It’s pretty common to hear people refer to something as a guilty pleasure. “Oh—yeah, I watch American Idol. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine.” Then they’ll flash you a guilty smile, shrug, and laugh at themselves, as if trying to assure you that they know that they shouldn’t be watching crappy reality TV. It happens every time someone mentions enjoying romance novels, Twilight, horror movies, or lifetime dramas.
Consuming media like this is often considered a shameful indulgence, like eating an entire box of Oreos.
When you ask someone what their favorite movie is, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear titles like Citizen Kane, La La Land, Pulp Fiction, and maybe even Star Wars or The Avengers. But how often do you hear someone openly admit that their favorite movie is, say, Batman vs. Superman or Fifty Shades of Grey? It seems like society as a whole decides what media is okay to like, and what stuff we should keep locked in the closet. However, reality TV, Lifetime movies, romance novels and even teen dramas are all booming industries that continue to bring in large profits to production and publishing companies. Obviously that means lots of people are still consuming them.
Why do people continue to like—and sometimes love—media that’s “bad?” Continue reading