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I hate to be the one to tell you this, Outander Fans (yes, I am one of you) but you guys sound certifiable lately! And this is coming from someone who was in the trenches of the Robsten, Twilight ship phenomenon. Clearly, I’m not saying that to sound cool or like I know everything, cause no one who says “Robsten” in a sentence should be thought of as cool or a fount of knowledge. BUT I bring this up, because Stans and Nons are a tale as old as time. Who wouldn’t want the actors portraying your favorite FICTIONAL (let’s all repeat that word again) characters to actually be a real life couple and a natural extension of something you love? We get it, seriously, we do, it makes for a great story and lets us think these FICTIONAL (there it is again) characters we love are real! Here’s the thing tho, Fam… they’re NOT real and whether those actors, in this case Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, actually do have a real romantic relationship shouldn’t be something that you hang your emotional well-being PLUS your love of the story on. It’s also not information we are entitled to as fans. And therein lies the rub.
Let’s dive deeper because tons of shippers believe Cait and Sam are in a secret relationship while others don’t and then there’s the majority who just couldn’t care less. The ones who strongly believe they are or aren’t in a relationship also believe they are owed THE TRUTH™ from these actors just because they are fans. Regardless of the actors admissions or not, they seek to “out” them in any way they can.
This week the Outlander fandom drama got whipped into a frenzy over a birthday Tweet Cait posted to celebrate Sam. Let’s take a look:
— Caitriona Balfe (@caitrionambalfe) May 2, 2017
Seems innocent enough right? There they are in South Africa, presumably shooting the rest of Season 3 and they take this picture in someone’s kitchen. No big deal, right? Not so fast… the big hub-bub surrounding this is:
For the uninitiated, this means that Sam isn’t confirming his relationship with Mackenzie and is in effect still “lying” to his fans by not being “real” about his life. First, let’s be clear about one thing: it is 100% Sam’s (and Mackenzie’s) choice what they do and do not share online. Period.
Here’s a personal anecdote, I have been in a serious relationship for almost four years but you might be shocked to know that we’re not “Facebook Official” and we do not post very many pictures together online. I tell you this not because my relationship is the same at Sam’s but because not everyone chooses to offer up personal details, images or otherwise on social media. Relationships can be difficult and uncertain (especially new ones), and I can only imagine how difficult they are as a public figure. I completely understand if Sam does not want to “confirm” his relationship by posting pictures about it online and inviting the public, whether well meaning or not, into it. Plus given the way SOME of his fans have reacted to Mackenzie and other women who happen to land in an photo with him, I can’t blame him AT ALL. We aren’t his family, we don’t know him personally and we aren’t owed any of the details.
Then there are the Sam fans who think Mackenzie “invites” gossip and drama by posting images about where she’s at and who she’s with. Again, PERSONAL decision. They don’t even have to make a concerted effort of whether they both post images of their relationship or not. She’s a young actress seeing the world, her images are pretty standard fare for this type of girl, she’s marketing herself, what she’s doing and also sometimes charities. Nothing smacks of bragging or inciting gossip here.
As we tweeted on Tuesday:
When I’m on vacation with my hot celebrity boyfriend in South Africa, guess who I’m NOT thinking about? Internet Trolls #subtweetish
— That’s Normal (@Thats_Normal) May 2, 2017
Then there’s this kind of response…
You’re absolutely right Anon, they don’t owe us anything! And no Mommydog, they don’t owe us “honesty” for whatever scenarios fans have made up in their heads. The only thing Cait and Sam “owe” us fans is to make Outlander an amazing show (aka do their jobs!). This just reminded me that we still have MONTHS to go before season 3. At this rate, with a Birthday tweet sending the fandom into a tailspin, I’m not sure we’ll make it.
So what were all those images of them at parties, out and about, plus all those Oscar party pics? Not confirmation? Do they need to “confirm” anything?
Then there’s this kind of logic…
Pretty sure this is definitely not what happened. They were in a kitchen and took a picture together and probably days later, Cait realized it was Sam’s birthday and needed an image and what was on her camera roll? It was probably between this jewel of everyone looking sun tanned and tired or Sam having a wig fitting. End of story. At least it was a personal picture, she could have Tweeted some promo Outlander image and it would have been boring but it wouldn’t have sent some fans into a tizzy.
Cait also probably isn’t trying to “hide” Tony, her boyfriend, here’s a sampling of images some eagle-eyed fan put together of Tony at events with Cait:
And then this long account of a fan being a real super sleuth and going to the bar this dude owns to figure out if they’re together. NO REALLY. Beyond going way over the line of appropriateness, this illustrates Cait is also in a relationship that she prefers to not publicize. Let’s also remember, Tony is NOT in the public eye, Mackenzie IS an actress who has been in movies people have actually seen. While at events with red carpets it makes sense to occasionally have Sam and Cait pose together because the general public knows who they are and it’s easier to sell a photo of Sam and Cait to a magazine than it is to sell an image of Cait and her boyfriend who most people have never heard of (Sorry Tony). Following this logic, it would also make sense for Sam and Mackenzie to pose for a photo together because they are both public figures, this does NOT mean Mackenzie is trying to court publicity.
Pretty sure Mackenzie is not some mastermind of Instagram, hellbent on rolling out some long-con of a strategy to troll Outlander fans. It’s a weird sign… who sees a “Baboons” caution sign in their every day life? Even if it was some master plan, what does it mean? The sheep references I get, but is she now calling Outlander fans Baboons??? I’ve met a lot of Outlander fans and I can’t say Baboons would be the description I would use… paranoid grandmas, yes. Baboons, never. Get your shit together Mackenzie, come on!
If you’re a person tasked with pitching potential stories to BIG outlets like the news media, magazines, website, etc this would be GOLD, actor portraying fictional characters are in a relationship IN REAL LIFE! You wouldn’t hide it! Plus, this isn’t the dark ages of Hollywood where people hide the fact they’re in a relationship, gay, or otherwise because they’re worried about whether their fans will watch their movie. These are two grown adults and I assume 95% of the actual viewership could give a hoot whether they’re together in real life or not. This “secret relationship” conspiracy just doesn’t add up guys.
To the Shippers and Nonies who are posting about this and emotionally invested in this, honestly we’re not trying to take the piss. I expect you will try to roast me/us for even talking about this and suggesting otherwise, if that is the case, go with God. If it is not, this is honestly just a plea to reassess your reasoning and your ultimate happiness.
Do you love Outlander? Do you love these characters? Yes.
Do these actors REALLY have it out for the shippers? No, as much as it may feel that way.
Can you love something, be emotionally invested, know ALL the details and still enjoy it? Yes. Look around you. That’s the purpose of this place, that’s the reason behind the phrase “That’s Normal,” we can know there is a guy called Tony in a relationship with Cait and that he owns a bar and where it’s located and still have a real life and not let it spoil the fun (I can’t believe I now know this info). It’s possible to live and let live and understand boundaries of what an actor or creator “owes” it’s fandom. To paraphrase Neil Gaiman, Sam and Cait “are not your bitch. They do not work for you.” And while we all digest that, please read this piece by Neil Gaiman. It should be required reading for everyone in Fandom.
Ok, now you can proceed to the comments and your Tumblrs and your Twitters can call us the C word and me a cat lady (I’m allergic BTW) who doesn’t understand you.
PS Why do all fandom shippers have a hard-on for Paul and Joanna Newman? Stop comparing your ship to them.
PPS Just because…
The offensive rainbow picture in question? HERE. SMH.
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