- Posted by Johanna on September 13, 2013 at 7:39 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
I found this essay by Madeline Ashby on the greying of Worldcon fascinating, particularly when she points out that “someday they’ll all be dead.” Such is the advice she gives to young women tired of being treated as interlopers by old-school fans who think all females in fandom are “fake geek girls”. Those backwards-looking, “conventions were better when it was just fifty of us in a hotel ballroom and no one ever talked about movies, let alone ones with vampires in them” types are older and yes, they’re going to be gone before the young women reading manga and watching Adventure Time and dreaming about Hulk and Hawkeye as buddies will be.
They’re trying to enforce boundaries out of fear. Now, you might think that those who were excluded and made fun of when young would be understanding of why that behavior is a bad idea, but humans are hypocrites, so we can’t rely on that to moderate their attitudes. Many grow out of it when they have a young daughter or niece and suddenly realize that they don’t want other people treating their darling as they did others, but not all of them will reproduce. So in the meantime, best to ignore them and keep on doing whatever you want to do.
Ashby quotes Robert Jackson Bennett:
The problem is, when the economy starts spreading money to the younger crowd, or when the Boomers retire or physically can’t attend, then certain industries and institutions and conventions – like WorldCon – are left in a hot seat. Your primary demographic is quite literally gone, and your younger one is alienated, because the programming and events there legitimately were not for them.
So conventions putting on Twilight panels or talking about comics for kids or struggles by underrepresented groups are doing the right thing by attempting to address demographics beyond the traditional older white guy. Girls star in works aimed at young adults and kids because those groups want to see more than the usual young white guy. Just like people, companies will get on board with these trends or die.
The comments thread at Ashby’s post is fascinating, giving a lot of different perspectives, including from convention vendors and comparing shows like Dragon*Con to Worldcon.