Take Your Gatekeeping and Shove It.
So, this past weekend, I took my 11-year-old daughter to SuperCon to meet her favorite actor (and favorite Doctor), Peter Capaldi.
She wore a little blue TARDIS-decorated dress and some Doctor Who pins, and she nearly cried with joy when Capaldi greeted her for the photo op. He was a consummate gentleman and such a sweet and enthusiastic person.
An hour or so after the wonderful photo op experience, she and I were sitting at a table in the food court area.
A burly, older man plopped down nearby. He looked at my little girl’s outfit, smiled, and said, “Do you even KNOW anything about Doctor Who?”
I was too stunned for a second to even respond, so he started right in with the ‘quizzing.’
“Who are the Doctor’s biggest enemies, and what planet does he come from?” this stranger asked.
Now I had moved past shocked and right into indignant/angry/protective mode.
“I don’t want her to be quizzed on something she loves, because I don’t want her thinking she has to prove ANYthing in order to be a fan,“ I told him.
Looking at my daughter, I said “You don’t owe strangers explanations or information, ok?“ She said OK and looked relieved.
Still he pressed on, patronizing grin and all: “Oh, I just want to be sure parents are raising their kids right.” Then he turned to my daughter again and asked “Who was the first Doctor, then?”
I cut him off right there. “No. I don’t want her quizzed. At all.”
Dude blinked in disbelief, sighed, and left about a minute later.
“Thanks,” my daughter said. “He was making me feel awkward.”
I held her hand and looked into her eyes. “Some men think they can have power over you by making you prove yourself. You never have to do it. They’re just insecure and pitiful, so they want to make you feel like it, too. It’s not only about fan stuff, and it’s not always just men, but be careful not to fall into that trap, ok?”
That crap isn’t harmless fun. It sets up a pattern of approval-seeking, self-justification, self-doubt, and fear of exclusion that is very dangerous for children (particularly girls).
TL;DR: Do NOT come at me, my little girl, or anyone in my vicinity with your condescending, gatekeeping bullshit.
The next time, I won’t make the mistake of even TRYING to be polite.