Too Old for Fandom?

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Title: the post does not have a title
Creator: feels-like-fire
Date(s): November 23, 2014
Medium: online
Fandom:
Topic:
External Links: abnormal is the new black: I’ve seen a couple posts & discussions lately that boil down to the idea that fandom/being a fan/being a giant geek is something it’s inappropriate to engage in after a certain age., Archived version
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This is an untitled 2014 Tumblr post by feels-like-fire.

As of 6 June 2015, it has 7,190 notes.

Some Topics Discussed

  • fandom and the "proper" age for fans
  • fan history
  • ageism

The Post

I’ve seen a couple posts & discussions lately that boil down to the idea that fandom/being a fan/being a giant geek is something it’s inappropriate to engage in after a certain age. (What age? Who knows, it depends on who you ask: 18, 25, 30, I’ve seen it all.)

Actual footage of me every time I see this idea:

Tumblr TooOldForFandom.gif

COME WITH ME, MY DARLINGS. Let us explore the many wonderful, varied reasons why this idea is a steaming pile of horsecrap.

one. that is not how aging works. When you reach a certain age, you don’t magically become someone completely different ala Charmeleon becoming Charizard. Yes, interests come and go, but pretty much everyone I knew in high school who was nerdy is if anything more nerdy now than they were. You won’t necessarily be in the same fandoms 10 years from now that you are today, but I’d bet my eyeteeth you will still BE in fandom.

two. getting older ROCKS as far as fandom goes. Why? Coz you have fewer fucks to give about pretending you don’t like the shit you like, you are better are recognizing the kind of people that are good to keep in your life, thus making your experience better, AND you (usually, she says with a grimace) have more money to indulge with. Now, I can pay my favorite artist to draw my OTP kissing/banging/angsting, order a print of that beauty, frame it and hang it on my wall (I HAVE SEVERAL OF THEM THANK YOU), and flip both middle fingers at the haters, because it's my apartment.

Also? You can move to be near your favorite people. And then you can buy crappy wine and yell idiotically at the screen while trying to get through the fifth Star Trek movie only to realize that the amount of alcohol required to get through it would make you go blind, and then go out for waffles at 3 the morning.

three. the idea that being older means you lose your value is gross, sexist, and ageist. This point is mostly about women, who suffer more from “sexiness/value/interesting-ness ends at 30, or whatever bullshit than men do, but let’s not play into that weird-ass cultural trope, ok? The non-nerdy part of our culture already tries to dump it down our throats enough; let’s not do the work for them. You are still interesting, valuable, sexy, awesome, and every other positive adjective you want to use no matter what age you are, and you don’t have to stop valuing yourself at some arbitrary age limit.

four. why would you want to deprive yourself of cool people? I mean this in both directions. Imagine if you had an extension on xkit that prevented you from seeing posts or reblogs from people who aren’t within +/- 3 years of your age. You’d be SO MUCH poorer for it.

The very best thing about the internet and fandom is that it’s the great equalizer. It’s FUCKING DELIGHTFUL to meet someone 30 years older or younger than you who ships the same thing you do and wants to write a 100,000-word epic with you about it. Also, I was saved and nourished by older fans in my various fandoms over the years, receiving support that I just didn’t get from my immediate community. I was introduced to my own sexuality, bailed out financially, given a roof over my head, and spent thousands of hours basking in the support and friendship of people 10, 20, 30 years older than me, and I’m so much richer for it. And I absolutely love getting introduced to music, art, movies, books, tv shows, and other media by people younger than me with different interests and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Why would you want to? Anyone who wants to limit fandom to one age group or hold barriers against anyone “too old” or “too young” is robbing themselves.

five. yo, the idea is just FALSE. My favorite fandom story is about how when my dad found out I was super into Kirk/Spock, his eyes lit up as though Christmas had come early. “Hold on just a second,” he said, and hustled down to the basement. He eventually emerged triumphant with a limited-edition fanzine from the ‘70s that was nothing but vintage Kirk/Spock fic, complete with epic illustrations and poetry. “One of my friends submitted a piece to this anthology,” he said. “She gave me a copy."

People don’t stop being nerds when they get older. See also: the creators of "House, M.D.” and “Wicked” and every other “adaptation” of beloved stories that is just another word for “sanctioned official fanfic au.” Who do think writes that? Fans do. Fans who grew up loving their favorite stories and wanted to keep playing with them. And I guarantee so many more Fans Of A Certain Age are lurking on tumblr or twitter or the AO3 or deviantart than you think.

Let’s put this idea to rest, shall we? Fandom is for lovers. That’s the only rule for entry, that you WANT to be here.

Some Comments

[x-cetra]:
They don’t seem to realize that a major reason for the flowering of reboots over the last decade and a half is that older fans have hit critical mass, not just in the “core paying audience” category, but also on the production side of the entertainment industry, some with the clout to revive their favorite show. (See: Peter Capaldi celebrating getting the part of the Twelfth Doctor by drawing Doctor Who fanart, selecting a costume that would be easy for cosplayers to copy, and being an uberfan since he was six.) But I should shut up and say READ THE ORIGINAL POST BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME YO (and point #3 is important). [1]
[hattedhedgehog]:
#THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS #oh my god read this it's perfect #I was told by one of my tutors in a pitying way that fantasy was for kids and I was just like 'dude you have NO idea about anything do you' [2]
[sphinxyvic]:
Absolutely this. Also, ever been to a fanfic convention? At least half if not more of the attendees at the ones I’ve been to have been 30 and older. That’s right, 30 AND OLDER. So come on, people, get with it and stop this ridiculous ageist crap. [3]
[damespock]:
fandom is supposed to be an environment of fun and safety, if some people don’t feel safe around older people then it is their right to engage in areas where they can be comfortable. older fans should make sure that younger people are comfortable interacting with them and respect when they do not was to engage. this goes doubly if an older person is trying to critique a younger person’s behavior or opinions; older fans should, ideally, be trying to foster understanding if they see that a young person (or any person) has malformed or badly expressed ideas or opinions. but there is only so far that someone’s comfort zone can go without meeting public space. it is not the responsibility of a large and diverse community (like tumblr or individual fandoms) to cater specifically to one person or group of people. if young people are uncomfortable around older people then they should take their own precautions and make their anxieties and preferences known rather than trying to shame older people out of spaces they have been inhabiting for years. it’s not anyone’s business who can occupy fandom space or for how long. everyone just needs to be mindful of others, man. #it’s like coming to a dinner party at someone else’s house and telling the people already there that they have to leave#some people will be at this party until they die and that is their business #blah blah blah[4]
[mild-lunacy]:
Yeah, I think this is actually part of the issue. When you get older in fandom, it’s not just that you get some of the positive effects of ennui and/or not caring as much about people’s opinions on what you like… you also get some of the negative effects. Younger fans tend to see things a bit more idealistically and/or take conflicts or kerfuffles a bit more personally (though sometimes it’s the elders with the sense of entitlement instead), and then there’s the impersonal feel and escalation typical of Tumblr. I guess some of this whole issue might be down to rudeness and/or stereotyping, but some may be down to genuinely conflicting values and/or ways of being fannish or engaging with issues. I don’t know, honestly; I personally don’t feel like I’ve changed much with time’s passage (unfortunately?? haha), but at the same time, my own judgment is probably compromised on this. Plus, I never really felt I quite fit in anywhere, with any age-group or community, at any point in my life, so. In a way, it’s nice to know I’ll still be a total geek 20 years from now, but even now, I don’t necessarily feel Tumblr is a great platform or geared towards me. I can see how it’s oriented towards the soundbyte data-feed format of youth culture even if a lot of over-30 folks use the service. Tumblr in particular has a communication style and culture that’s pretty different from say, livejournal, blogs or forums, so I don’t think it’s representative of ‘fandom’ as such. It used to be you saw a lot of references to interfandom meta, a lot more sense that there was a central core of organizers, or older fans who were BNFs. Things have gotten a lot more loose and disorganized and less historically linked to fannish history, so fannish ‘elders’ seem less relevant, less integral to the transmission of culture. Fannish culture has itself become looser. I dunno, just my impressions of some large-scale shifts with online fandom as I’ve seen them. [5]
[lakritzwolf]:
We have what young grashoppers lack: Life experience. If we write stuff, hurt, angst, love, sex, we know what we’re talking about. I can spot from a mile away when someone writes sex who’s never had any. Or a broken bone. Injuries of other kids. Pregnancy, birth, kids, near-death experience in a car crash, losing family members to accidents, suicide or old age. That’s things I have experienced first hand.

This is not to say young people don’t know shit. This is to say that having life experience and having lived through many good and bad times makes you a better writer.

my two cents, anyway. [6]
[ceallaig1]:
I turned 60 this year, and I’ve been in one fandom or another, starting with original Star Trek, for longer than most of you have been walking the planet, and maybe longer than many of your PARENTS have been on the planet. Don’t let ANYONE tell you ‘you’re too old to be doing this’. It’s kept me young, and in touch with what’s going on in the world, and helped me improve my writing, and allowed me to meet so many amazing people. It’s as they used to say back in the day: Fandom Is A Way Of Life (FIAWOL) (Of course there was always occasionally FIAPITA – fandom is a pain in the ass….)[7]
[enjen]:
This. All of it. Also, pro tip from my late grandmother: make friends who are younger than you, because then you’ll still have people to go dancing with when everyone else is dead.[8]
[spevvy]:
We get older and more creative. I swear to God that my abundance of fandoms have been the only thing keeping me going for the past three years of constant trauma in my life, so if anyone has a problem with my eternal fangirliness then they can go and jolly well boil their heads. [9]
[notidiotproofed]:
THIS THIS THIS! As a fangirl who will be 40 in a couple of months, I hugely resent the insinuation that I am too old to be a fan girl. To be quite honest I have been fangirling stuff for twenty five years now (starting with Star Trek and Ghostbusters!) and I am not ready to stop in the slightest.

They’ll be putting “TJLC is real” on my gravestone :)

feels-like-fire I will call you out on your ageist bullshit. fuck the fuck off. I'll be fangirling until I die! And I notice it only seems to apply to women which makes this attitude misogynistic don't forget Moftiss are the biggest fangirls of all of us.no one thinks they are too old! so fuck you feminism ageism. [10]
[t3andcrumpets]:
Fuck yes. Fangirl from birth to death. [11]
[akatonbo]:
When I was 25, the AVERAGE age of people in Western media fandoms was still older than me (about 29 iirc), and the average age of people in anime/manga fandoms was probably early 20s (it skewed younger, but it was much harder for people under 18 to get anime when it was all mail-order VHS fansubs with payment by check or money order, and manga when online shopping was still in its infancy and scanlations barely existed). The idea that fandom was something people grew out of would have been laughed off of any mailing list you tried to post it on (the Livejournal era didn’t start for another year or two). We didn’t go away when technology opened up fandom to teenagers, either; we’re still here, you just might not know it. Some of us aren’t particularly easy to spot – online, you can’t tell someone’s age unless they disclose it or unless they talk about something that telegraphs it, and even then you might be wrong, and face-to-face… well, people have been assuming I was 25 for almost 25 years now – and some of us aren’t particularly active on the latest and trendiest venues for fannish activity – my partner HATES Tumblr – but we’re still here nerding out right along with you, and occasionally crying when we realize that we have just read fanfic by an author who is younger than some of OUR fanfics *.* Which is actually something I’ve been on the other side of, too, since I’ve read Kirk/Spock porn that was first published in zines that were printed in the year of my birth, which means it pretty much had to have been written before I was born. [12]
[star5822]:
Great discussion! I firmly believe you are as old (or young) as you feel. My mom always used to say that even as she got into her 70s, she still felt very much her 33 year old self and I find that true as well. I love videogames, fanfic and geekiness. Why should I suddenly have to dry up and die or stop liking something because someone else deems a certain age to be “too old” for those things? And yes, deciding that someone else is “too old” is a steaming pile…. and it says a lot more about insecurity of the person making the proclamation than anything else. As a therapist who works primarily with kids and teens, I find that enjoying games, fanfic and all the other forms of creativity that go along with gaming gives me a much greater ability to connect with and understand my clients. And funny thing…. they like coming to see me….] [13]
[torrilin.tumblr]:
True story: my dad now has a comped subscription to *Analog* because he’s been a subscriber for so long. See, a few years ago, the house flooded. Among the most tragic losses was an almost complete run of *Analog* back to the mid 1970s. First printings of all sorts of cool stuff, including things like *Barrayar* in serial form, with illustrations. And that is not an easy thing to replace. He contacted the magazine to see if they could suggest anything. No luck. Much woe. But his subscription is comped now. Dad and I don’t love all the same stuff. Mom and I neither. But having fannish parents meant having all sorts of good stuff around to read. (It also means fighting over who gets the book next when a new one comes out) [14]
[lifeindisplacement]:
You whippersnappers wouldn’t have fandom without the grown ups you’re acting like don’t belong. So stop that. Rather than questioning why “old folks” are around fandom, try THANKING US for paving the way for everything you have now.

Oh, and listen to us when we tell you that some things, like mixing fandom & the people who create the thing you’re fandoming over (aka constantly talking about shipping to the people on the show… I’m looking at you, Teen Wolf & Supernatural fandoms), are a BAD FUCKING IDEA. We know what we’re talking about.

Kids today. [15]
[kyburg]:
*laughs* Daily Dot just did a story on “getting fan fiction wrong” and debunked this so much better than I have time to do today - .

The corker was they used a bit of Starsky & Hutch art as an example by Connie Faddis that she did for a story Marian Kelly did - Connie was in her late thirties at the time she did it, and Marian was in her fifties. THEN. Which is, um, 1981 or so. Marian was still writing when she passed at 80 a few years back, and I miss her terribly.

I was the kid of the group back then - I’d just turned 21. Like, at Zebra Con that year.

The whole age thing is bunk - ageism is a thing, don’t get me wrong but for you? Sweetie, don’t turn your head over it. Everyone’s been every age at this sort of thing - you don’t have an expiration date, trust me. [16]
[urrone]:
Honest to fucking god I want to make out with this post, it’s so great. [17]
[grrlgeek72]:
I agree with the original posters. I’ll be eligible for Medicare in a couple of months. If anything, I’m worse now than when I was 27 and saw Star Wars five times. I certainly have more time and money to indulge in my hobbies. Hell, I’m considering going to DragonCon next September, and maybe even going in costume. Maybe as Jabba the Hutt, since I need a mobility scooter to walk more than 50 yards or so. [18]
[soubrettina]:
Seriously, though, I guess if I ever feel ‘why am I still here?’ it’s because part of me is saying 'am I still not too busy for fandom?’ Except that’s still nonsense. My dash is full of people who have college courses, proper jobs, husbands, kids, houses, busy times going out and getting pished, all that stuff. (Hell, if Taylor Swift, famously, has time for Tumblr…) I don’t know how they fit it in either (my activity seriously flagged this week while I was in a show and working at the same time- working 16 hours a week, that is), but they most definitely do [19]
[marquise8ossyfangs]:
As someone who more often than not is generally too old for most fandoms, i’m not denying that you can be any age and be into something.

The thing is, the older you are - the more likely people are to convince you by some means it’s incorrect. Yes I know, ageist. Hear me out though, I’ve just turned 29 and am in a fandom of mostly those around the ages of 13-17. Do you know how awkward it makes things doing conventions? At one side of it, i’m at least female so people aren’t as quick to jump the gun about potential lewd intentions but.. it’s things like this where you know a general demographic, know how people will often react, and just generally that idea of feeling old? Thats what all this comes down to about it honestly being kind of off putting. To try saying you can be any age and into something when those who feel they are the correct age fan base for that thing are telling you: “Well thats cute and all buuuuuut..” or constantly hearing, “GOSH! I’d NEVER thought you were -THAT- old!” You get so used to hearing it, you eventually give up. I’ve had people flat out range from the line, “Well what if we have to tell you to do something!?” to “Okay no one do anything, they’re an adult” Like…??? It’s disheartening, simple enough. Guess it goes back to being ageist in the end but that’s the main thing that i feel makes a lot of us not want to be bothered with it. That and the difference in age also resembles difference in maturity.

Or so i’ve noticed. [20]
[fiercehumbleandgathered]:
WORD. Fandom was my safe space growing up - I lived for the words and wisdom of women who were in their 30’s and 40’s, who wrote GORGEOUS fanfiction. I learned so much about relationships from their writing and found other fandoms in my 20’s that expanded my horizons, stretched my thinking, introduced me to new concepts - and plenty of the authors were a good 10-15 years older than me. And those of you who are now in the opposite position as me, I hope that someday you serve as guides and mentors for young people your age. Fandom involvement is paying it forward, as far as I’m concerned. :) [21]
[tangleofgarlands]:
Lmao remember when I thought I would be done with fandom after high school, and I thought it was pathetic that people in their late 20s (LATE 20S OMG THEY WERE ANCIENT) were still in fandom? LMAO younger self here’s a pat on the head for your naïveté.[22]
[pheobelike]:
All true.

I didn’t go to a convention until last year, well into my 30’s. God, I wish I’d done it before but I didn’t have the confidence to even suggest it.

As I’ve grown older I give a lot less fucks about what people think of my hobbies. And that makes them even more enjoyable. [23]
[ladycynthiana]:
I’m delighted to share my fandoms with people half my age and twice my age (though I don’t know any of the latter for sure yet). [24]
[madamedevideoland]:
This is something I feel I’ve internalized and have to unlearn because I catch myself thinking like this from time to time. [25]
[tertiarywanderer]:
Uh, I’m 30 basically right now. I tell the bitches (read: friends, family, perspective boyfriends, etc.) all the time. Basically, if they have an issue they better stock up on tissues… because I don’t care and I’m mean about it. True story. [26]
[sweetavidyajones]:
I recently cross posted this from my primary tumblr. The part about enrichment going both ways is totally true. Sometimes I feel like the Ghost of Christmas Future on this website but on the flip side, people half my age have given me language to talk about my identity that I’ve desperately needed my whole life and inspired me to do it publicly with their courage. And that happened because I am an adult hanging around tumblr because of my fandoms. [27]
[joyful-voyager]:
So right on. I grew up a geek, married a geek, and we’re now middle-aged geeks raising a teenage geek. Fandom is life, and FOR life. [28]
[yappatan]:
Just try and stop being a big ol’ nerd when you get older. Spoilers: it probably won’t happen. I work in an office full of them and we all range in age from 25-50+. There were many days during the summer where my coworkers went on for HOURS about ASOIAF theories. A lot of people game, read comics. We go to Calgary Comic con together. Everyone gets more responsibilities and other interests but that doesn’t mean they’re not geeks. It’s perfectly appropriate. [29]
[come-chaos]:
I once complained to my mother that none of my friends liked Tolkien as much as I did, and my mother replied “that’s because you’re a year younger than them”.

I was thirteen.

But most of my life, I have hung out with Tolkienists and Trekkers twice my age. I love my fandom friends, and if someone were to react strangely to those age differences I would stare at them as if they’d grown a second head. [30]
[starrose17]:
Absolutely. My mum is 64 years old, she has posters in her room of The Avengers, Hannibal, Star Trek, Merlin and Lord of the Rings. She sits and has marathons with me of the best fandom shows and films, like Supernatural, Vikings, Spartacus, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings etc, she collects collectables from her favourite shows, she goes to sci-fi conventions, she hangs outside the stage door of theatre performances to meet her favourite actors to get their signatures, she travels all over the place to visit places where her favourite movies were filmed, even other countries, she is exactly what we are all going to be like when we get to her age! Fandom has no age limit![31]
[ninemoons42]:
I’m 32, I’ve been in fandom since before I was in fifth grade, I am married to someone who is in fandom himself (how many times do you want to hear the we-met-in-a-conversation-about-late-‘90s-Gundams story, because I’ll tell it over and over again), and can we please kill this whole thing about old people can’t be in fandom, because. (Hell, my MOTHER is in fandom, in that way she has, please don’t ask me which one she’s been in for DECADES we’ll never get off the topic)[32]
[edanyeros]:
You will never be the oldest fan. I can guarantee that, even after you cross that threshold of 30.

I will always be older than you.

My mother is in her 60s (she BOUGHT fanzines back in the dark ages, when they were printed and curated and you mailed source material around to other fans) she raised me at sci-fi cons, reading feminist flavored genre novels, and dedicated family time to Star Trek: TNG.

My Grandmother is almost 90. She got enough in allowance (during the depression) from her grandmother to buy Detective Comics (before they became Batman. (FYI she liked Christian Bale in the part, but doesn’t think Affleck is really rugged enough. She’s still mad he doesn’t carry a gun anymore.) She forced my mother to watch Star Trek:ToS and Lost in Space and Dark Shadows and lots of other awesome stuff.

And my Grandmother was raised by her grandmother, whom I don’t know much about except she moved across the country in the 20s with a ER Burroghs pulp novel (one of the Mars ones) and was HEARTBROKEN when it finally fell apart. And she once characterized LoTR as a “a terrible bunch of Malarky.” She’s been in the ground for 40 years.

So, unless your a zombie who’s a 120 years old, you probably aren’t too old for fandom.

But you’ll have other problems instead. [33]
[razztazticffn]:
You’re too old for fangirling when the wi-fi doesn’t reach six feet underground. [34]
[mummabro]:
YES! I am nearly 47 and have become even more of a Fandom Geek in the last few years. My first convention was the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary in London. My 2nd one will be Asylum 15. I am in a position now to be able to indulge all of my obsessions, and I fully intend to do so. I was going to try for SDCC this year, but we have put it off until 2016 so I can do some smaller cons in the UK first.

I have always been a fan of various things - my first major obsessions included Stargate and Babylon5, but until I really got into Tumblr, Twitter etc I didn’t really have anyone to share it with. My adult daughter pretends to despair and calls me Supernatural Trash, but we get on like best friends more than mother and daughter because we also share some fandoms (Night Vale being one). She gave me my username as she said it describes me perfectly. She did the Dr Who con with me.

I am proud to be a Fangirl and I am proud of all my online friends no matter their ages. [35]
[printedsoot]:
Reblogging for the perfect gif, and also because THIS IS IMPORTANT. I was a wee babby nerd whose parents kept telling me i’d “grow out” of being a nerd and it TERRIFIED me because the only way i could see that happening was if I became a wholly different, extremely boring person. it was one of the things that made conventions so important to me: I found out that grown-ups were nerds too, and i still got to be ME when i grew up. [36]
[disdainfullady]:
Fandom is about loving something so much you have to find others to share it with. WHY would anyone want to grow out of that anyway? [37]
[doctordeadwizard]:
I love this! I’m 37 years old. I go to cons. I cosplay. I currently have three fandoms that I’m very proud of. What are you going to do about it? Nothing! This is who I am! Accept it or walk away! [38]
[cornmouse]:
Friendly reminder that your favorite fics? Chances are they’re written by fen over 30. A lot of the best fics in a fandom are written by older fen. Why? Because they’ve had more experience. So don’t judge a fan’s age or “appropriateness” in a fandom and then fawn all over their contributions. That’s stupid. I don’t really have a stone to throw in this argument and I don’t really care whether people think it’s okay for my friends and I to be in fandom or not, but I always LOLOL when young fen judge my presence in fandom in one breath and then rec & fawn all over my fic in the next. Like, really? Do you not see how hilarious that is? [39]
[toadarkgirl]:
Yeah getting closer to thirty; been in one fandom or another since I was AOL was the way to get internet; don’t see any of that magically changing in the next two/three years. Plus I shudder to think where I’d be without the exposure to social justice meta conversations that older fans exposed me to when I was in middle school/high school.[40]
[starli]:
Wow I like to joke that I’m too old for things but I didn’t know that there were people who actually thought you COULD be too old for being a nerd. [41]
[dansrusse]:
I was totally sure I would grow out of fandom for YEARS AND YEARS. And there were times that I pulled further away from fandom, got less interested, found other things to do with the bulk of my time. But I always came back.

And now I’ve been reading and sporadically writing fic for ten years, and I’m pretty sure that’s not gonna change. I’m more likely to write more fic then I am leave entirely, because why should I? I’ve also discovered a lot of BRILLIANT writers who are in their late 20s, mid thirties, and forties, and they have their LIVES together, they have jobs, and houses and wives, husbands, boyfriends, and they are OK, and that went a LONG way to making me feel OK about what I do - they’re OK, and they’re still here. Fandom is AWESOME and that’s the point, and if you ever start to think it’s anything less than awesome, well, you can walk away. But really, do you ever see that happening?

Don’t lie to yourself. [42]
[kimannebb]:
I sometimes “feel” old at some of the posts/drama, but I love fandom, doesn’t matter how old you are. I started in fandom about 15 years ago at 25 or so, and I’m still going strong, although with kids it’s harder. Fandom is for everyone, regardless of age.  :) [43]
[omglawd]:
Oh man, I didn’t even actively get into fandom until I was in my late twenties. I didn’t even know what fanfic WAS until I was 24. Didn’t write my first fic til I was 26 (maybe 27?). Of the fangirls I run around with, I’m the second-to-youngest. Also, four of the six of us are lawyers. Two of the six of us have kids. We are all well into our mid-thirties. THE ELDERLY OF FANDOM, UNITE. ;) [44]
[oddksm]:
I will forever remain a nerd, and as I grow older and earn more money my nerd-domaim shall increase tenfold! [45]
[mustangsally78]:
I love the point when you have used up all your fannish fucks and just smile at the fanwars because you have seen it all before. And know that all the fan temper tantrums don’t mean shit. [46]
[edgeofoctarine]:
The idea of outgrowing a geek/fannish stage is just completely bizarre to me. Both of my parents and all their siblings are geeks. Basically all the family friends we hang out with are geeks and we do gaming things with them fairly often. I’m talking about real, live, “adult” people with jobs and children and spouses and hobbies like wine tasting, dinner parties, and kung fu (my aunt and uncle and their kids all do kung fu, partially inspired by A:TLA). They also play Bioshock Infinite, collect comics, run D&D campaigns, help organize conventions, and watch many of the same shows that many of the younger people on this site do.

There is no fandom age cap, that’s silly.

My parents were in the SCA and went to conventions quite a bit. My mom is still fairly involved in fandom (in fact she started reading manga about, oh, a decade ago, and is really into certain series) while my dad is a bit more passive and just enjoys playing games and reading whatever books and comics my mom and I bring into the house.

My parents introduced me to D&D and sci-fi/fantasy novels and conventions. My dad got in trouble with my mom for showing me Monty Python when she thought I was still a bit too young. We have a giant Star Wars poster in the front room along with framed novel cover art (Leo and Diane Dillon prints).

But yeah being an older geek is pretty awesome. My mom commissions art and backs Kickstarters and all that cool stuff. [47]
[wonderlandweird]:
Have any of you ever looked up the names of the most famous cosplayers in this motherfucking world? They’re around 10 years older than me and I’m considered old in most fandoms… [48]
[randomisjen]:
I am 43 years old & if someone tries to take my Cap’s shield/Bucky’s star hoodie from me, I will END them [49]
[lbann10-70]:
Might I also add this thought. Those of us who are older and are parents and have “adult” issues to face need some escape. We need to get away from reality for a while. Being a fan can be a huge stress reliever.[50]
[tardiswanderer]:
Ok, story time. I’m 28. When they announced that were bringing back Doctor Who in 2005 I hung on every tid bit of info that I could find until the day of airing. I remember watching the classic episodes when I was 6. They were shown on BBC 2, my nan would stick it on and I would watch silently while her and mum chatted away. Fast forward 12 years and the first episode of Nu-Who had just finished, I punched the air and was overjoyed they kept the old TARDIS sound and how the Doctor was still oblivious to the obvious but the cleverest person on the Earth. I watched every single episode, enraptured be each story. I discovered UK comic cons at 24 and started collecting autographs from Doctor Who actors and mingled with fans from different fandoms and smiling when I saw older folk having as much fan as the younger people. I moved out of the family home at 25 and remember putting all my Doctor Who merchandise together while I packed. At 27 I went to the preview screening of deep breath. I met people nearly 10 years younger than me and people much older too. We all had one thing in common, we all loved Doctor Who. One of the younger ones was going through the Big Finish Audios, one of the older ones ran a blog dedicated to reviews of each episode. We told each other about our first experience with the show. One of the older people had watched it from the very first episode back in 1963. Another fell in love with the show when Tom Baker came along. We discussed our favourite Doctors and the best part was there was no arguing, no ‘X is better than Y’ or “well, this writer is better than this one”. Just a group of people aging from 17 to 57 talking about how Doctor Who impacts them. So yeah, age really is not a factor. I’m hoping I’ll live long enough to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this show. I want to be that “cool 77 year old over there” and I want to able to regale my tales of how this show made me go on adventures and meet wonderful people of all ages.[51]
[skidaddle-o3o]:
All of the above. I think part of the stigma comes from media’s portrayal of older fans, but around places like tumblr, it also takes behavior into play.

At any age you can be passionate about your favorite characters, ships, etc. But when people go into rabid flame wars, screaming at one another to go die or whatever bs, time to own up to those extra years and take the high road. Defend your point without resorting to nasty insults and shredding their esteem, because part of being adult means being aware that the world is a pretty big place, with all kinds of people, and you have no idea what’s going on in the life of the person you’re about to verbally beat into.

Age shouldn’t mean giving up your fandoms, but it does mean gaining some responsibility. [52]
[unsayablethings]:
I always feel kinda wary talking to you on tumblr if you’re under about 24, in case people think I’m Being Weird, but yeah, it’s bullsh*t that you stop enjoying games etc as you get older. Like what you like! [53]
[bugsieplusone]:
The idea that getting older, and enjoying things only ‘age appropriate’ is ridiculous and insulting. What does that mean? I’m now only allowed to play mobile games and enjoy tv shows like Poirot and Midsommer Murders? (Ha they’re awesome too) Through fandom I’ve finally met a bunch of lady gaming nerds who are my age or close to my age that I don’t need to explain myself too (I’m mid forties). They understand. I have one friend in her 60’s who loves to play games, does she need to stop and just sit in on a rocker cradling her grandkids? Being young is about the heart and spirit, the fact that it exists in an ageing body is nothing to be ashamed of because it’s irrelevant. [54]
[nekonomikon]:
Amen. I used to think that I would “grow out of” obsessing over characters and ships and participating in all of the online stuff when I “became an adult”; here I am at 26, still going nuts over that stuff, except now I give considerably less fucks. I used to keep my fandom participation a secret, I would play dumb and talk about it to almost no-one outside of the internet. Now I’ve embraced it, and can actually afford to buy figures and other merch (not to mention I’ve moved myself to the ultimate fan wonderland – I could walk literally down the street and buy doujinshi if I wanted. Not saying that Japan totally embraces the otaku lifestyle, but goddamn does it cater to it.) Kids, it only gets better! I hate this idea that an older person being so interested in something is considered “spoiled” or “weird” – are we supposed to lose our thoughts and imagination as we age? Fuck that. [55]
[nonajf]:
Comes from the idea that fandom equates to childishness. Nope. Don’t fall for that BS. [56]
[porticos]:
Wtf??? Who thinks their little girl panties gives them the cache to say who can and can’t engage in fandom for any reason?? Twirl your pigtail, suck your lollipop, and stick it up your ass! Anyone who thinks anyone is too old to be on tumblr, or go to cons, or gush over their otp, or enthuse over their fandom, is a pretentious twit who needs their wet little behind wiped and then smacked. Callow bitches. Okay, the mere idea incensed me and I blew; your response was so much better and completely valid. Heck, a lot of our fan culture values were first established by 40/50 year old women writing and sharing (through MAILED fanzines!) back in the day; like the good ol’ Trek and the Starsky and Hutch fandoms, to mention two that helped light the early flame. And how do I know? Cause I heard the stories from those older ladies when I first stumbled into online fandom. Fandom is only for young girls and uber-nerd boys and men? What twat. [57]
[puddlejumper38]:
Just want to say: Peter Capaldi and David Tennant. I’ve heard that David Tennant actually gatecrashed the BBC studio to get his first role in the doctor who audiobooks. [58]
[majesticduxk]:
Yep. This is what I said (but better expressed!) the other day. If you think some one is too old to be a fan you have the problem. [59]
[mirenithil]:
it’s also worth pointing out that the enormous majority of the very best fanfic is written by fans who are out of college, and in many cases, they’re a lot of years out of college. [60]
[lizerd70]:
THANK YOU! As a relatively new fan of advanced age (59 in 2 weeks) it’s very nice to see a comment like this. [61]
[benedictervention]:
This! Just fucking ALL of this. Let me tell you about a friend of mine. She’s older than me, a LOT older than me, and still a fan of many of the same things I am. She loves Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit… She writes fanfic, including slash, about her favourite characters and actors, and it’s bloody good fanfic if I’m honest. She interracts with people online, making new friends in the process and having a whale of a time.

Want to know how old she is? It might surprise you to know she’s just celebrated her 84th birthday! Yes, that an ‘8’! Eighty-four! I aspire to be like her when I’m that age! I really do! She’s my role model and she’s older than my mum!

Oh, and this weekend she’s off to see the Battle of the Five Armies… in 3D! I’d love to see the staff at the cinema when she asks for a ticket for that one! [62]
[lemonsharks]:
SERIOUSLY. All of this, all of it! tagged: #also the wee babies saying things like fandom is inappropriate after a certain age #those people should maybe work out their fears about aging #about growing up #about passion and enthusiasm and things that bring them joy #they should work those things out with a mental health professional #as soon as they are able #the college counselling center is a good place to start if you’re 18+ you get anonymity from your parents #28 in 10 days and still in fandom #this june marks my 11th year in fandom #I’m expecting I have another 40 or 50 years left in me [63]
[branewurms]:
wait, there are KIDS saying fandom is inappropriate after a certain age?! WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING TO OUR KIDS. back in my day (she grumbles while waving a broom about in a threatening manner) kids got ANGRY when they were told their interests were “childish” or “just a phase” and other such nonsense. y'all need to get your shit together. you’re supposed to be rebelling against the yoke of conformity! who ever heard of a teenager/college aged person happy to be condescended to about their interests! TL;DR - everything in the tags above, yes, do that.[64]
[foolmeetwice]:
exactly. It’s so fucking laughable. I’ve seen posts asking “like was there fandom before tumblr?” or some shit. These kids actually think they invented fandom. Isn’t that rich? (I’ve long come to realize that tumblr is rich with the stupid)[65]
[radagasming]:
YES. Posts like this make me very happy. They relieve me a bit of the fear that as soon as I reach legal age, my whole life is going to be one dark, joyless pit of having to be serious and mature. Adults and especially old people having fun is the best thing ever to me. They give me hope. So much hope. Thank you.[66]
[addignisherlock]:
honestly I love it so much to when I know people who are much older than me, or when they’re already parents or grandparents even, and I see them nerd out over the same things I love. Like seriously, nerdiness transcends age boundaries. No matter if we’re in different phases of life, high school, uni, working, parent, grandparent, whatever. Despite that age difference, we’re still the same once we’re all brought down to the same level of nerdiness when we geek out over the same thing[67]
[lobelia321]:
second to this: It’s fucking delightful to meet someone who’s 30 years older or younger than you are and wants to write an epic about your ship. Fandom is for life, not just for youth. (I was 40 when I finally discovered it. Have never looked back. All that OP says. ALL.)[68]
[dieseldaisy]:
This is super important. My teens and twenties were kind of miserable. I’m just starting to come out of the darkness now and I’ll be damned if someone tries to keep me from liking what I like the way I like it because of how many times I’ve gone around the sun.[69]
[prolongedstabbing]:
Fandom would frankly suck without all the more adult/mature fans. To me it seems like they’re often the ones who are the coolest, funniest and contribute the most to the awesomeness. It’s so great that people of different ages can come together and enjoy fun! [70]
[kailthia]:
This is 100% true. Some of my favorite pieces of fanwork (art, fic, what have you) have come from people who are in their thirties, forties or (gasp) their fifties or sixties. And some of of my other favorites are from fifteen-year-olds. The most important thing is enthusiasm. And really, for me personally, it was my older relatives that got me into fandom. Watching Star Wars with my Dad, Star Trek and Doctor Who with my mom and my grandma - and all three of these people are old enough to have followed these media since they came out, nursing their love of those universes for decades. Hell, it was my mom that got me in to Richard Armitage by making me watch the Vicar of Dibley. Getting older doesn’t mean that you’re any less of a fan. [71]

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