Ah, fanart. Also known as the art that girls make.
Sad, immature girls no one takes seriously. Girls who are taught that it’s shameful to be excited or passionate about anything, that it’s pathetic to gush about what attracts them, that it’s wrong to be a geek, that they should feel embarrassed about having a crush, that they’re not allowed to gaze or stare or wish or desire. Girls who need to grow out of it.
That’s the art you mean, right?
Because in my experience, when grown men make it, nobody calls it fanart. They just call it art. And everyone takes it very seriously.
It’s interesting though — the culture of shame surrounding adult women and fandom. Even within fandom it’s heavily internalized: unsurprisingly, mind, given that fandom is largely comprised by young girls and, unfortunately, our culture runs on ensuring young girls internalize *all* messages no matter how toxic. But here’s another way of thinking about it.
Sports is a fandom. It requires zealous attention to “seasons,” knowledge of details considered obscure to those not involved in that fandom, unbelievable amounts of merchandise, and even “fanfic” in the form of fantasy teams. But this is a masculine-coded fandom. And as such, it’s encouraged - built into our economy! Have you *seen* Dish network’s “ultimate fan” advertisements, which literally base selling of a product around the normalization of all consuming (male) obsession? Or the very existence of sports bars, built around the link between fans and community enjoyment and analysis. Sport fandom is so ingrained in our culture that major events are treated like holidays (my gym closes for the Super Bowl) — and can you imagine being laughed at for admitting you didn’t know the difference between Supernatural and The X Files the way you might if you admit you don’t know the rules of football vs baseball, or basketball?
"Fandom" is not childish but we live in a culture that commodified women’s time in such away that their hobbies have to be "frivolous," because "mature" women’s interests are supposed to be caretaking, via marriage, children, and the lives of those within an imagined (generally nuclear) family unit: things that allow others to continue their own special interests, while leaving women without a space of their own.
So think about what you’re actually saying when you call someone “too old” for fandom. Because you’re suggesting they are “too old” for a consuming hobby, and I challenge you to answer — what do you think they should be doing instead?
I would like every anon and non-anon who have sent me messages along the the lines of 'you're too old for tumblr, it's creepy' and 'when will you grow out of fandom?' to read this and remember it when they are in their 40s.
My coworker was out today so I had to do everything myself.
Children should remain silent, and they are ‘good’ when they’re quiet, but ‘bad’ when they are not, because they are disturbing the adults and causing trouble. This attitude runs through the way people interact with children on every level, and yet, they seem surprised when it turns out that children have been struggling with serious medical problems, or they’ve been assaulted or abused.
The most common response is ‘well why didn’t the child say something?’ or ‘why didn’t the child talk to an adult?’ Adults constantly assure themselves that children know to go to a grownup when they are in trouble, and they even repeat that sentiment to children; you can always come to us, adults tell children, when you need help. Find a trusted adult, a teacher or a doctor or a police officer or a firefighter, and tell that adult what’s going on, and you’ll be helped, and everything will be all right.
The thing is that children do that, and the adults don’t listen. Every time a child tells an adult about something and nothing happens, that child learns that adults are liars, and that they don’t provide the promised help. Children hold up their end of the deal by reporting, sometimes at great personal risk, and they get no concrete action in return. Sometimes, the very adult people tell a child to ‘trust’ is the least reliable person; the teacher is friends with the priest who is molesting a student, the firefighter plays pool with the father who is beating a child, they don’t want to cause a scene.
Or children are accused of lying for attention because they accused the wrong person. They’re told they must be mistaken about what happened, unclear on the specifics, because there’s no way what they’re saying could be true, so and so isn’t that kind of person. A mother would never do that. He’s a respected member of the community! In their haste to close their ears to the child’s voice, adults make sure the child’s experience is utterly denied and debunked. Couldn’t be, can’t be, won’t be. The child knows not to say such things in the future, because no one is listening, because people will actively tell the child to be quiet.
Children are also told that they aren’t experiencing what they’re actually experiencing, or they’re being fussy about nothing. A child reports a pain in her leg after gym class, and she’s told to quit whining. Four months later, everyone is shocked when her metastatic bone cancer becomes unavoidably apparent. Had someone listened to her in the first place when she reported the original bone pain and said it felt different that usual, she would have been evaluated sooner. A child tells a teacher he has trouble seeing the blackboard, and the teacher dismisses it, so the child is never referred for glasses; the child struggles with math until high school, when someone finally acknowledges there’s a problem.
This attitude, that children shouldn’t be believed, puts the burden of proof on children, rather than assuming that there might be something to their statements. Some people seem to think that actually listening to children would result in a generation of hopelessly spoiled brats who know they can say anything for attention, but would that actually be the case? That assumption is rooted in the idea that children are not trustworthy, and cannot be respected. I’m having trouble understanding why adults should be viewed as inherently trustworthy and respectable, especially in light of the way we treat children."