*drags out soap box, adds glitter and then stands on it.*
Alright. So. I was going to write a post about how to get pictures you like but then I was browsing the Twitters while I was in line for tea and saw something that made my eye start to twitch. A hashtag showing up in some of the publishers and authors I follow (cuz, writer, yes.) making fun of teens via…
Now, most of the tweets are fine, and actually funny. They’re punching up at the society that tells us that we’re special and different and if we set our minds to it, we can be anything we want to. That’s bullshit due to societal factors. We can do things we love while making money at things we don’t, and that’s life.
Then there was the jokes punching down at teens and young adults. the ‘omgwhateven’s and the jokes about the new generation being lazy and superficial.
And that got my hackles up because eleven years ago, when I was in high school, the life I remember wasn’t just full of ‘omg will he ask me out?’s and ‘holy crap I didn’t study enough for this test’s. It was also full of ‘three students died in one year, one AT school’ and ‘oh hey you have a medical condition that’s not a big deal. No, wait. It kind of is. No, now it really is. To the OR!’ and dealing with survivorship issues when someone I knew didn’t make it through their medical issues.
That’s why I identify more with Katniss than these make believe teens in the hashtag who can’t even. Even though I’m lucky, well fed and not forced to kill people to survive, I remember the PTSD after my surgery, the guilt of being around when someone so much better than me (in my mind at the time) wasn’t. When I read the Hunger Games books for the first time, I had a protagonist that was dealing with similar issues that I had. I wish that the book had been out when I was seventeen.
I think, as we get older, that we tend to forget how big things seem to teens and younger adults. When we’re worrying about taxes and making rent, it’s easy to write off a teen’s problems as ‘less important’. But the big real-life-shit doesn’t wait until you’re 18 or 21 to start happening.
YA is a hugely important demographic/slice of the literary market that should be better regarded by those who are making the I-know-better-than-you jokes.
Those ‘omg-can’t-even kids’ are your future writers, editors and customers. They’re going to remember that your company wasn’t interested in them, and continue to believe it. This is a generation that doesn’t need traditional publishing. They just like it.
If they don’t like the content that you’re producing, they’ll make their own content via tumblr, indie games, or Archive of our own.
Fans like stuff, and this younger crop of fandom isn’t willing to play by the generational war rules that are stupid and out of date. So they’ll take their fandoms and cash and play in a space that’s more welcoming.
But what does this have to do with Cosplay?
Let me tell you!
Because Cosplay, like any fandom, is going to be going through some growing pains. There’s going to be some struggling with gatekeeping that we’re already seeing, and generation rift conflict.
The gatekeeping of ‘They’re just doing it because you want to be famous’ is one line I’ve heard already. Another is ‘Omg they sold out’. We don’t need the hipster-ism folks. Some people want to be famous for their hard work, and that’s okay. Some people want to make back money so they can keep doing what they love, and that’s okay too.
Generational rift/conflict is something we need to keep in mind when dealing with cosplayers and fans that aren’t in the same age bracket as us. Things were different back then, but they weren’t necessarily better. Just like how the future holds a lot of really cool shit, but won’t necessarily be better than where we are now.
Things only get better if we keep working to improve our community, and that’s something that we all need to do. For us, for our friends, and for those who are going to join this community in the future.
*steps down from box, to go make more tea*
What do you think? Have you run into any problems with the fandom community for being older or younger? Let me know.