Minors in Fandom
|See also:||Ageism in Fandom, Fandom as a Safe Space, Age Statement|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
While in fandom circa 2000 there was a prevalent trend of minors pretending to be of age and of not releasing personal information like your real name or appearance, in 2010ish, particularly with the rise of Tumblr, there seems to be more of a trend of blogging fannishly while releasing a lot of personal information about yourself, like posting selfies or responding to little games that reveal the first letter of your first and last name. This revealed a lot of large group of fans who were under the age of 18, even putting their age in their profile.
Naturally, especially in fandoms with a prominent smut output, this led to controversy.
Harassment & Abuse of Minors
Minors Want A Safe Space
Fans have objected to the behavior of adults fans toward fictional minors. Their opposition is only to explicit content about minors, and this is a view held by both minors who seek to protect themselves and adults. Minors argue that they do not feel safe in fandom space when people far older than they are creating sexual content about people their own age.
This attitude is prevalent in fandoms around media for which younger people are the intended audience, but which draw a large fan following, such as cartoons. These fans may not object to shipping a certain relationship, but are uncomfortable with who is creating and consuming sexual content. They argue that it is wrong for a person to have sexual intention toward a person far younger than them whether or not that person is real or fictional, especially if they are underage.
Adults Should Coddle Minors
There has been a trend of minor fans on the internet harassing adult fans and then claiming that they're being bullied when they get a response. There's also been a trend of minors asking to not be followed by adults. These people seem to have a view that either adults should stop being in fandom or they should structure their fannish activities around what's appropriate for minors to view.
On the other had, minor fans may simply want to interact with people they consider their peers.
Minors Should Get Off the Unmoderated Internet
Adult fans have reacted to this by (among other things) asking minors to tell their parents to install web filtering software or reporting minors to the ToS of websites and services they use, like web url sites, for not being old enough to use them. Some of the sites which are most popular have had poor filtering software, thus occasionally searches in character tags would turn up porn, although things like safe search and blogs themselves identifying as explicit if they have nsfw content has made things better in that way on Tumblr. This of course hasn't stopped searches from turning up ships that are unpopular, but that's another topic entirely.
Some seem to view this as being asked to parent children who aren't theirs.
Art Vs. Writing
See: Aged Up
Age difference in pairings (sometimes only a year or so) became a hot topic in certain areas of fandom, making the seemingly simple topic of what characters are or aren't minors much more complicated than it was before. In the Voltron Fandom the revelation of the age of certain characters led to some who had previously decried shipping the relationship between characters who they viewed as an adult and a minor walking back their shipping outrage when half of a fairly common pairing became known to be 18 years old, while the other half was 16. So did the 18 year old count as an adult or a minor? We still don't know.
The Case of the 21 Year Old Minor
As becoming a minor became an unusual kind of shield, people began to call themselves minors at older and older times, or to say things like how they'll delete their blog when they turn 30 years old.
Some of these minors were over eighteen. Some of them were of drinking age in the United States, which is known for drafting people before they're able to legally drink.
- Love Knows No Gender: Minors and Slash by kkscatnip (April 2001)
- Depicting Minors in Sexual Acts in Fiction! (2001)
- If A Minor Reads My NC-17 Fic, Will I Go To Jail? (2001)
- About Minors Using This Site... ; archive link by Drift at Pillowfort (January 2019)