Some time ago now, I wrote a post on my Tumblr about how we’re dictated what to like and what to not like. Some less time ago, I wrote specifically on the pressure to enjoy certain books. Popularity + hype = pressure. You’ll be in the middle of a beloved book and you’re just not feeling it.
And so, I wanted to write about the flip side, with a smattering of the old Tumblr post, here is an updated post on the pressure to dislike things.
I like liking things.
Whether it’s shows, movies, books, these things have mixed together the right amount of awesomeness to make me go ‘Hmm, I like this’. What I’m saying isn’t new; everyone has things they like, things that make them happy. Things they love to talk about and completely immerse themselves in.
Entertainment is often put into categories by society; what we should like, and what we shouldn’t like. You don’t have to necessarily stick to the categories, but people often do.
Because if you don’t, well, time to get whacked by the judgement stick.
It’s something you see everywhere, but you don’t necessarily register. People are constantly judged and shamed for something so innocent as liking a thing. And so, because you know that this thing that you like will make people think they can just shit on you because of it, you start to call it a ‘guilty pleasure’.
A term I’m really starting to hate.
How is a guilty pleasure different from something you just like? Well, nothing, a part from the reaction you get from the rest of the world.
Fun fact; I like the Twilight movies.
I read the books, loved them, and then soon after, decided I didn’t like them. But when I’d first read them, that enjoyment was completely pure and innocent. I’d started reading them just before they became popular, and so didn’t have that view already pressed onto me. As I got older, yes, I realised they weren’t for me; I’d read Breaking Dawn and had felt betrayed. But then, the films came out.
These hilarious, car crashes of films. Films that were shot in beautiful locations, with fantastic soundtracks, and serious dialogue that you can’t help but laugh out loud to. At first, I felt ashamed for liking them; they’re not exactly high brow films, with stellar lines and deep, meaningful themes. The acting is fine, I guess, and the makeup the vampire characters wear is downright hilarious. If you don’t like them, I get it, and you have every right to dislike something. But if you decide to shit on a person because they like them? All I hear is a small person trying to lift themselves up by standing on the toes of others.
It’s really, really, not necessary.
I decided that no pleasure was a guilty pleasure (unless it was illegal). If it makes you happy, then how could it possibly be guilty? You don’t need approval by your peers or society to like something just because society looks down on it, or because you don’t ‘fit the category’ of people liking that certain thing.
I see this far too often when it comes to liking what you read. Having an unpopular opinion can be fun, but shitting on those who do has an impact on absolutely nothing. If you loved Twilight, 50 Shades of Gray, or One Direction fan fiction, then fucking own it. While you may acknowledge the problematic reasons for fictions such as these (romanticisation of relationships, shipping of real life people), if you enjoyed reading it, you are allowed that right. And you’re allowed to talk about it if you want.