Guilty pleasures

For whatever reason, I was thinking about this entire concept tonight.

Obviously, the term is something of a contradiction.  Why would you do something that makes you feel guilty?   And if it gives you pleasure, why do you feel guilty? 

I started thinking about why we would feel guilty for taking pleasure in something.  Now, I do think illegal pleasures should make one feel guilty.  But when it comes to what we listen to, read, watch, or even eat, there’s no logical reason to feel guilty.  So why do we? 

I listen to an astounding mixture of music.  Anything from rock to opera to pop to acappela.  So why should I have to excuse myself for listening to Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, or Justin Bieber?  Whether someone else likes that performer or not, why do I care either way?  I don’t.  The problem comes down to feeling judged, though.  Whether it is due to age or media portrayal these performers are looked down upon by a certain segment of the population.  Because I am a 35 year old woman, the people around me do think it odd that I listen to these performers.  But they don’t find it odd that I like Big Band or the old 60’s singers like Lesley Gore.  So if music was around before I was born, it’s okay for me to listen to it.  But if the person singing wasn’t born yet, there’s a problem?  Or is it that the themes tend to be young?  Love and heartbreak are themes in music no matter the age of the performer or listener.  As for talent…that is up to individual taste. 

Now we run into the guilty aspect.  Whether others are judging me or not, I feel like they will look down on me for my choice in music.  So if I am asked what I am listening to, I’ll tell them what it is but add that it’s a guilty pleasure.  So I am essentially excusing myself for enjoying something because I feel others might judge me.  When did my self-identity become so fragile that judgement from others was automatically something bad?  And if others aren’t judging me, who is?

I am judging myself.  Something’s wrong with that picture, right?

We (as a population) have internalized judgements to the point where, as adults, we judge our own choices and pleasures.  We base these judgements on media opinion, celebrity opinion, family and friends’ opinion…everyone’s opinion but our own.  Whether someone else likes listening to Pavarotti, or reading m/m erotica, or eating Twinkies shouldn’t influence my own enjoyment of these things.

So that’s what I am going to start trying to do.  Enjoy myself without judgement.

FYI: I don’t advocate enjoying yourself to death, be it eating, drinking or drugs that give you pleasure.  I am talking about legal pleasures that harm neither you nor anyone else.


~ by theartistryofthebipolarbrain on May 22, 2012.

12 Responses to “Guilty pleasures”

  1. Nicely put down. I agree that one should just stop judging and start living, whatever the age. If WE start thinking as to what and how people think about US, what do we leave for them to think? 🙂 Let them do their job of thinking. Enjoy yourself 🙂

  2. I think that will be freeing for you. I am realizing the more I know you, that you are working on freeing yourself a little more but you aren’t sure about in what way or quite how. I think your freedome includes more than just music, but I think it is a great start. I had never thought of it but it is true. People don’t respect the fact when we enjoy music they feel is too “young” for us, but think nothing of music that could be labeled as too “old” for us. I admit I have been critical at times but just playfully. I hope that you continue to learn how to let more of yourself shine no matter what anyone thinks. I know we have to think of family and such. But freeing yourself is such good therapy. Hug

    • I have spent the majority of my life scared of what others think. I know that I still suffer from the malady, but I am trying to move away from it.

      Music is a great example, but people judge themselves for the TV shows they watch, movies they enjoy, food they eat, the list is endless. And the reason they do this is because the people and media around them are so very judgemental. I can’t say that I’m not judgemental, but I work hard to see past my first judgement to the person or thing I am looking at.

      As an example, I was on a social site, reading through what my friends had posted. One of them had put up a music video, so I decided to listen to it. Now, the type of music is not one I enjoy. (Oddly enough, considering my love of music, this is another music example.) But I listened to at least half the video. At that point I had a good idea of the singer’s voice. Now. She was very vocally talented. I didn’t like the song, and I didn’t like the rhythym, but after the first bit, I tried to really listen to her voice instead of the music. The woman had a fantastic voice! I wouldn’t want to listen to her performing that music, but she did have a beautiful voice. My initial thought was to stop the video because it was annoying…but continuing alowed me to hear her voice.

      Now, I am not saying we shouldn’t use our own judgement, by any means. There’s a very good reason that our brain uses judgement at all times. But attempting to see past that initial judgement to see if there is more to know is probably one of the best things any person will ever learn.

  3. Truly to the point. Try to stay the course on this one, as difficult as it may be.


  4. You are so right- we do judge ourselves/other people like this.

    Right now I ‘fess up to loving:

    High School the Musical soundtrack- my guilty pleasure, but no longer with the guilt!! (I’m 32 by the way). 😀

  5. I usually think about guilty pleasures as being self-indulgent. I feel guilty about the pleasure because I really should be doing something else.

    • And in that you *need* to be doing something else, I would agree. As for “should”…that depends upon the situation. In any case, the guilt in that case should be because you are accomplishing something that is required, not the pleasure itself. At least in my eyes.

      Nice to see you back, Dr. DeeDee. 🙂

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