Books, Movies, TV

What’s a “Guilty Pleasure,” Anyway?

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Since I was a little kid, I’ve had an obsessive personality when it came to books, movies, and TV shows. Caught between my older and younger sisters, you could also say my taste was eclectic when it came to the things that my peers were paying attention to.

And for some reason that is still beyond me, people have constantly used this trait as a way to taunt me. When I was little, I read too much Harry Potter. I was still watching Lizzie McGuire when everyone else graduated to Laguna Beach. In high school, it was absolutely ridiculous that I listened to the Jonas Brothers, and why in the world am I currently obsessed with One Direction? As if it was something that could infect the people around me, my “bad” tastes have been the target for teasing for as long as I can remember.

As an adult, I couldn’t care less what people have to say about my interests. And though it never extensively bugged me much as a kid, it did make me feel embarrassed whenever people asked me to play my iPod or started talking about what they watched on TV the night before. Any interview I watched with a celebrity would include the question, “whats your guilty pleasure?” and for a while it felt to me like everyone was on the same page: you could like whatever you wanted if it was popular, or if it wasn’t popular you could admit that it wasn’t cool and feel bad about it, or it was cool because it wasn’t popular. Plain and simple.

But if thats the case, then what is pop-culture? If everyone is going to either go along with the often-trivialized mainstream media that defines our society or hate it for everything that it is, than what is its point? Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t movies and TV shows made for people to think, and for people to enjoy themselves? Sure, the making of films is becoming all about making money (which is an entirely different post all together), but I can’t be the only one who turns on the TV or opens up a book to at least learn something. Whether that “something” is educational, thought provoking, or just something else I’ve learned makes me laugh, it seems like it should be all about just enjoying yourself.

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Which brings me back to my original point. Harry Potter, apart of the mainstream pop-culture since the 90’s, is something that made me happy and made me want to read as a seven year old. Lizzie McGuire, one of Disney’s most popular shows, gave me a role model in Hilary Duff. And One Direction’s music is catchy as anything, and they’re talented, and cute. Who cares? Why has it been put in our heads that we should feel guilty for liking something that someone distributed for widespread enjoyment or education? As long as it’s not hurting anyone, and as long as any problematic issues are being acknowledged, then why should a third party be given the right to make me regret something that makes me happy?

I’m not saying that I walk around forcing the people around me to dissect the Jonas Brothers break-up with me, or bring up High School Musical in job interviews. But I am saying that this whole “guilty pleasure” idea needs to stop. Stop feeling guilty about the things you like! If people take issue with the things that make you happy, then they’re probably just jealous their taste isn’t as original as yours.

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