Our guilty pleasures don’t define us

Alexandra Stettner

Alexandra Stettner
Alexandra Stettner

The newest Nicholas Sparks romance movie has finally come out, and while I wasn’t the first in line to go see it, I will most definitely be a the theater in the next couple weeks.

This isn’t because I’m a hopeless romantic (well, maybe a little), or think the main character is attractive (well, he isn’t bad to look at), but mostly because in our world of constant communication, stress from school, friends and family. It’s nice sometimes to unwind with a movie or TV show that doesn’t challenge you mentally whatsoever.

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I’ve gotten a lot of flak from my friends about wanting to see this ridiculously cheesy film, among other dorky things I might watch or listen to. I’ve been known to watch Teen Mom or listen to One Direction. It’s embarrassing, but I won’t deny it. While none of these things do I take seriously or follow religiously, I use them to take time off from life, and I enjoy every minute. When I would get off of a closing shift at work last summer, I’d usually blast One Direction’s second album on the way home.

There’s a word for these things: guilty pleasures. Yet, it seems like these days even our guilty pleasures aren’t good enough for the people around us. If we’re not listening to the coolest new grunge-pop-punk-folk artist constantly, or arguing with others to find the tiniest nuances of meaning in human flaw and society depicted Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, then often we’re being pushed down for our inferior taste in pop culture.

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point it seems society made the switch to determine who a person was based on whether what that person liked was “cool” or not. Of course, at a basic level, we choose to hang out with people based on what we have in common, but to rush to judgement on a person because they might really relax to the tunes of Taylor Swift seems a little mean-spirited.

Too often, we take the tastes of peers and use them to create that person’s whole personality around those facts. Just because a girl might listen to Taylor Swift doesn’t mean she only wears Ugg boots, drinks Starbucks and hates all men.

There’s so much more to people besides their guilty pleasures, and those guilty pleasures don’t define them, nor should they. A person doesn’t have to be “perfect” every minute of every day, consuming only sophisticated and trendy media.

On the other side of this, if you are a fan of something dorky or embarrassing, don’t try to cover it up as best you can and make it a part of your secret double life. Instead, own it. Our guilty pleasures are usually best shared in marathon binges and obnoxiously loud car rides. Rock out to your playlist with summer pop songs, and maybe you’ll bring out the inner Swiftie or Directioner in your friend who was hiding it all along, too.

So, I’ll see all my fellow hopeless romantics out there in the next couple days, am I right?

Collegian Columnist Alexandra Stettner can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @alexstetts.