Writing for Zap2it, we are too often exposed to the dark side of TV fandom and, more specifically, the dark side of “shipping.” If that word means nothing to you in relation to television, congrats, you probably don’t have a Tumblr. “Shipping,” as pertains to fan culture, describes desperately, badly wanting two characters on a television show (or two people in real life, as the case may be) to get together. It generally refers to wanting the characters to hook up romantically or sexually, but can occasionally refer to friendship, too.
The problems arise when “shippers” become a little too devoted to their particular favorite couple, and they begin to spend all of their waking hours fighting with other shippers, tweeting vitriol to showrunners, and emailing graphic, violent death threats to TV bloggers. (Our therapists are sick of hearing about that last one, y’all.)
And then there is the “Teen Wolf” fandom.
The dominant “ship” among fans, at least according to the “Teen Wolf” Tumblr tag and our inboxes, is “Sterek” — Stiles and Derek, two male characters on the show who many, many fans see as having some unresolved sexual tension and chemistry. So far, the two have only expressed romantic interest in women (though, there’s always subtext!) and though series boss Jeff Davis has taken the fans’ passion into consideration when writing for the two characters, there’s no sign (yet) that they’re going to get together any time soon.
But are the fans sending Davis hate mail or writing mean-spirited tweets to each other? No. They’re channeling their love for the show into something good.
The “Teen Wolf” Sterek Campaign started small — sending cookies to the set of “Teen Wolf” for Davis and the crew, because Davis once tweeted that he loves cookies. Sweet (literally)!
But they’ve moved on to bigger, better projects. Now, the Sterek Campaign has mobilized fans to raise money to adopt the wolf pack of Wolf Haven International in Davis’ name.
“It’s not so much about starting a movement as it is a chance to channel and encourage the activities we enjoy,” founders told MTV about their mission. “We create events to keep people invested in the show and in contact with the other fans. Any fan group can do this, but perhaps we have been so successful because we are motivated by our love for ‘Teen Wolf’ and deep respect for the cast and crew that are involved in its creation.”
Wolf Haven International is dedicated to protecting Mexican grey wolves, the most endangered subspecies of wolves. The campaign seeks to adopt and protect 43 wolves and 5 wolf-dogs. Fans can help by contributing fan works, like art or fan fiction, to an auction — or by bidding on said items. All proceeds will go to Wolf Haven International. How cool is that?
And that’s in addition to the organization’s admirable goal to shift gender stereotypes and increase media visibility of same-sex relationships. Whether or not you “ship” Sterek, that’s an idea we can all get behind.
We particularly love this part of the mission statement: “We want to create a cordial fandom/creators relationship. We want to reinforce the non-demanding nature of the Sterek Campaign project. This is, above anything else, an expression of our love and support. Yes, this campaign is about Sterek, but it is NOT about demanding Sterek so please do not ask, beg, or demand.”
Other fandoms, take note!
Are ‘Teen Wolf’ fans the coolest ‘shippers’ in the world? Signs point to yes!