You’re totally welcome on my lawn, but I wish you wouldn’t pee on the grass

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Title: You’re totally welcome on my lawn, but I wish you wouldn’t pee on the grass
Creator: olderthannetfic
Date(s): December 29, 2016
Medium: tumblr
Fandom: Meta
Topic:
External Links: Tumblr essay post, Archived version
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You’re totally welcome on my lawn, but I wish you wouldn’t pee on the grass is a tumblr meta essay written by olderthannetfic and posted to tumblr on Dec 29, 2016. It focuses on the role of ageism in fandom and the suppression of women's independent identities and sexuality.

Essay

I see a lot of young-ish fans on Tumblr being uncomfortable with the idea of “old people” still being in fandom. Even episode 17 of One True Podcast, “Stomping On Each Other’s Lawns - Generational Divides in Fandom”, which was trying to have people from both sides of “the generation gap” actually had fans in their early 20s and late 20s and referred to the fact that there were even some people in their 40s and 50s kicking around tumblr–acknowledging older fans while implicitly claiming they’re much rarer than in reality.

Tumblr is:

  • 13-17 - 15%
  • 18-34 - 41%
  • 35-54 - 29%
  • 55+ - 15%

There are plenty of very young people on tumblr. There are plenty of not-so-young people on tumblr. It’s quite a spread.

AO3 was proposed in 2007, almost a decade ago. The people who jumped on board to help build it initially were not primarily students. We were mostly adults with careers already; that’s what gave us the skills to take on a major project like that. A decade later, I am in my mid-30′s. Some are younger; many are much older.

There was that silly wank a while back about the X-Files supposedly being for teens the same way Buffy was marketed for younger people… only The X-Files was blatantly marketed for an adult demographic back in 1993 when it premiered. Twenty-something plus twenty-three years equals a fanbase in its late 40s. The venerable X-Files archive, Gossamer, was started by people who are now officially Old. Same with Fanfiction.net, MediaMiner, and all of the other great fandom infrastructure we’ve known and loved.

I hate that “The kids these days” shit. Young people are just as welcome in fandom as anyone else.

But I wish you guys wouldn’t sell yourselves short by thinking that you have to be ready to build AO3 when you’re a teenager and that you’re passé and must abandon all of your hobbies by 30.

Mainstream media is already going to tell you that adult women are required to take care of other people’s children instead of taking care of ourselves. Culture is already going to tell you that old women can’t have fun or seek pleasure, that women in general are suspect and can’t be trusted to read “problematic” books without being brainwashed.

Fandom is here to tell you that other people’s kids can be your friends if you both choose it, but you’re nobody’s free therapist, nanny, or censorship board. Fandom is here to tell you that you can backbutton when you want, but you can also read what you want, even if it’s “bad”. Fandom is here to tell you that you can enjoy your hobbies for the next however many decades until they carry you out feet-first.

Reactions/Reviews

reaction animated response by hawkland

[ceallaig1]:

I will leave fandom when it is no longer fun, thank you. And that doesn’t look to be happening any time soon. Why the F should the kids have all the fun? I see people my age and even younger who are so bleedin’ OLD because they forgot how to have fun. [1]

[drakkhammerwrites]:

I will be fucking 70 in June. Yeah. Seven. Zero. My wife is 61. We have been rocking fandom all our lives. Formally, since we first met and started going to Trek cons in 1975. Then Star Wars came along and brought sooo much fannish variety. We’re currently big time into The Hobbit, LOTR, Avengers, Supernatural, Being Human, The Almighty Johnsons, Grimm, Pixar, DreamWorks, anything The Rock & Vin Diesel do and, of course, Trek and Star Wars. Think you have to give up fandom when you hit 30? Bwhahahahha!!!!! [2]

[redsixwing]:

This post chimed for me.

I was at one of this year’s cons when a promising young cosplayer confessed that she wasn’t sure she was not too old for the hobby. I asked her age and it was 15 - less than half of mine! And she was sad because she might be aging out of something she enjoys.

I told her my age, and how long I’d been cosplaying, and tried to encourage her to keep it up. She was better than I was at her age and I’d hate to see her stop because of other people’s perceptions.

This from someone I thought was just getting started, and would probably start making even better things in the next 5 years. Not even 20 and “too old.”

Fandom is not reserved for any age group. My 10-year-old niece is not too young. My 60+ aunt is not too old - and yes, I’ve seen them both in costume on the con floor.

Keep on doing your awesome thing, please. It’s the willingness to do the fun things you’re Not Allowed To Do that makes this community different. [3]

[lakritzwolf]:

Age only matters when it concerns whiskey. [4]

[thatwasjustadreamm]:

Damn…. nearly a third of Tumblr is ‘my age?’ And nearly *half* is my age or older?

There were times when I questioned still being a ‘fan’ of literary, movie and TV franchises as a grownup - but I put that aside when I made the connection with sports fandom. If you can scream your lungs out for your favorite baseball, football, hockey team until you’re 90, who says you have to stop loving great stories and characters?

Of course then I realized why some people do think that way – it’s because of the elements of emotional or physical attraction many find in fandom. Apparently we’re expected to outgrow that, and be nothing but dispassionate husks after a certain age. Guess what? It doesn’t work that way at all.

Of course your particular tastes change over time. I can’t really get inspired by stories featuring mostly teens or 20-somethings anymore: Their struggles haven’t been mine for some time and I’m past worrying about many of the things that obsess us at that age. And now, men in their 30s and 40s make my brain sing, whereas Capt. Kirk used to strike me as handsome but kind of ….well…. fatherly, lol….

Yep, what appeals may change - but the appeal of fandom doesn’t have to, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. [5]

[skochius]:

I’m 24 and I’m starting to get those, “Oh, are you too old for that kind of thing…?” when I express a desire to my immediate family to see a superhero movie, or get a colorful t-shirt with Pikachu on it, or nerd out over my games.

And that’s pretty damn sad, honestly. Fun doesn’t have an age limit or restriction. If you enjoy fandom, then enjoy it, be you 13, or the 70 year old commenter above. Your life doesn’t have to cut off at 21, or 30, or 45, or when you get married and have kids.

Anyone who says otherwise is boring and not fun to be around anyway [6]

[writing2reachyou]:

I thought I’d grow out of it eventually but I’m in my 30s and still get ridiculous entertained by m/m scenes on the telly. And I’m loving it. [7]

[thuviaptarth]:

I started interacting with fandom in my late twenties and felt self-conscious about it; surely this was for younger people, surely I’d come to it too late. And then I discovered that one of the things I most valued about fandom was the friendship of my elders – women who became my friends because of my shared interests, but who also helped me often and casually, by example, with personal advice, with career advice, with discussions of sexism, with perspectives that came from experiences I didn’t have.

I also befriended and interacted with people who were my age or younger, and these friendships are also extremely important to me! But US society is arranged so that it’s pretty easy to socialize with your own age group. It’s not arranged so that you get to see a lot of examples of how older women live their lives or so that you can interact with them as peers. [8]

[michiru2042]:

I think we’re in the middle of a big cultural shift, actually. It’s really only in the past couple of decades that adults have gotten more open about reading comics, playing video games, going to cons, all that. My father, for example, was shocked to find out that adults still play video games the other day. Not judgmental, he’s a great guy, but genuinely surprised; he’d just never thought adults would do that. [9]

[femmenerdy]:

Intergenerational - and to a lesser degree, intercultural - female friendships are SUCH an integral part of my experience of media fandom (starting in the early 2000s when I was in my early twenties), I can’t imagine fandom without that aspect.

Looking back, it was such a big deal to me at that time in my life to befriend women my mother’s age & older who were so raucously, passionately invested in making their own fun - their own smut - their own space to be unapologetically geeky. [10]

[utlaginn]:

Almost 30 and over the past six months, I’ve undergone a rush of new creative energy from participating in a couple anime fandoms. It is damn entertaining and sometimes it is my reason for getting up in the morning.

If grown men can obsess and buy merchandise and bet money and yell at a screen on behalf of a group of men in tight pants chasing a football, grown women can certainly obsess over beautiful stories without shame. [11]

[kibbles-n-bitch]:

#fun fact gossamer was the first archive i spent time on before ff.net was a thing#kibbles n' bitch is old

[realpotztausend]:

There was a German Sherlock meeting last summer, and the age difference between the youngest and the oldest woman was about 25 years. For several hours we had a *lot* of fun and no one cared about the age. [12]

[lorelei-lee]:

Erst kürzlich…

Meine Freundin: meine Mutter wird nächstes Jahr 50 und wir…

ich: Moment. Stopp! Deine Mutter ist nur ein Jahr älter als ich? Ist dir klar, dass ich rein theoretisch deine Mutter sein könnte?

Meine Freundin: Ja, aber dann sagst du wieder so Sachen wie “und dann habe ich Twilight Lesezeichen gebastelt” und ich vergesse das ganz schnell wieder!

Fazit: Alter ist relativ. [13]

[ghelphaene]:

Fandom is fundom. I’m 32 and I love to make and look at fan art of all kinds. I have lots of things that I am glad to do (like taking care of my 2 kids and a full time job) that are requirements, but my Fandom is for my free time. It’s for me and anybody else who likes what I like. I love communities of people who can geek out on stuff they love without having to know each other personally. I don’t know what I’d do without tumblr and reddit and ao3. I love this stuff. It just makes me happy, plain and simple. [14]

[flamingoslim]:

I’m in the last 15%, still running archives, still running fan cons, still going to fan cons and pro cons (Wizard World Philly – weeeeee), still creating zines, Advent Calendars, and other fannish creations and having a ball doing it. Find your pleasure every day. There are enough people out there trying to take it from you. [15]

[lovethesnark]:

Also the original poster is being very kind but I just wanna say something real quick which is I’m 36 and I was around for the inception of AO3 and know three of its original founders and lemme just say this: We built this fandom thing into what it is, which you benefit from. And we built off of what was already in place by those that came before us. And you? Will build off of what we’ve given you. So…. don’t say ew, you’re old, that’s creepy. Say woah, that’s awesome, tell me things!!! [16]

[zoinomiko]:

Fandom is here to tell you that it’s 100% okay to put your own needs first. [17]

[pinknoonicorn]:

Fandom has actually given me and my nearly teen daughter a way to connect. On any given day the rows about life in general as she works out who she is can be fucking overwhelming but knowing we can sit down, put on the tv or just discuss a fan fic or fan work without any of that coming into it has been a relationship saver. [18]

[thedoctor-smith]:

|@#%^! ageism.

I didn’t join Tumblr to ‘fit in with the kids,’ I joined because I saw some of my favourite longtime interests being discussed and shared here, finding new life here. In turn, I found newer things, closely related to those interests. I enjoy being able to relate to a new generation through shared interests, fandoms, humour, etc. The autism community, in particular, has really come of age here and is so very welcome after too many years of zero connection in the wider world.

It is also one of the few places we can leave something of ourselves behind. So long as it is allowed to last, this is a place, like all the blog spots and social media sites, of public memory. What you leave here might last. Might delight or influence someone else. Might educate them. Might irritate the hell out of them. Right now, this very moment, you are adding to a time capsule.

Take it from Whitman (he would have Tumbled):

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. [19]

[livinginthequestion]:

How about not saying, old people think this, old people always do that, etc. You hate it, rightfully so, when old folks pigeonhole millennials, say things like ‘oh those damn stupid kids are ruining ______’, all that stuff. We all have things to give each other, to share together and grow.

I appreciate the comment that our presence can teach you that you can have your squee at any age, you can love what you love your whole life. And maybe we can teach you that the good ol’ Carrie-Fisher middle finger is your friend, and an appropriate response to bullshit.

Rock on, kids. I can show you how, and you can show me how you do it. I love you so much. [20]

[vintagetvfan]:

Yes, yes, YES and Amen to all this! Fandom is not something you grow out of, it’s something that grows with you. And ideally, if you have children, you nurture another generation of fans along the way. 😊 [21]

[kerstin1864]:

Age is just numbers. Sometimes I’m 5, and someimes 105, but fun is your own head-thing enjoy everything and don’t listen to the boring adults. I’ll be “adult” when I’m dead. I’m 57, female and I love fandom. [22]

[charmedrumbelle]:

I will be 50 this year. I’ve been a fangirl since I was about SIX, although I didn’t understand what that was till I was well into my teens. But this has been part of who I am probably since birth.

It constantly boggles my mind when young people (none of my followers of course) think that people over 30 doing fandom is weird.

What do you think, we get jobs and give up our hobbies? Sports fans don’t do that. Why should we???

Fandom is a culture. There is no expiration date on that. I’ll be 90 and still doing fandom stuff. Just try and stop me. [23]

[fandomisnotyoursafespace]:

Because, while there are certainly female sports fans, the hobby is considered a male one overall. On the other hand, here in fandom we’re mostly women. And Tumblr, despite the superficial layer of SJ, is misogynist as fuck. The underlying assumption is that women should drop everything of interest to us so that we can be “mamas” to total strangers who should have learned how to wipe their own asses years ago. And if we don’t want to do that, we HATE THE CHILDREN. [24]

[rosepetalsinthegrey]:

Late 30s & my fandoms have kept me going in hard times when everything & everyone else let me down. Proud to be a FanWoman for life!\ [25]

[flunkyofmalcador]:

35-54 demographic here. I saw Star Wars in 1977 in the theater and keep reading the books and seeing the movies. If I turn my head I see Horus Heresy fan art on my wall. I will never stop. Ever. [26]

References

  1. st/155167750474/youre-totally- welcome-on-my-lawn-but-i-wish- you ceallaig1.tumblr, 0161230172211/http://ceallaig1 .tumblr.com/post/155167750474/ youre-totally-welcome-on-my- lawn-but-i-wish-you Archived version
  2. tumblr.com/post/155165113037/ youre-totally-welcome-on-my- lawn-but-i-wish-you drakkhammerwrites.tumblr, 6nB4xeQRo Archived version
  3. redsixwing.tumblr, Archived version
  4. lakritzwolf.tumblr, Archived version
  5. thatwasjustadreamm.tumblr, Archived version
  6. skochius.tumblr, Archived version
  7. writing2reachyou.tumblr, Archived version
  8. thuviaptarth.tumblr, Archived version
  9. michiru2042.tumblr, Archived version
  10. femmenerdy.tumblr, Archived version
  11. utlaginn.tumblr, Archived version
  12. realpotztausend.tumblr, Archived version
  13. lorelei-lee.tumblr You’re totally welcome on my lawn, but I wish you wouldn’t pee on the grass - Don't dream it - be it!, Archived version
  14. ghelphaene.tumblr, Archived version
  15. flamingoslim.tumblr, Archived version
  16. lovethesnark.tumblr, Archived version
  17. zoinomiko.tumblr, Archived version
  18. pinknoonicorn.tumblr, Archived version
  19. thedoctor-smith.tumblr Something Chronic, Archived version
  20. livinginthequestion:tumbler Space between words, Archived version
  21. vintagetvfan.tumblr, Archived version
  22. kerstin1864.tumbler, Archived version
  23. charmedrumbelle.tumblr, Archived version
  24. fandomisnotyoursafespace.tumblr, Archived version
  25. rosepetalsinthegrey.tumblr, Archived version
  26. flunkyofmalcador.tumblr, Archived version