Ah, fanart. Also known as the art that girls make.
Sad, immature girls no one takes seriously. Girls who are taught that it’s shameful to be excited or passionate about anything, that it’s pathetic to gush about what attracts them, that it’s wrong to be a geek, that they should feel embarrassed about having a crush, that they’re not allowed to gaze or stare or wish or desire. Girls who need to grow out of it.
That’s the art you mean, right?
Because in my experience, when grown men make it, nobody calls it fanart. They just call it art. And everyone takes it very seriously.
It’s interesting though — the culture of shame surrounding adult women and fandom. Even within fandom it’s heavily internalized: unsurprisingly, mind, given that fandom is largely comprised by young girls and, unfortunately, our culture runs on ensuring young girls internalize *all* messages no matter how toxic. But here’s another way of thinking about it.
Sports is a fandom. It requires zealous attention to “seasons,” knowledge of details considered obscure to those not involved in that fandom, unbelievable amounts of merchandise, and even “fanfic” in the form of fantasy teams. But this is a masculine-coded fandom. And as such, it’s encouraged - built into our economy! Have you *seen* Dish network’s “ultimate fan” advertisements, which literally base selling of a product around the normalization of all consuming (male) obsession? Or the very existence of sports bars, built around the link between fans and community enjoyment and analysis. Sport fandom is so ingrained in our culture that major events are treated like holidays (my gym closes for the Super Bowl) — and can you imagine being laughed at for admitting you didn’t know the difference between Supernatural and The X Files the way you might if you admit you don’t know the rules of football vs baseball, or basketball?
"Fandom" is not childish but we live in a culture that commodified women’s time in such away that their hobbies have to be "frivolous," because "mature" women’s interests are supposed to be caretaking, via marriage, children, and the lives of those within an imagined (generally nuclear) family unit: things that allow others to continue their own special interests, while leaving women without a space of their own.
So think about what you’re actually saying when you call someone “too old” for fandom. Because you’re suggesting they are “too old” for a consuming hobby, and I challenge you to answer — what do you think they should be doing instead?
The gendering of fantoms is fascinating. Just think about how sports fandom permeates our culture, with their cosplay and swag, then come at me and tell me discussing/critiquing/podcasting about media is weird.