Since '84 I've been a fan but I wouldn't consider my self a hardcore fan like most. I would say most hardcore fans have EVERYTHING Transformers but for me it's mostly figures. I'm married now (3yrs) with no kids (yet) and this hobby of ours still launches me into fantastic feeling. My old man refer's to it as all junk and I understand. He had a much harder life than mine and had very little being 1 of 8 brothers and 4 sisters so he couldn't understand the passion I hold for my hobby because he didn't have one of his own. My mother I don't think really payed too much attention but I think she may have found it silly over the years me still "playing with toys".
My other siblings know of my hobby and don't speak of it much but I think they too see me as a man that "plays with toys". My brother and I talk about it here and there but he can dig it considering his love for things Anime. My wife and mother-in-law occasionally rib me here and there calling them my "toys". Even though my wife I think wishes I would give it all up she know's about my passion both for her and my hobby. But my wife is the greatest though because for our anniversary she bought me G1 Overlord UK edition with box in good condition which was by no means a small thing for me.
"Figurines" though is different but better than called simply "toys" or "action figures". I personally refer to them as my "collectibles", old and new and that's that. I have my pride and dignity and wouldn't just openly share or discuss my hobby with just anyone to avoid looking like a total dork. And if I'm at the store and the checker is a young looking woman I will ask for a gift receipt to give the illusion.
People collect Hot Wheels, GI Joe, Star Wars, both men and woman. There are women and maybe men that collect Barbie's or stuffed animals but all are perceived by most as (technically) just toys. But no matter how others view our hobby or how you describe it, it belongs to you, and in the end that's all that matters...'nuff said!