls now, so obviously he's straight. but noooo! KaiSoo fans hated the idea. and some Exo-l started bashing him and Krystal. it happened to Baehyun when he dated Taeyeon. they got a lot of hate. people needs to chill out1

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Friendlyquark 23 days ago 0
23 days ago

Well, let's not assume. He could be bisexual. Which is NOT me shipping him with anyone, because I really, truly, don't care who he dates. I just wanted to point out that sexuality is non-binary. :)

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SandraScarlet 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

I don't have any ships in K-pop. Nothing more than sisterhood brotherhood ships. Nothing that I go around telling people, this isn't like anime. I mean many idols prolly had a glimpse of these shipping posts. Think how weird/frustrating/awkward it would be if you got into a relationship rumour, when it actually doesn't exist.

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4

Notmykl 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

Shipping real people who aren't in an established dating relationship is stupid. If you want to ship tv, movie or book characters go for it but don't do it to living human beings. To many people start believing their fantasies and that's when they harass the singers/actors and their loved ones. They act as if they KNOW these two people, be them opposite or same sex, are in a dating/sexual relationship and demand the actors/singers to admit it. It's harmful and hurtful to those that are accused and to their spouses/significant others.

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4

Blue1 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

Back in the days people lost their minds and were obsessed with skinship and "bromance" over Super Junior's members. Also happened with Kat-Tun (Kamenashi Kazuya and Akanishi Jin)...

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btsjimin_and_ar 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

I definatly agree with this. The whole shipping can go way to far. Now, do i ship certian idols? Yes. But that doesnt mean that i have to go find people who dont agree with me and argue, or rudely ask about their relationship. That is none of our buisness. Many idols already are tired of not being able to go anywhere becuase of sasaengs and others that take pictures of them, imagine what it would be like if every glance at your friend could be catagorized as romantic love? It's fine to talk about or share pictures of your ship with friends or in a chatroom designed for that, but dont go pushing your opinions on others! =^.,.^=

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4

bright_light 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

Personally i'm not into this shipping thing and frankly majority take it way to far and for those who are into this focus on every little interaction their ship has even a little glance at eachother in their mind it's a sign their dating, then they start fighting with other shippers that their ship are real lovers, it's ridiculous. In the end whoever my boys are dating i'll support them

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4

Exopower 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

it is all about love and respect for all people no matter who they

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3

YokoNom 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

I think shipping idols is just a waste of time and just damages their images than helping them.

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3

softkaiuwu 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

I'm not shipper but if you like ship idols in a FRIENDLY way then that's fine I have no problem with it but when it comes to the point (which on instagram omg I want to burn my eyes) where it gets extremely like sexual and 18+ it's just.......weird like, ew go take your "fantasies" somewhere else

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Not_interested 24 days ago 0
24 days ago

Some fans are just too much. Keep your imagination to yourself.

During GOT7 Chicago fanmeeting one fan wore "JB fucks Jinyoung in the ass" T-shirt! Other fans kicked her off before high touch event. Imagine JB and Jinyoung seeing that shirt. So awkward.

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2

NatureGirl 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

The shippers that are writing erotic fanfics, making up sexual relationships between two male Idols are fans that are really just perverts. I think it's interesting that in a culture where LGBT is not supported by most citizens that young fans will make up ships as if the idols are gay. I'll bet those idols who have fans that do that are hurt by it and and disappointed in those fans. I've always thought the BTS song 'Fake Love' was written about fans having fake love for them, like the fans are creating romantic or sexual ships between members just because they smile at or touch each other or want to hang out together to do fun things together. I like BTS and Monsta X music, the members are all incredibly talented. But I think they spend way too much time with cameras filming them. It isn't fair that every aspect of their life is being lived so publicly. It's too much like that movie The Truman Show. But I guess the idols themselves have to decide when they've had enough and make their management company pull back on the constant intrusion to their lives.

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wendie11 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

Well said!!! This is what I have been telling others as well. Some people take shipping too seriously. And I appreciate when you said "fans feel a form of parasocial interaction and a fake connection to (idols). It is because of this connection that we feel towards them that we can’t help but speculate about what they do when the cameras are not on them." I've been looking for a way to explain to my 13 years old sister about how her obssession with BTS isn't healthy. Dont get me wrong I'm a huge kpop nerd. Been for the past 14 years. However, you got to know your limit. Shes even said if theres no more BTS, I'll probably kill myself. Like wow~ Whenever they're on a break ~ shes like a zombie. Always bored, sad, sighing. She has no other hobby. Its kind of sad really. I feel like most young kpop fans fell to see or yet to realise that there is more to life then just idols. Its fun to ship them, to listen to them argue with each other, to watch them dance and sing etc, I get it! But they got to know the limit. Yes you know them, to them you're their fan but truthfully they don't know you on a personal level to answer such personal questions like "is so&so a good kisser?" These fans are imposing their fantasy/imagination on others.

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numberoneexofan 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

I ship this article

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2

yoongzizlife 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

You know, I honestly thought that this was going to be a whole thing on why we shouldn't ship two people together... Like you said, those people that start fights because of it? But you have defied my expectations. This is a great article, and I'm glad I read it.

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mingyulovesguys 24 days ago 0
24 days ago

I don't really ship people but I'm fine with romantic shipping AS LONG AS IT'S DONE IN PRIVATE. Write your fanfictions and make your edits or whatever, but the minute you bring it up to an idol or try to make members kiss is when it crosses the line

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summerbreezy 25 days ago 1
25 days ago

All the reasons I will never belong to any fandom or fan sites. I'm in my 20's not as young as most on the fan sites and the reason I know that most, not all, are young is reading the content written about others reveals the age mentality of the writers. I would think in this day and age we would have moved on from being so cruel and toxic towards each other but sadly that's not the case. The argument that others try to present that the young people saying such awful things about others, well it's because they're young and will grow out of it. I say it's BS. How do young people get to be so mean and non caring about others and the stuff I have read is coming from every part of the world not just certain countries. Blows my mind some of the things said about people.

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RebeccaB 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

Also they are many young teens that start being fans of kpop, they are bad influenced for this behavior

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Daxel 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

Damn, a fan really asked Xiumin that? Whew chilay.

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ShhItsChae 21 days ago 0
21 days ago

Shipping can be so bad, especially when they push for it to be more then friends. When you consider that Korea is still fining its feet with LGBTQ placing two artists together has the potential to be very damaging to them.

I think a lot of fans see interactions and read more into then there really is. They forget that the idol industry is a bizarre micro-society that can draw parallels with boarding school, prison and the army. If you place anyone together from a young age in a high stress environment they will have to form strong bonds to survive. The other people in their group become their family, friends and support network. Honestly, I would be more worried for an Idol's mental health if they didn't have these close relationships.

So ship all you want, but remember they are people and not your play things.

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Elf_lover 21 days ago 0
21 days ago

I don't really believe in shipping whether the couple be real or just fan's "wishful thinking." Some idols such as Eunhae have expressed anger in being shipped by ELFS, but some still do it. What I get angry with is fans' trying to "hook up" an idol couple just because they "look cute together." I see it all the time on IG where fans' will tag an idol in another one's post. Some fans look for any clue they could be dating, but often it's just a case of "wishful thinking" and start making up ship names. I think if a couple are meant to be then so be it, but without all the ship names.

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Friendlyquark 23 days ago 0
23 days ago

I think shipping of idols is toxic period. I have no problem shipping fictional characters, but human beings should have their privacy respected. I cannot imagine how awful it must feel to these idols when some fan puts up a video analyzing every look, touch, gesture, or smile, they've ever shared with anyone ever and comes up with some theory about what it all means. No one knows what is happening when the cameras are off and it's none of our business anyway. It's none of our business and it's incredibly intrusive to publicly speculate about it. How would these fans feel if someone was making videos about them and their friends? Why would anyone ever do something like that anyway? If someone has not come out publicly and announced a relationship then it's private and should be kept that way. Spend time on your own personal life and leave the idol's personal lives as just that.

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MyWorldIsKPop 23 days ago 0
23 days ago

I might get a lot of hate for this, but we're here to share our personal opinions: I do ship VKook, BUT I don't post anything about their "loving relationship." I have seen videos that shows why VKook is real and they started convincing me, too. Although, I kind of believe that, I don't send FFs of their "romantic" relationship. So, yes, I ship some of the members, but I don't post things about them that makes them feel uncomfortable. I'm the type of shipper that doesn't say anything about the ships to avoid things like this. To all those shippers out there, please don't send anything that any KPop idol that they'll feel uncomfortable about, especially if they tell you not to.

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courtney86 24 days ago 0
24 days ago

Shipping culture is just plain ridiculous.

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malour 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

Shipping doesn’t even sound like a correct English term for this fandom description. Sounds made up and very “ghetto”. Why not just say a fan approves or disapproves or just a bunch of stalkers...lol..smh~

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RebeccaB 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

I always had said this shipping culture is really toxic. But nobody agreeded me. It the same when their fans of two idols (man and women) or actors try to all cost make believe that they are dating or have something. They can insult, fight, ........ they don't understand that is to want say them who can date or not. It's the same that that the fans don't want to date!!



Somes idols have said that disgusted them this behavior. For exemple Donghae and Eunhyuk have said that disgusted them too much that linked them like a gay couple and Key have said that disgusted too much the 'fanfics'. I don't remember well the words he used for named it maybe 'this revolting pornography they invent about us'

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iBangChan 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

someone needs to tell these idiots to stop gay shipping someone who they dont know the sexuality of or someone who has flat out said he is straight

these guys go on tv and say straight out that they like girls but when i go on tumblr its "he's so gay. x member and x member are in love, who is top or bottom"

so many of my favorite idols got ruined by idiot fujoshi's gaying them up every second

now i don't befriend people who ship or write fics about member ships. i wont even talk to them

all they do is start telling me how gay everyone i like is, when they really have no idea about the sexuality or personal life of the person. then that person comes out dating a girl and they look stupid as they are

plus i think its gross for them to consistently warp normal/wholesome relationships and put a whole lot of weird obsessive focus on them. its unhealthy

i hate nasty ass shippers


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themightymoron 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

not every stupid thing is "cultural". this shipping this is just plain stupid through and through

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-1

mipcy 25 days ago 0
25 days ago

Shipping culture while it can be great some times and bring people together, it can also be extremely toxic especially within the Army fandom with Taekook and Kookmin and their constant hate on each other on twitter. While we're on a similar topic, I wish someone could post something extreme skinship in kpop and queerbaiting.

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-6

Stopudelulu (Banned) 25 days ago 1
25 days ago

this exoflop fan writer used bts' pic for clout. You know that if u used exoflop's no one will open the article

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-2

Joshua_Menon 23 days ago 0
23 days ago

Ur exactly correct, my dear mentor....This rogue thick faced Exo-L mmbr used VKook as subject matter simply to lure readers to check on her article. I almost swooned in da midst of reading her article as it's turned out to be monotonous & insipid at da length of a novel...LOL.... She doesn't knw hw to make a creative article. I wonder where she copied or xeroxed certain lines like her Oppa did recently. Exo plagiarise da 'Love Sick' music by One Direction(OD)'s members. Ever since it became a legal matter, Exo & SM agreed to settle outta court by giving OD a portion of royalty every time da back dated moronic Exo-L stream/download 'Love Sick'. Wat a joke!!!


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