Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why I Don't Do Guilty Pleasures

The Gilmore Girls never felt guilty about their pleasures, neither shall I!
(Image found here)

A close friend once told me that the reason they liked me was because of how much I liked the things I liked; that I had a unique set of preferences and wasn’t afraid to show them. To this day, I count this as one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. Partly, I loved being told this because it aligned so closely with the kind of self assured, confident woman I’ve always wanted to grow up to be, partly because I don’t quite feel I’m there yet, but it’s nice to know that others do.

What we like and dislike, our tastes and preferences, define who we are. The clothes you like to wear say something about you, as do the foods you choose to eat, the company you keep and the entertainment you seek (clearly, I like to rhyme!). The challenge, though, is living out these preferences honestly and without shame.

For example, I really like watching Gilmore Girls. I like it because it was the only television show on air when I was growing up that had a lead character my age who was lauded for being smart, for working hard and for being ambitious whilst still being cute, funny and fun. I like it because it’s well written, because over the whole seven seasons there is still a continuous through line, and the plot doesn’t grow overly ridiculous. I like it because of the fast paced dialogue, which drives so many people crazy, because it works at the same rate as my brain and it makes me laugh. I like it because I get it, it’s comforting and entertaining.

I know a lot of other people who like watching Gilmore Girls as well. So many of them, though, mark down their time watching it as ‘guilty pleasure’ time, as something that’s a bit naughty, a bit bad for them or a bit silly. It’s something they might not bring up in conversation, or write about on their blog, per se. This denial of what they like, this pushing down and feeling embarrassed about expressing their own personality really bothers me.

I think the term ‘guilty pleasure’ directly aligns with our culture’s need to never be satisfied with who we are and what we have. Rather than celebrating that we are avid fans of reading romance novels, or that instead of visiting the hip, out of the way restaurant with a fancy pants menu we’d rather stay at home and make burgers, we hide who we are and pretend to be someone else instead because that’s what the cool/successful/rich/happy people do. Especially the happy people. We’re constantly being told, either through advertising or by the people around us, what it is we should like doing, and also what it is we shouldn’t. But we need to learn that doing what we don’t like and denying ourselves what we do won’t make us happy at all, it will only make us miserable, bored and unsatisfied.

Of course, a lot of the time guilt is attached to things we like doing is because we do these things at inappropriate times or in inappropriate ways. For example, dressing up in cute outfits and playing with my wardrobe is something I find fun, however it’s hard to enjoy it properly if I’m doing it during the time I’m meant to be cleaning the kitchen, and I know that in a few hours time I’ll just be left with a room that looks like a clothes bomb exploded and some annoyed housemates who wanted to cook unhampered by yesterday’s dishes. It’s not the playing with clothes that’s the bad in this situation, however, it’s the choices I made to get there. But we associate the guilt with the pleasure, instead of taking the blame for our silly choices (it would always be so easy to clean first, play dress ups later), and reinforce the idea that we shouldn’t be proud of doing what makes us happy.

I’m a big believer in nothing being more attractive than confidence and knowing and expecting what you deserve, and no one being more interesting than the person who speaks their mind honestly and commits to making their life cheerful. I’m not always the best practiser, though. From now on, I’m trying to be more true to myself, to not get embarrassed about who I am and what I like and to also be very careful to not judge others who are trying to do the same. If you’d like to join me, why don’t we start off by making this comment section a place to share what it is we really love, and begin to work at being proud of it.

(ps. Sarah Wilson wrote an article of a similar vein last week that you might like to check out here, too.)


  1. I really love watching tv and adding a few stitches to my latest handmade creation, early in the morning before anyone else is out of decadence as far as I'm concerned.

  2. I'm totally listening to the 'Enchanted' soundtrack right's...A-MAZING!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...