I have notoriously bad taste in music. Not that all the music I like is bad, but I have been listening to the same music for about 15 years. I have no real interest in expanding my musical knowledge to included anything newer. I love 90s music and The Beatles and that is about it.
Oh, and I also love Taylor Swift. Now, most people would call Taylor Swift a guilty pleasure. Her music is not always synonymous with quality and when I mention her to friends of mine, they tend to cringe. The implication of calling Taylor Swift a guilty pleasure is that I should feel shame for liking her music. But I don’t. My taste in music is not something I feel the need to defend. I love Taylor Swift. Her music is fun. I like fun. Where is the issue here?
While writing this post, I am watching last night’s episode of Pretty Little Liars. This is one of my favorite shows. The target audience is teenage girls. I am a grown woman. I have seen every episode and have gotten several friends into the series. Do I feel guilty about the fact that I have spent almost 100 hours of my life watching this television series? No. A resounding No. When it comes to television, I will watch just about anything. I am not picky. Whether it is a series about a vampire/human love triangle or a sitcom about 20-somethings hanging out in a bar, I will watch it. I don’t care if the target audience is middle aged men or pre-teen girls. If it is entertaining, I will watch it. And admit it, you will too. The difference seems to be, I don’t feel the least bit bad about it.
Not every TV show I watch is an Emmy Award Winner. Not every book I read is on the short list for the Pulitzer Prize. But do I need to be ashamed of that? Absolutely not. In fact, why is it that Chick Lit and Rom Coms are so often considered guilty pleasures, when fratty, gross-out comedies are summer blockbusters?
Sure, there are some books I read that are a little more trashy than I would like my mother to realize. Not two weeks ago, I flat out refused to watch True Blood in mixed company. But these are not things I am ashamed of. In fact, that same series of books, I am responsible for passing around to half of the ladies in the last shop I worked in. I am not saying that my less than High-Brow taste is something I advertise. Nowhere on an online profile will you find The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig listed as my favorite book or playing Nancy Drew computer games as a hobby. This is not because I am ashamed, but because an online persona tends to be a highlights only situation. I don’t hide this information. These books are not hidden under my mattress. I am in no way embarrassed to be telling you this information now. I truly do not understand why I should be.
Why are certain things considered guilty pleasures while others are mainstream and therefore ok. Why is my affinity for Taylor Swift embarrassing, when Daft Punk is acceptable. Why is The Secret History of the Pink Carnation trashy while 50 Shades of Grey is becoming a major motion picture? Who decides what is shameful and what is cool? As far I am concerned, I do. What I like is cool and the garbage you watch (read, listen to) sucks. So, there.