Minors in Fandom

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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.

The Sides

The Unusual 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.

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.

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.

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.

References