book fandoms

Boy on my bus: You’re always reading, you must be a fucking genius or something
My book:

Me: …
Me: yes you’re right, I’m reading constantly, always in pursuit of filling my brain with stimulating and intellectually challenging material

Hey fun fact the people 28 and over on this website actually do KNOW that the average age skews much lower so like, reminding us is pretty pointless?

More to the point, as much as you guys are way better at identifying and calling out misogyny than I was at your age, a lot of people are really terrible at picking up on one particular kind of misogyny, and that is the creepy upper age limit for space and existence you’re setting for women in your communities.

This may not be easy to instantly identify because it’s not really ageism across the board, for example, this idea that fandom has an upper age limit is not something that effects a lot of men in fandom. Women, on the other hand, are apparently expected to re-direct their fan obsession, fixation, or hobby to things like crafting, child-rearing, and housekeeping just as soon as they become a mom or reach that “typical mom” age. Adult fangirls are “immature” and “need to grow up,” while adult fanboys are literally just a fact of life, as if we both haven’t always been there.

Whenever you question a woman’s right to this space because of her age or parental status, you are reinforcing a stereotype that has effects that reach beyond that one situation. The expectation, for example, that 40 year old men be catered to when writing comics, but that characters of interest to 40 year old women are obsolete or unprofitable.

When actresses over 30 are written out of their franchises or written exclusively in villain/mother/crone roles, this not only furthers the impression that women over 30 have no interest in these franchises, but actually causes women over 30 to disengage with these franchises as a self fulfilling prophecy. A sudden loss of representation can be a real buzzkill, as many of you already know too well.

Women over 30 are often sexual and a lot of us get fan crushes or thirst at the exact same rate as younger people do, but you’re not going to hear about it because every one of us has been shamed at one point or another for expressing desire for age-appropriate fictional characters that was totally acceptable when we were five years younger. Add to that dissonance the fact that A LOT of you are fixated on and thirsting after characters that are actually closer to OUR age if not our age exactly.

Hell, we transfer directly from EVERYONE wanting to hear about our desires and attractions to people being equally disgusted. This is pretty dissonant on a website stuffed full of explicitly sexual material, and it’s especially difficult and heartbreaking for the 30+ year olds who JUST CAME OUT and get an extra level of taboo on top of what is most likely a heaping dose of internalized homophobia.

And I know it’s coming so I’m just going to head it off at the pass, this OBVIOUSLY does not mean that you need to engage in any overtly sexual topic with an older person if that discomfits you, and it doesn’t even mean you need to INTERACT with us, because well, you don’t HAVE to interact with anyone on this website if you don’t want to.

But realize what you’re doing when your reaction to the desire of a 30 year old woman to a 30 year old fictional character is revulsion or a suggestion that she is over-sharing. Notice your shock when you realize that older women inhabit the fandom and recognize that that shock has nothing to do with those women.

Pay attention to the double standard that allows you to embrace rude bigoted 50 year old male comic creators/collectors and equally feel like there’s something wrong or stunted about a woman into the same things. Think about it because that stuff will sneak up on you, and you are probably pretty sure that you’re not going to turn 28 and magically drop all your interests, because no one should expect you to.

Dont worry Angela, He’s ready to take your place for when you need to get a rest!!!

Something that happened in one of my classes
  • Teacher: Raise your hands all those who read at least once every other day.
  • *Several students raise their hand*
  • Student 1, whispering to student two: I don't think fanfiction counts...
  • Student 2: *Lowers their hand in shame*