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Deeper topics in "all ages/general audiences" media.

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  • Deeper topics in "all ages/general audiences" media.

    So with the talk of a Buffy reboot floating around for a few years now and a post of another old fandom of mine getting my gears turning recently, I've started to wonder a bit about what that would be like for new younger fans to wade into the decades-long discourse around the show. Now, Buffy/Angel are aimed at somewhat of an older teen/young adult audience, but not everything is. And those on the younger side may still wonder in. New fans of Harry Potter are always starting out. But with the recent JK Rowling transphobic controversy, I could see how it would be confusing, upsetting etc. For a new younger fan to see people swearing off the series. For reasons and concepts that might be something they've never even heard of before.

    Obviously some of this is one parents to monitor/control what their kids have access to, but for those of us in the fandom spaces what role-if any-should we take here? Another of my fandoms, Avatar the Last Airbender has one of it's main character's father is the main villain. When the character was 13, the father burned almost half of his face off leaving a giant scar. This is later called out as "cruel and wrong" but never given the label abuse. Later canon comics explore what happened to this character's mother. Turns out it was an arranged marriage and there's light hints of possible physical spousal abuse as well (he is clearly emotional abusive in the text of the story). The mother had later done some things fans don't agree with and this kicked off reams and reams of debates about consent, victim-blaming etc. That would be some pretty heavy discussion for adults let alone the target demographic of a show with a Y-7 label.

    As time passes fandoms age and media that does try to be for general audiences and/or hints at deeper topics obviously wants it discussed and younger fans will learn about these topics eventually. But should there be a bit of a line for where and when these topics are discussed? But I can also see how that can lead to gatekeeping. On the other hand, I wouldn't necessarily want or expect a new possible Spuffy fan in Season 4 to go through a 5000 word discourse over Seeing Red right away either.

    Thoughts? Maybe I'm just way off base. If you want to see what inspired this post, a story about the current arc of a children's book series labelled for ages 9-12. It's really quite a journey in of itself. The only thing I would dispute is they aren't anthropomorphized or humanoid...they're just cats.
    3.3k votes, 352 comments. Introduction Most people floating around the fandom areas of the Internet have probably heard of Warrior Cats. past post …

  • #2
    It's difficult isn't it but I think that generally you'd rely on people to start at the beginning and build up their knowledge. But then I'm obsessed with chronology. Still I think people who are introduced to BtVS perhaps through the new YA novels being discussed are likely to start at the beginning of the series if they decide to watch the original and not as likely to want to wade through a huge debate on an episode they haven't even watched yet.

    Equally, I think new Harry Potter fans would read the books and watch the films and only when they become more 'serious' fans might they start googling and seeing the controversies. Hopefully, reading what was originally said and forming their own perspective rather than being totally led by potentially extreme sides of debates. As you say, there's a responsibility on the adults specific to the children to try to make sure they are seeing appropriate material and discussing tougher topics alongside things they watch and read.

    I'll have a look at the Warrior Cats link, I haven't heard of it.


    • #3
      I have no deep thoughts about your original question at the moment, but just wanted to thank you for the Warrior Cats link DanSlayer . I had never heard of that book series before, and that post was a really fascinating read!


      • #4
        Stoney : True, though from experience it is quite easy to get spoiled online or see some hot button topic pop up pretty quick. It's great for finding a community of your fandoms but in can be a lot of information to take in and could even alter your perspective quick drastically. That can be either good or bad.

        Double Dutchess: Yeah it's still ongoing, pushing 100 books soon, with no signs of slowing down; 8th arc already confirmed to start next year and official merch has started to be released as well. I feel like that has to be some kind of record. And the next few books after that post have actually gotten darker in some aspects. If you don't mind the motion cam and can pause to read what's on her head, this is also a fun little video about the fandom:

        It was one of my first fandoms, so I'll always be fond of it. They once said they can get away with almost anything except addiction because they can't think of a good cat metaphor for it. The characters can also "get married" and have kids and still be directly involved in the plots, a bit of a rarity in kids' media. There's flaws yes, but being jointly written from the start lets them keep it going with new ideas/fresh eyes. There are adult fans that keep an eye on it/the fandom. And it's "technically" in the real world, not a fantasy one; so I think the kid in me likes to imagine what if.
        Last edited by DanSlayer; 04-08-21, 11:46 PM.


        • #5
          DanSlayer I suppose it depends a lot of how you're accessing fandom. I am really spoiler adverse and have managed to stay over 90% unspoiled for some fairly popular/well known shows and have perfected glancing past details when something is being discussed. So the outlook of the individual and what they're accessing online fandoms for when they are first looking at a show will matter. I probably wouldn't look up any online fandoms until I'd seen the main show because I'd want to avoid spoilers.

          Those that don't mind being spoiled and do see comments that give details about major plot points could still change their views when they get to see it for themselves. But it could certainly impact how they view them. I'd still assume that they would come with some established knowledge/opinions though if they are spending time looking into a fandom. It's more likely I'd assume that they've already been caught by it to some degree?

          Ah, I think I have heard of Warrior Cats before. Probably from you mentioning it.