Brilliant, wonderful, excellent essay. Please click through and read it.
Brilliant, brilliant, excellent essay — with so many good points it’s hard to say where to start. I think I want to start by saying that, overall, I think the Internet is a fun and brilliant place for Fannish Women. Yes, you are absolutely right – attacking other girls for “not doing it right” isn’t what fandom should be about. I’ve seen the Gatekeeping too – both on and off line. (And off-line it’s sad because the loudest voices in the “not doing it right” camp are gatekeeping themselves right out of the “business” – frankly we’re getting older, and if you’re not welcoming the new fans, you’re going to go extinct. There’s a convention I know that has this problem.) Anyway, though, when I see young Cosplayers at a convention, or read fanfic on-line, or watch music vids, or read blogs and other Social Media — I know that the women, often very young women, but the women are at least DOING something. They are engaging with media and transforming it in a way that suits their own means. So somehow – snarky criticism of the fact seems unfair. The backlash against the anti- Comic Con-Cosplayer (the girl in the purple outfit with the green hair that someone labeled “trying too hard”) shows, to me, that others ALSO think it’s unfair. It’s important to keep in mind the difference between a fanfic written by a 12 or 13 year old — and someone who’s been around writing fanfic for 15 or 20 years. But it’s EQUALLY important to encourage the young fan. Suggestions for improvement can be made without being harsh or mean. It can be hard – but it’s possible. (Here’s a hint, if you want to help the younger fan improve their: fic, vids, costumes, etc — don’t write a critique when you’re tired or having a bad day, put it aside for a bit).
What would be a massive mistake is to “throw the Internet baby out with the bathwater”. Banning teenagers, and even pre-teens and teenagers from the Internet is not the answer. First, there’s a lot of positive things happening vis-a-vis teenagers and Social Media. Second, for isolated teens, whether it’s by geography, social standing, or anything – the Internet can be a real lifeline.