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The Importance of Sharing Our Pop Culture Loves With Younger Generations

Tony Stark and Peter Parker

(Marvel Entertainment)

Growing up, I had a brother who loved anything nerdy and made it his duty to share that love with me. It’s something I’ve always appreciated, because whenever something happens in the world of Marvel or Star Wars or DC or Star Trek, he’s the first one I talk to. It’s a love that hasn’t wavered. In fact, it’s only grown stronger as I’ve aged.

So, when it comes to my eight-year-old niece, I try to share that love. It helps because I’m weirdly the one she looks up to, but I realized something about our loves of pop culture: It’s important to share that love with those in our lives who are younger or don’t know them.

When my niece’s mother wanted to show her Star Wars, she kept calling me to ask about the series and explained that she wanted to have this journey with her—that she wanted to watch Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe so she’d always remember what it was like watching them with her mom, and I told her that that’s maybe one of the most important things I’ve learned since being a kid. I don’t think about what character I liked as a kid or how my tastes have changed, but instead, I remember what it was like going to the midnight releases with my brothers. So, for my niece to get to share that with her mom? That’s a perfect way of sharing these franchises together.

That feeling of wanting to call my brother hasn’t wavered. I never think it will. Even yesterday, I called him about my upcoming trip to Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge Star Wars park and asked him if he wanted me to make him a droid, and we geeked out at 11:30 PM about droids. So, the idea of my niece getting to have that with her mother is extremely important, but it’s almost more than that.

Her birthday is coming up (part of the reason I’m going to Galaxy’s Edge), and I get to introduce her to Spider-Gwen. I bought her a comic, she’s getting a Peter Parker Funko, and we’re going to watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse together because, like I said, it’s important that we share the things we love with the younger kids.

It doesn’t have to be nerdy or even entertainment-based; it’s just about sharing something you love with someone else. With my niece in particular, she’s like a sponge for anything I like and always has been. The last time I was with her, she just kept reading out all the Marvel movies just because she knew I liked them. So that love of something coming from her mom and getting to help share in that? I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life and, hopefully, my niece will too.

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Rachel (she/her) is an I, Tonya stan who used to have a poster of Frank Sinatra on her wall as a kid. She loves superheroes, weird musicals, wants Robert Downey Jr. to release a new album, and would sell her soul for Pedro Pascal as Kraven the Hunter. She is Leslie Knope and she's okay with that. Secretly Grogu's mom and Lizzie Olsen's best friend.