A Guide on Consuming and Enjoying Non-Feminist Things Guilt Free
By: Jackie Keaton
There is no such thing as a “perfect feminist.” Feminism is not a competition in which we need to outdo one another to be “better feminists.” (In fact, it should be the exact opposite of a competition among women; we should be standing together as a united front against sexism). Someone can identify as a feminist, can believe and work wholeheartedly for the cause, and still enjoy some things that are considered problematic. Personally, I indulge in a number of things that don’t line up with my feminist beliefs, such as this playlist from my Spotify, which has a number of songs that are demeaning to women, and those extravagant wedding shows that contradict all my actual beliefs about marriage and weddings. Whether you’re into Toddlers and Tiaras, Twilight, or T-Pain, you can still love your guilty pleasure.
A guide to enjoying your guilty pleasures without the guilt-
Be Critical: This is the most important thing to do when consuming media with misogynistic messages. Actively think about what the movie/song/etc. is saying and point out the problems with it to yourself. By recognizing the problems in your guilty pleasure, you are making sure it won’t change any of your opinions. You can also share these problematic issues with other people who may enjoy this media and hopefully spread the word about feminism!
Do Not Fund It: By paying for something, you are telling producers that you are okay with the product and that you condone whatever messages and themes are being displayed in it. If that is not the case, don’t pay for it! My music library on my iPod is pretty sad, but that’s because I only buy songs I really like by artists I want to support. Pirating music is much harder than it used to be, is time consuming, and also illegal, so I am on the straight-and-narrow and buy all my music from iTunes now. However, being the cheap and conscientious college student that I am, I want to make sure that the money I do spend is going to places and messages I want to support.
[Side note- This is not an encouragement to illegally download or steal anything! Try to find ways to view the media somewhere else for free (watch it when it comes on TV or on Netflix, look it up on YouTube, borrow it from a friend, etc.)]
Try to Find the Good: Most things have their ups and downs, including the guilty pleasures you enjoy.While your guilty pleasure may have some anti-feminist messages in it, try to find some positive messages that you do agree with. For example, I could sit and watch hours of Say Yes to the Dress, and I have. While I disagree with the show’s portrayal of weddings as the end-all-be-all most important day of your life, I do like that it shows real women finding something that makes them feel beautiful and happy, and that it doesn’t shy away from inclusion. (There have been same sex couples on the show a number of times.)
Cleanse Your Palette: If your guilty pleasure still leaves a bad taste in your mouth, change gears and watch, listen to, or read something that makes you feel better. Look up Amy Poehler quotes on Pinterest and listen to Beyoncé. It will cleanse your soul like Disney after a horror movie.