Like, i’m not saying that adults don’t have a place in fandom. they can and they do, and many are perfectly great people.

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Title: Like, i’m not saying that adults don’t have a place in fandom. they can and they do, and many are perfectly great people.
Creator: onethousandroaches/Brooke
Date(s): July 2017
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like, i’m not saying that adults don’t have a place in fandom. they can and they do, and many are perfectly great people. is the part of a Tumblr post by onethousandroaches, who was 18 years old.

The post was made on or before July 2, 2017, and as of July 11 has 1,104 notes. It is now offline, and available as a reblog. The entire post is included below.

Some Topics Discussed

The Post (complete)

like, i’m not saying that adults don’t have a place in fandom. they can and they do, and many are perfectly great people.

but if you’re an adult, say, in your mid to late 20s or older, especially if you’re in a fandom that’s filled mostly with teenagers, you do need to be careful about how you interact with young people in fandom.

you need to be careful about the content you produce or share, and if you do something that people take issue with, you need to be prepared to address that in an honest and meaningful way, instead of blocking the young people who are telling you you’ve done something wrong and going on a rant about how “it’s just fiction” and “ship and let ship” and “do whatever you want” and “i’m too old for this.”

if you’re an adult in fandom, you need to be able to recognize how the content you produce might affect young people, and honestly, you should be able to show maturity when dealing with it, because you are still an adult talking to many people who are literal children.

many of those young people will, by default, view you as a sort of authority figure based on your age alone, as that’s what they’re used to. be careful of the lessons you teach them.

onethousandroaches later reblogged a clarification to say that she was referring only to adults who argued against antishipping when they knew minors were reading their blogs:

this is specifically about adults who willingly engage in conversation or discourse with minors, or who are aware that they have a large following of minors and specifically use their own implied maturity/“superior” knowledge to spread ideals to young followers that can be harmful. i’ve seen people on here explain to minors that literal pedophilic ships are okay and reassure them by talking about how they’re older and know better.[1]

Excerpts from Comments

porcupine-girl:

Hm. Okay. Here’s the thing.

We all know who you’re talking about and which situations you’re talking about. What you really have an issue with isn’t anything to do with anyone’s age, it’s about people producing things that other people find hurtful, then not responding the way the hurt people would like them to when called out on it. That can and does happen anywhere, regardless of the ages of the people involved. It’s a separate issue that should be discussed and dealt with.

And yes, in some of those recent situations, the ages of the offenders or the offended were brought into the discussion, by both sides at different times. The age difference does complicate things, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the main issue.

You may be thinking “why do you care if I focus on age, it was a salient part of the argument for me, you’re trying to defend adults who don’t care how their words hurt children!” But here’s the thing.

You may not realize this, but in other fandoms adults have been doxxed, have been threatened, have been outed because they were creating things that someone, somewhere deemed “dangerous for minors.”

Adults who were creating things that were not meant for minors, that were openly and blatantly tagged as being NSFW, explicit, as containing triggering material. I’ve even seen people who weren’t even creating the offending material being harassed, bullied, and threatened, for daring to stand up for the people who were. Not even just online, but in person. I’ve been a victim of it myself, though not to the extent that I’ve seen many others go through.

All because a segment of the fandom decided that because certain content could be dangerous for minors, it should never, ever be posted anywhere a minor might possibly read it. Adults who do post it are responsible for every bad effect it could possibly have on anyone who reads it and are horrible people for not willingly taking on that responsibility.

I know the situations you’re talking about are different. In many of those situations, adults chose to interact with the minors who were complaining about them, and yeah, when you’re choosing to directly interact with a minor you need to tread carefully.

But once you go down the “adults in fandom are responsible for the minors in fandom” road, if lots of people start clinging to that mindset, that is where it can lead. And that is an extremely serious issue. It can literally destroy careers and ruin lives.

I am not in this or any other fandom to produce content for minors. I have asked many times for minors not to follow me; I don’t block them, but I know quite a few people who block any minor who follows them. I produce enough SFW content that I don’t mind minors being able to, say, reblog it from others on their dash, but I do not want them following me and getting explicit content directly from me, full stop. If it becomes an issue, I will start blocking people.

If you’re a minor, I’m old enough to be your mother. But I’ve got my own kid, and I’m not in fandom to babysit anyone else. When I create or reblog content, I do not and will not take the presence of minors into account when doing so. Because that is not my job.

Now, right now I’m choosing to get involved in this discussion, which will involve people much younger than me, including minors. So yeah, I’m being careful about what I say and how I say it. And I agree that any adult who willingly engages in conversation with minors needs to do the same.

But I simply can’t agree with your last two paragraphs. Those “literal children” already have parents. If their own parents aren’t monitoring what media they consume, aren’t having conversations with them about problematic messages in media, it certainly isn’t my job to do so. Period.

This is an excellent time for teens in fandom (and in general) to stop seeing every adult they come in contact with as an “authority figure” and start viewing us as human beings who are living our own lives with our own motivations, problems, desires, and inclinations that have nothing to do with them. That’s something that will serve them well in life.

How people interact with oppressed groups they aren’t a part of who complain about their representation of those oppressed groups is an entirely separate issue that is not about the age of the people on either side. Age can complicate it, especially in that it can be difficult to communicate across a generation gap when people on either side have such enormously different experiences. I think that that has caused some problems.

But any adult who is not willingly choosing to interact with a minor is not responsible for minors who consume their content, and conflating the two issues is downright dangerous. [2]
harriet-spy: How nice, to suggest that adults do have a place in the fandom they built, so long as they are very careful not to do there anything that adults do, lest a minor might somehow manage to catch a glimpse of it, and immediately repent in sackcloth and ashes if a minor doesn’t like something they do. Heavens, the generosity. (Also, what a 21st-century upper-middle-class American POV, the idea that intergenerational mingling is a highly dangerous and unusual activity that requires constant and detailed policing, as if most of the people in world history haven’t lived in societies where different age groups interacted constantly. But I digress.)

As a rule, I don’t write children’s lit or YA, so, if you think you are grown enough to read my stories, you also think you are grown enough to interact with me (more or less) as a peer. I’m not going to date you, obviously, but neither am I going to baby you and treat your opinions like precious works of spun gold that daren’t even be breathed upon for fear of crushing your spirit. Being treated as a peer by grownups is exactly what I was after when I was a teenager crashing adult Internet fandom, in an era when there was basically no protection for minors online.

If you’re so convinced that minors (and, remember, here on tumblr we are supposedly discussing at least 13+, and, for most fandoms of shows for adults, usually 15-16+) are so completely lacking in judgment, so unable to protect themselves, so utterly incapable of assessing and accepting the consequences of the risks they take…well, then, the consequence of that is that their opinion of how fandom should be run, who and what belongs there, whether someone has “done something wrong,” is also of essentially no value. You can’t even be held responsible for not clicking on the work labelled “explicit” and you think you should decide how explicit works should be handled by everyone else??? People protect children, but they don’t consult them on how the household is run, nor do they turn to them for moral guidance.

Once again, you don’t get to claim the privileges and freedoms of adulthood and then run back to the protective cloak of self-infantilization when you don’t like the outcome. The risk and the reward are inextricably linked. If you sneak into a 21+ club (and I know some of you innocent, vulnerable, defenseless minors somehow still do), do you complain about being served alcohol? Do you bitch about seeing people grinding together, because “that’s not appropriate for minors?” No. That’s why you came to the 21+ show instead of the all-ages, right? You wanted that excitement, that freedom, that risk. Now, you may see the debauchery and conclude, “Holy cow, this is too much for me, I’m not coming here again.” You may even have an encounter you rightly find upsetting with someone who assumes you’re of-age…but do you blame the club? Do you demand that all the shows become substance-free? No. You blame the creep.

[3]
tzikeh: Reblogging for this: “This is an excellent time for teens in fandom (and in general) to stop seeing every adult they come in contact with as an “authority figure” and start viewing us as human beings who are living our own lives with our own motivations, problems, desires, and inclinations that have nothing to do with them. That’s something that will serve them well in life.” [4]
Basingstoke: Look I posted my first fanfic in 1999, which was eighteen years ago, so if someone born after that date wants to step into my world, that’s on them and their parents and their net nanny software, not on me, because I’ve just been sitting here. Chillin’ like a villain. Source: onethousandroaches #and using old slang that was never cool #because fuck you [5]
[irongoldie]: I’ll keep it short. We’re not your fucking parents, we don’t exist to hold your hand, or to shelter you. You make a choice to get online and to view content, and you make the choice about what sort of content you want to see. Use new x-kit to block shit you don’t like.

It is not the responsibility of the adults in a fandom to look after you. You claim some people look to adults as authority figures and that we teach them “lessons”? Well, here’s a lesson for you: you control what you see. Take some personal responsibility.

[6]
[elfwreck]:

Reblog to repeat this:

Those “literal children” already have parents. If their own parents aren’t monitoring what media they consume, aren’t having conversations with them about problematic messages in media, it certainly isn’t my job to do so.

As a parent whose kids grew up on the internet - I did not want strangers deciding what was or wasn’t appropriate for them. I monitored their internet usage; I answered their questions; I steered them toward sites I thought were good for them (Neopets, FF.net) and away from ones that I thought weren’t (Facebook). And I told them why, and that someday they’d be stuck doing this without my guidance and it meant they’d be running into a lot of vile stuff; sorry about that; the internet is not always a pleasant place.

I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VIEWING HABITS OF STRANGERS’ CHILDREN.

I am pretty damn sure strangers don’t want me directing their kids toward-and-away from content, because I am a bisexual polyamorous middle-aged Pagan witch who thinks that young children are not damaged by seeing naked human bodies, but their intake of depictions of cruelty should be sharply limited.

I also think teenage children - y’know, the ones with the minimum age of 13 so they’re allowed to participate in Google and Tumblr and all that - should be mature enough to say “nope, do not want” and skip past content they find objectionable, and fortunately, there are a lot of tools around to help with that. Parents who disagree with me are WELCOME TO MONITOR THEIR KIDS’ INTERNET ACTIVITIES and install whatever nanny programs they think are needed.

For the kids themselves, though? Either:

Option 1) They are too young to have unfettered access to the internet, and their parents should be keeping track of what they are exposed to, OR

Option 2) They are mature enough to choose what sites to visit and what blogs to subscribe to and what forums to participate in, on their own, in which case, IT IS NOT MY JOB to take over for their parents.

I do my part by tagging where I can figure out how, and by stating up-front: I am not a child; I do not limit my blog to child-friendly topics. I have an interest in religion and sex and fanfic and science fiction and linguistics, and I do not separate out these interests into neat little packages so readers can always get only some of them.

Source: onethousandroaches #discourse #kids on the lawn #rebuilding the fourth wall [7]
[rainewynd]: As someone who was a 12-year-old sneaking around, reading ‘adult’ romance novels with explicit sex scenes (because the Internet did not exist when I was a 12-year-old), I don’t expect or want to police anyone younger than me. However, I will own my content to the extent I can be responsible for it, and that’s why I have ‘adult content’ warning on my Tumblr account and why I label my fics with what I think are appropriate tags. Beyond that, I cannot and will not control what others see once my content is reblogged, reshared, or linked. Caveat lector - reader beware. This means my attitude towards fannish consumption by minors is - you know you are taking a chance that what you are exposing yourself to is very explicitly Not for You. I am not your mother or your aunt; I have done my part to say this fic or content was Not for You. If your mind cannot handle that, then please back the hell out of where you are, go find some cute animals to look at, and learn the lesson - as I did - that what was there was Not Something I could handle then. [8]
[tirsynni]: WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

Aka, want things censored but phrasing it in a way that the people who refuse to be censored or promote self-censorship are the bad guys and deflecting the issue onto others who supposedly need your protection. Sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up, and focus on self-reflection rather than censorship, please, motherfucker.

And the most annoying thing about this bullshit? The thought that it’s the content that will scar teenager and not the online bullying, harassment, and vitriol. Fuckers. [9]
[mynameisnotmae]: I started reading fica with explicit content pretty early (around 12y old) and before that I was fascinated with any mature content (comics etc) I could find. If I ever found something that distressed me, I never blamed the author or the library or my parents. I was the one reading stuff I knew I wasn’t supposed to. Do you actually expect the internet to take responsibility for you own behavior and interests? [10]


Further Reading


References

  1. ^ July 2 2017 reblog by onethousandroaches, Archived version
  2. ^ porcupine-girl.tumblr
  3. ^ harriet-spy.tumblr
  4. ^ tzikeh.tumblr
  5. ^ basinke.tumblr
  6. ^ irongoldie.tumblr
  7. ^ elfwreck.tumblr
  8. ^ rainewynd.tumblr
  9. ^ tirsynni.tumblr
  10. ^ mynameisnotmae.tumblr