So, originally I was going to stick to my usual programming of ‘one post every few days…maybe’, but I’ve had this topic on my mind for a while.
I know it’s not just me that’s thought about this. No matter what fandom you enjoy – anime, video games, comics, or hell, your favourite band. There seems to be some mythical, unspoken rule that once you hit the ripe old age of 18, you need to leave all that ‘childish’ pish in the past. God forbid you graduate university with these interests; what are you, a man-child?
But where has this idea come from? Who decided that being an adult, and having hobbies and interests have to be mutually exclusive? Or that there could be such things as having childish or adult interests?
I’ve been into fandom for a while. The first example I can think of where I actively participated in discussion with other fans (since my shrine to The Incredibles when I was 7 doesn’t really count) was when I was about 11, and I was obsessed with the band McFly. This lasted for about 10 years (and ongoing!), but recently I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to why I fell in so deep. I now look at McFly fondly as my ‘depression obsession’, as they provided me solace and distraction from my own poisonous thoughts as a teenager.
Not my room.
The same logic, albeit less extreme, can be applied to any fandom. Being in a fandom, or just being a fan of something can bring so much happiness to an individual. They may really need the boost, or maybe they (like everyone else) just want another hobby to enjoy. Why should we shame someone for liking something that makes them happy? Are we shaming sports fans that can be as old as 80/90 years old that go insane over their favourite teams, and are brought that same happiness when their team win?
Besides, in my opinion, the older you get, the more fun being in fandom becomes. For a start – you no longer have to rely on ‘Oh, I don’t know, I’ll ask my parents…’ when it comes to going to conventions, or buying something you love. The big downside with being an adult is that more often than not (unless you’re incredibly blessed) is that you have to get a job. Boo. However, the only reason anyone works is so they can make that sweet, sweet money to buy the things you love. It’s an amazing feeling to know that all your hard work paid off, and you can finally get everything your little fan heart desires.
This isn’t my photo, but it felt so good to buy this for myself!
The other part of being an older person in fandom is that whilst there is definitely still a portion of fandom (particularly with anime or anything that has aspects that can draw in children), the ones that you’ll meet at conventions and the sort are more likely to be around your age, or older! I’m 21, and attended my first proper convention in March (cosplaying as Kamina from Gurren Lagann, no less). Whilst I was initially scared to death of cosplaying and representing myself as an anime fan in the big wide public, and not just to my friends, these fears were soon extinguished. There were people of all ages, some even older than my parents, who were embracing their nerdy side. I saw enough Grandpa Goku’s and men older than my parents cosplaying The Last of Us to never worry about aging ever again. With all these people your age brings new friends! God knows it gets more and more difficult to make friends as an adult (Source: ask any adult), but when you’re both very passionate about similar avenues, it’s more likely that you can add another friend to your circle. I’ve made countless friends through sharing a love for an anime (shoutout to My Hero Academia and Hunter x Hunter for having such crazy and passionate fandoms), and of course, if I’d decided to quit it all and be a ‘boring’ adult once I left university, I wouldn’t have met such awesome people.
I guess the moral of this rant is just…don’t be ashamed of what you love. There’s no expiry date on the things you love. If people that are the same age as Def Leppard can still get in the pit at a Def Leppard concert, you’re more than okay to buy that figurine you were eyeing up, or buy the life-sized poster of your favourite idol. As with everything, your happiness comes first, and you should be proud to love what you love, whether you’re 12, 21 or 51.
And hell, if that isn’t enough to convince you – scientists say that being part of a fandom is good for you!
Anyway, that’s my thoughts on the topic. What do you guys think? Have you ever experienced any prejudice for any of your hobbies, whether it be anime, games, or anything at all? When did you start participating in fandom?
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Until next time!