Note: I wrote this right around the time dashakay wrote her version, and am posting it with her blessing. I’m sorry if they overlap. I swear it’s entirely coincidental.
I don’t want to get involved in the whole drama, but I feel like maybe the OP should learn a little X-Files fandom history. And since my master’s happens to be in broadcasting and X-Files has been my fandom for 21 years, I can help you out.
No idea what this is in response to, but just want to affirm its truth. I was in my early 30s when XF started. I hung around on alt.tv.x-files.creative a lot through the mid- to late-90s, pre-Haven. I communicated with a lot of other fans during those years. I don’t recall ever being aware that any were teenagers. Given that online access was still limited to early adopters, many of whom gained access through their jobs, that’s no surprise. We were absolutely operating under the assumption that the fandom consisted primarily of adults – I remember discussions about rating fics to protect ourselves from liability should minors stumble across our work (not to mention the disclaimers we included because of our worries that Fox would crack down on copyright violation).
And at the risk of stirring controversy, I have to say, older fandom was, on the whole, nicer fandom. While there was certainly some conflict (remember shippers vs. noromos?), much of it was pretty civil, and the worst of it was nothing compared to what came later. I returned to online fandom a couple of years after the relaunch of Doctor Who, and I was pretty shocked at the flame wars, sporking, anon hate, etc. And it only got worse as time went on.
So if anyone is saying us old folks should GTFO, that’s just…amusing. I’ll be over here, enjoying the company of some of the lovely XF fandom friends I’ve had for a couple of decades now, and hoping to make some news ones, young and old.
Interesting perspective from another OG Phile…
A LOT OF IT HAD TO DO WITH MONEY. I WAS A WORKING ADULT AND HAD TO PLUNK DOWN ABOUT TWO GRAND FOR A COMPUTER IN ‘95. NOT EVERYONE HAD THE ACCESS THAT THEY DO NOW.
I was 13 when I started watching XF, and 14 when my family got our first computer: in the living room, on a 56k modem that could only be used after 10:30 because we had one phone line and my parents have a family business (they do not save people nor hunt things). I was one of only five, perhaps six fans I knew who (after a fair amount of time) admitted to being under 21, and I was publicly “around eighteen” for a good, long while.
I’m rather finished finding kind ways to say this: fandom is not a youth space. It is a subculture, a rich one with a very long history, pre-dating your parents, mine, and arguably even theirs (fun fact: the term “fan” was first used derisively to refer to largely female-identifying theater-goers at the turn of the 20th century, in reference to the belief they were ‘taking up seats’ by going to shoes they were not appreciating, only to ogle the actors. Gee, sound familiar?). Youth-oriented spaces within fandom are a fairly new construction, enabled by the rise of the internet and the ability of fans to connect with other fans, and share their enthusiasm for the texts they love, at lower and lower entry cost. It’s a wonderful addition to fan culture but it is a ripple in the pool of fan history. Fan space is not “youth space.” There is a good deal of overlap, and it is very possible to make your space consist of only your peer group – regardless of your age. But it is not a default and Tumblr’s insistence otherwise is absurd, particularly as it continues to utilize the aspects of fan-culture that are, let’s be honest, very clearly the work of older fans, from the OTW and AO3 to the changes in copyright law that allow for the sharing of high-quality gifsetst and fanvids, to a good portion of the fanfic and fanart you consume.
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t be aware of age differences online; we should be conscious of how we handle ourselves in all public spaces, particularly those of us on the adult end of the scale. But that is exactly what fandom is: a public space. And one that was built by, and for everyone. There are other replies to this post that have backed this up with tumblr user-statistics and facts, and I’m not going to do that because frankly, I’m tired of chasing my tail over the absolute obvious: fandom is not an age-related hobby. Your younger sibling might be reading that Sherlock story you wrote, but it’s just as likely (if not more) that the last Destiel fic you read was written by your intro to American Literature instructor. Because you might grow out of wearing that Cosplay Tardis dress in public on a day-to-day basis, but you no more grow out of having a Mulder funko pop on your office desk, or the “Star Spangled Man With A Plan” as your ringtone, than you will your love of listening to glam rock, or buying anything with subtle rivets, or incorporating doc marten boots into reasonable day wear. Because, say it with me now: fandom is a subculture. You don’t “grow out of it.” It incorporates.
Tumblr will just have to incorporate, too.
Is this sort of like ‘damn grannies, get off my lawn’? Because I’m pretty sure Granny planted the lawn upon which the children frolic.
Tags:fandom history, xfiles, DWCrosspost
Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)