Informant’s self-description: “Both my parents were born in Canada but both my parents on either my mom or my dads side were born in China or in Wales so I identify pretty equally with both of those cultural backgrounds. Even though I didn’t really get a chance to get to know any of my grandparents because they died when I was very little. So I don’t really know that much of the cultural background from those sides but I would like to explore it sometime. Mostly just Canadian though. Born and raised. Very Canadian. Obnoxiously so.
“I do a lot of sports. I grew up playing – my mom wouldn’t let me. I tried to play hockey but she wouldn’t let me. She told me my brain hadn’t finished growing and I would damage it by falling down skating on the ice. And I could start playing when I was twelve. But the thing is is that by the time you’re twelve, you’re already so far behind on the skating skills that catching up then becomes a mess and its not even worth starting, which she probably knew. So I never played hockey. I played soccer and softball and volleyball growing up and I did gymnastics for a while until my mom made me pick between that and soccer. I chose soccer. I’m also into fandom culture and general nerdiness. I’m in the cinema fraternity at USC. Also a social sorority somehow. I don’t know how that happened. ”
Aside from sports, you said – fandom, let’s talk about fandom. What fandoms are you a part of?
Harry potter, Lord of the Rings, those are the two that are omnipresent. Except Lord of the Rings is picking up because of The Hobbit stuff. And then Marvel, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, definitely kind of the BBC – actors, whole sort of BBC-ness. Oh and the Hunger Games.
How do you participate in fandom?
I’m definitely more of an observer than an active participator. I’m not one of the people that writes fanfic, or does fanart. It depends how much time – usually I just scroll past it on Tumblr and absorb it. But there’s a couple fandom-specific blogs that I’ll follow. Like for certain ships.
What are ships?
When one watches a show, and one feels an intense investment in a couple of characters – sometimes friendship but more often romantic possibilities – it’s called a “ship,” it’s short for relationship. So when someone says “I ship that,” what they’re meaning to say is “I want them to be together forever and have beautiful babies.”
And the term for someone who ships two characters is a “shipper.” I can go all into the different kinds of ships.
There’s called a “one true pairing” or an OTP is what it’s referred to on the internet, which is someone’s main hardcore “I will ship these two characters ‘til the end of the days” or “I will go down with this ship” – it’s kind of like one of the things that is often heard and thrown around on the internet. For me it’s Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff from the Marvel universe – Black Widow and Hawkeye. I love them, I think they’re fantastic. They are also somewhat canon depending on the universe and timeline, but that’s a whole other story. They would be my OTP.
There’s also a broTP, so that’s two characters that you really appreciate their friendship but you don’t want romantic things for them. For me- Capt. America and Black Widow or Steve and Natasha – they’re a brotp because I think their friendship is fantastic but I don’t want them to get together romantically.
There’s also multishipping, when someone wants a character to be with whoever, and there’s also the noTP – two characters for which you hate the mention of that ship. That’s some of the lingo.
Some blogs on Tumblr are devoted to particular ships. It’s an archive of fanfic, fanart, fanmixes and playlists, or headcanons – which is something that could happen between the characters that isn’t clarified in canon – so it’s also not counteracted by the canon of the story. So it’s going beyond the material but not creating an alternative universe to make it something that could be true.
Let’s go back to shipping –
Is your fandom activity all online or do you talk to people about it in person? Have you ever used the phrase “I ship that” in a standard conversation?
Not necessarily in a standard — I do, but it’s with friend who I know who are also a part of that community. So people like Thalia, because we talked about TV shows, and that turned into talking about Marvel, and that turned into talking about Clint and Natasha, and then that turned into – we both are obsessed with anything relating to Avengers Tower, and love hearing about headcanons of what shenanigans may go on at Avengers Tower. [lists examples] It’s generally something that’s more so online unless I already know the person is interested in that kind of thing. If I know they’re interested in that kind of thing it becomes a very large part of our friendship.
Informant neglected to mention the term “OT3,” which is also a very popular shipping term, and means what you probably think it does.