ChanBaek: The Popular Ship in EXO
In a fandom, one of the most common elements of the culture is ‘shipping’, a term used when fans pair up two members (either from the same group or from different groups) because they look cute or good together. Shipping, initially derived from the word relationship, is the desire by fans for two or more people, either real-life people or fictional characters to be in a romantic relationship. It is considered a general term for fans’ emotional involvement with the ongoing development of a relationship.
Lately, the degree of the shipping itself has varied between fans. For boy-group members or ships between guys, some fans ship them for their bromance (brotherly romance), a close, but non-sexual relationship between two or more men. Some fans ship them just for their friendship because they really like good, close friends. But the majority of the shippers (fans who ship members together) ship members as lovers or to be in a romantic relationship.
In EXO fandom, there are some popular ships known to fans, including ChanBaek (Chanyeol x Baekhyun), Kaisoo (Kai x D.O.), HunHan (Sehun x ex-member Luhan), and SeHo (Sehun x Suho). The beginning of the ChanBaek ship actually started just a little after their debut days. The two of them seem to be the closest to each other and always joined at the hip, so fans started shipping them because they thought they look cute together.
What further fuels this is the fact that they’ve never hesitated to show skinship (expression of feeling by physical intimacy) with each other.
Later on, the number of shippers grew because fans claimed that they can see something different, like a different glint, in the way Chanyeol and Baekhyun look at each other. This makes the shippers feel as if there is actually something between the two of them, something more than just friendship.
Not to mention that they are the same age and they have a very similar sense of humor, no wonder that they click very well with each other through their jokes and conversations.
Even Koreaboo wrote an article once, titled ’10 Photos That Prove Chanyeol Baekhyun Could Be Secretly In Love’, containing a list of photos showing how sweet Chanyeol and Baekhyun can be to each other, because that’s just how much they care about each other (or also that’s how famous they are among all ships in K-pop).
As more and more people started shipping the pair ChanBaek, more social media accounts are created for the shipping purposes. A Twitter account dedicated for ChanBaek, @CHANBAEKUNION, has already gained more than 60,000 followers. There are also a lot of fansite masters who are dedicated to just capturing pictures and moments of ChanBaek, such as @puppystore_1992 and @CandyBlossom92.
Along with the growth of the number of people shipping ChanBaek, the content created for shipping purposes also grew. Fans no longer depend on official photos or moments to ship them, but they create their own content, such as fanfiction, fanart, and fanvideos. Fanfiction is basically stories or fictions created by fans with their favorite characters or idols as the characters of the story, while fanart and fanvideos are basically art and videos inspired by their idols.
Although there are a lot of EXO fans who are also ChanBaek shippers, there are also a lot of fans who don’t ship ChanBaek, or even dislike the ship. Most of them dislike the shipping because it’s making the idols gay by pairing a guy with another guy. Some other people also dislike it because of the amount of shippers taking the shipping out of the line and probably making the members feel uncomfortable.
Tip to chanbaek shippers…stop overdoing it and making it look extra gay..I'm sure the boys are weirded out hence the limited interactions
— loey's kay (@Kayspcy) January 20, 2016
But after all, shipping is a culture that is created within the fandom. What happens inside it should stay just among the fans. It shouldn’t get out of line, lest it makes the members involved feel uncomfortable. Whatever is going on between Chanyeol and Baekhyun, only the two of them know it, so fans can only assume. As long as there is no official news or confirmation, then Chanyeol and Baekhyun are just two best friends working together as group mates in EXO.
Chanyeol Stole Baekhyun’s Standee
For Baekhyun’s 25th birthday (26 Korean age) on May 6, 2017, Chanyeol uploaded a short clip on his Instagram account where he was jokingly saying his birthday wish to a Baekhyun standee laying on his bed.
Little did we know, Chanyeol was seen stealing the same standee in November, 2016, from a Nature Republic road shop. He was caught by a fan and through CCTV. At the time, fans were wondering why he did that, until the next year when he used it to wish Baekhyun on his birthday.
Chanyeol Calls Baekhyun at IG Live
On February 3, 2019, Chanyeol did an Instagram live from his personal studio room. He called several members to join him through the live, including Suho, who appeared shortly because he was in the middle of a practice, and some other members who unfortunately did not pick up the call. Lastly, he called Baekhyun, who picked up the video call from his home in Bucheon.
Chanyeol started the call by saying “do not curse” several times while the volume of the call was lowered. It was probably due to the fact that they are really close friends who usually talk comfortably, and apparently occasionally curse, to each other. Chanyeol then asked Baekhyun to give his (Lunar) New Year greeting through his live. Baekhyun said, “Our EXO-Ls, happy new year! Actually I’m now with my Bucheon friends! Since it’s the new year, happy new year [receive lots of blessings in the new year]! It’d be great if everyone can be happy!”
Meanwhile, in July, 2017, at the backstage of the final concert of EXO’s fourth tour, The ElyXiOn Dot Day 2, Chanyeol was seen taking a picture together with Baekhyun’s Bucheon friends. This shows how close he is with Baekhyun, that he also knows his friends very well.
Do you think you and your best friend’s friendship is as strong as the one between Chanyeol and Baekhyun? Which part of their friendship or funny moment is your favorite? Don’t forget to leave your comment down below!