Let’s drop the ‘guilt’ from ‘guilty pleasure’
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of the guilty pleasure. To me, this suggests that there are utterly harmless things for which we should feel some sort of shame in enjoying.
The more I think about it, the more I don’t like the word “guilty.” As long as you aren’t hurting anyone – including yourself – I think one should follow one’s bliss, ignoring the judgment of others. I mean, what harm is being caused by someone eating a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese while binging old Full House reruns? Whatever happened to live and let live?
There is so much stress and ugliness in the world, now we’re being made to feel guilty about something that brings us joy? I say no. Embrace your passions. Care not that your friends judge you for watching The Bachelor. Laugh in the face of those mocking you for poring through a copy of US Weekly.
My mother began watching the soap opera “All My Children” when it first aired in 1970. A young college student, she scheduled her courses around her favorite show. As a professional woman, she’d race home on her lunch hour to see what was happening in Pine Valley. Eventually with the advent of VCRs and OnDemand services, she could watch at a time that was more convenient to her.
An intelligent and educated woman, she didn’t care one bit about what anyone thought of her soap opera of choice. Never once did she try to hide her love for the show, an approach for which I admire her so much.
I feel like nowadays there would be some kind of naysayer, theorizing on how my mom could better spend her time. And you know what? I really don’t think she’d care. Because she knows it’s entertainment, not reality. It’s a television show and her enjoyment of it doesn’t hurt a thing.
All My Children ended its long run in 2011, cruelly before my mom retired. Aside from the fact that she will never know who J.R. Chandler shot, she didn’t cry (too much) and she has made peace with that chapter of her life ending.
She’s moved on, anyway. Now she likes Grey’s Anatomy.
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