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?
The gendering of fantoms is fascinating. Just think about how sports fandom permeates our culture, with their cosplay and swag, then come at me and tell me discussing/critiquing/podcasting about media is weird.
This reminds me of that time I had a troll pestering me for a few days trying to tell me that my life was sad because I spent my time “examining [Doctor Who episodes] in excruciating detail.” Because when a guy examines a TV show and writes about it, it’s a proper episode review, but when a girl does it, she’s just a crazy fangirl on Tumblr.
Lots of food for thought here
And yet, when people (admittedly, usually men) spend years of their lives studying the works of the Venerable Bede, Thoreau, Milton, Steinbeck, they are scholars, as are women who do the same with Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Hildegarde von Bingen, Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Edith Wharton, Edna S.t Vincent Millay, though with Millay noses are lifted, with all of the women the issues of childbirth and childbirth are raised. Were they good mothers; were they bad ones. Were they good homemakers? No wonder Woolf’s single most famous work is “A Room of One’s Own.” The men who “let” their wives have room to create are given brownie points; the women who are forced to create time for there husbands’ muses while scrabble to put the bills aren’t much considered, are they, unless they’re congratulated on being so fortunate as to be enthroned by the knee of greatness. How many “unimportant” careers that might have grown into important ones were left by the side of the road, do you suppose, discarded so a man’s far more important one was given space in which to flourish?
You may think it’s unfair that we have to counteract and adjust ourselves for the ill behavior of other men. You know what? You’re right. It is unfair. Is that the fault of women? Or is it the fault of the men who act abysmally and make the rest of us look bad? If issues of fairness bother you, get mad at the men who make you and your actions appear questionable.
Because when it comes to assessing a man, whatever one man is capable of, a woman must presume you are capable of. Unfortunately, that means all men must be judged by our worst example. If you think that sort of stereotyping is bullshit, how do you treat a snake you come across in the wild?
…You treat it like a snake, right? Well, that’s not stereotyping, that’s acknowledging an animal for what it’s capable of doing and the harm it can inflict. Simple rules of the jungle, man. Since you are a man, women must treat you as such.
The completely reasonable and understandable fear of men is your responsibility. You didn’t create it. But you also didn’t build the freeways either. Some of the things you inherit from society are cool and some of them are rape culture.