Some of you may have already noticed this, but most of you probably haven’t seen the changes I’ve been making to The Elven Padawan site lately. Most of them have been minor, and going a bit slow, but it’s finally starting to take shape.
One things I’ve spent a lot of time on today has been this site’s “About” page. As you know, I’m making some changes around here, which kicked off with the introduction of my good friend and now also new staff writer for TEP, Audrey (if you haven’t had a chance to check out her first blog, please do so, especially if you’re also dealing with Rebels Hiatus struggles!). When I went to update that page, I realized that I wanted to go back and add some to let everyone know exactly what it is I’m striving for with The Elven Padawan. And when I got started, it all just started coming so fast. It’s definitely longer than most “About” sections on most websites now, but making an attempt at writing out exactly what my mission for this place is got some things going that I don’t think I had totally realized were inside me. They’re some things that have been bothering me for a while, actually, and I guess I just never got around to acknowledging.
By the time I was finished, I looked back over my work, and realized I had enough to do a short blog post on the topic, so I decided to share it all with you here. Besides, I don’t typically check out the “About” sections of websites I frequently visit, so I know many of my regular readers might not see this for a while, and I felt like it was worth sharing. It’s a topic/problem that has bothered me for a while, and my friend Kitten talking about a similar problem on her own blog not long ago reminded me of it.
At this point you’re probably just wishing I’d hurry up and tell you what problem I’m even talking about.
Ok, here it is: my age.
Yep. At first it may not seem like this makes any sense, as many people consider my age to be some of the best and most fun years of life. But I think you’ll see what I’m talking about when you read the bit I typed up for the “About” section. And just a quick note: this doesn’t just apply to the fandom community, please don’t take me wrong there. It’s just our world in general that does this, and, at least here on The Elven Padawan, I’m trying to show that we’re at least worth taking the time to listen to.
Ok, enough preliminary chatter, here’s the section from the new “About” page
How it All Got Started
The fan community is a huge place filled with all kinds of interesting people, podcasts, websites, fan publications, and YouTube channels devoted to expressing love for their favorite stories, and with a mission to spread the word to others. As I started to “get into” this world not too long ago, I noticed that it seemed that many of the main outlets for fans were mainly focused on offering to the adult audience. Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to the big name fan podcasts like Coffee With Kenobi and reading the sites like The Wookiee Gunner, and my not-so-likely-to-come-true wish is to someday be just as amazing as those guys.
We’re kinda stuck in the middle, ya know? We don’t fit in with the younger children anymore, but we don’t really want to be pushed up with the adults so fast. We want people to hear us out as we are, and not tune us out because of our age. Our thoughts and perspectives are often different from any others you’ll find in the community, because we have the unique advantage of seeing both sides: we still get caught up in the coolness of those dogfights and unrealistic battle moves, but we can also see the depth of what drove Anakin to the Sith and understand the importance of his final act of redemption. That’s a big part of where the “Padawan” in The Elven Padawan’s name came from – in the Star Wars universe, “Padawans” are Jedi apprentices, typically in their teen years, and ranked higher than “Younglings” (children who are still learning the basics of how to hold a lightsaber and channel the Force) but lower than “Jedi Knights” (Jedi who have graduated from apprenticeship by completing their studies under the guidance of a Jedi Master and making their way through specific challenges known as their Trials).
And we want to be heard. We want people to listen to what we have to say without filtering it through the lens of “They’re just a kid”.
When I started to come across all the amazing things so many others in this fandom had done, I wanted a way in. Podcasting seemed like the perfect venue for my talents, for, as anyone who knows me can tell you, I love to talk. But I also love to write, and I knew that any halfway decent podcast needs a website, so I decided to go ahead a make it a joint product, a podcast and a fansite/blog. But when I got started, I began to worry about something: would I be able to get a fair chance at getting my voice heard? When some random person turned on my podcast or clicked onto my site, would the first thing they see be some random teenaged girl who was obviously overreacting about something, causing them to change to some other program or close the tab and read some other blog?
In short, I knew really wanted to get involved, but I was worried that my age would affect anything I tried to do within the fan community, as it so often does in so many other areas. With my endeavors with The Elven Padawan, I’ve worked hard to break that stigma, and to get people to accept me on the same level as they would a fan who graduated college a decade ago. I don’t just want teens and young people reading this blog or listening to the podcast, I want it to be enjoyable and stimulating for all ages. But I want to make this a place for those who are like I was, who feel stifled or just apathetic in the fandom because of their age. Fangirls and fanboys of all ages are welcome here, to have their thoughts and get their voices heard regardless of their ages. At a time when the topic of representation seems to be so big within fandoms, I’m striving to make sure my group doesn’t get lost in all the clamor. I’m still new to this whole thing, and I’m still trying to figure out what in the galaxy I’ve gotten started here, but I would be honored if you would join me as I try to find my place in the fan community.
- Shay, creator of The Elven Padawan
Like I said, it’s not just fandoms that are this way, and I’m not trying to blast any particular people over this. It’s just our world in general, and it’s just the way things are. I find it all over the place, and it just kinda bugs me.
And please don’t think I’m some kind of anarchist coming up over here, ready to take control and proclaim that teenagers and college students should be in charge of the government and everyone should bow to our wishes. I understand we don’t have the experience of adults, and we’re often emotional and get misguided and can be naive and immature at times. That’s the way God made us, and it’s why he gave us parents and other adults in our lives to help us not totally ruin the world before we’re in our thirties. But we have a unique perspective on the world, and He gave us that, too.
All I’m trying to say is that I hope you’ll give us a chance. Many of you who read this site and listen to the podcast have already done that, and I thank you so much for taking the time to do so. (And I also want to say a big thanks to Future of the Force, for making me part of the team and accepting me in in spite of my age; it really means so much, guys.)
I’m praying that God will show me what He wants me to do with my life, and how He can use me in a big way, in spite of my age or any other limitations that I may have, and I hope you all will give me a chance on here.