Liking things that are bad for you*

One common thread I’ve noticed a lot in posts about Grand Theft Auto, Baby Mama, Madonna, and others recently, is hostility to criticism of something the poster enjoys. Simplifying it, some of the comments come off as “well, I like it, so it can’t be that bad� or “it’s funny, so don’t take it so seriously.� I think it’s natural to want to defend something you enjoy, and reject the idea that it is sexist or damaging. I feel it too. But that doesn’t mean we’re right to defend it to the end. Liking something does not negate its ability to harm. Enjoying something that is anti-woman doesn’t make you a bad person. Or even a bad feminist. But thinking about why you enjoy it, and looking at the negative side could help you be a better one.
A big part of my coming to feminism is, as Melissa aptly describes, is taking the “red pill� and acknowledging the sexism and misogyny around us. That’s one of the things I have always liked about Feministing, the constant coverage of the barrage of anti-woman sentiments across all aspects of life. It’s easy to stop seeing all of the things that put women down because there are so many. A good kick in the ass reminder, while depressing at times, helps fuel action.
That’s not all there is to feminism, but it’s a big step to start, and a long, but valuable process. So often it feels like we’re trying to remove dimensions of things to make them easy to understand and decide. Whether it’s popular culture, or politics, or race, it seems like everything should be boiled down to good or bad, yes or no, us or them. And no one wants to be on the “wrong� side. But life’s rarely that simple. And in order to make the changes we want to see in the world, I think we need to acknowledge that, and embrace it. The bad news is a lot of the issues we address here on Feministing are complicated and messy. And touch on things we don’t think about, or don’t want to think about more deeply. The good news is that’s not going to stop us, and I know we’re all up to the task.
*Title not a reference to my fondness for Friday happy hours that last all night, or watching 3 hours of Twin Peaks at a time.

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