Guiltless Guilty Pleasures

By The Beacon | September 16, 2015 10:23am

by Melissa Aguilar |


I’ll just come out and say it: I love me a good T-Swift song. I have found myself in a three-hour Netflix binge of “House Hunters International,” and I don’t even want to think about how many hours I’ve whiled away on Buzzfeed quizzes.

None of these things are particularly productive or something I take pride in. But they shouldn’t necessarily be something to be ashamed of, either.

After a long week of essays, exams and meetings, when I finally get a free moment, the last thing I want to do is delve into the unread copy of “Dr. Zhivago” that’s been sitting on my bookshelf for the past few months.

What I really want to do is crank the One Direction tunes for a bit and dance around my room like a weirdo.

So often we judge each other on our personal preferences for being “too basic,” “too adolescent,” or “too bizarre.” We corner off these aspects of life we enjoy, all the while feeling guilty that we even enjoy them in the first place.

By calling something a guilty pleasure, we are implying that we actually have better taste 98 percent of the time, but against our better judgment, still spend the time consuming mindless drivel.

Our generation’s response to guilty pleasures is a strange fascination with liking things ironically. We buy oversized sweatshirts with cats floating through outer space and say things like “bomb diggity,” dubbing it “ironic,” to make sure we look like we’re in the know.

But in this mess of liking things ironically and labeling them guilty pleasures, I think we lose our ability to be genuine.

Sure, Anaconda was horrible. And if you were looking for some deep meaning amongst all that booty-shaking, you were looking in the wrong place. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy something for what it is.

Pop music is meant to be catchy, much like Lifetime movies are meant to be dramatic and predictable. They weren’t meant to win the Best Picture Oscar.

The culture of ironically liking things is like being an apathetic middle schooler in science class.  While it might have been cool to not like learning back then, no one thinks any higher of you in college for not doing your homework.

Same thing goes for what we enjoy. Not liking Justin Bieber doesn’t make you any more intelligent or interesting than people who do.

Life is too short to spend hours listening to some indie band just so your hipster friends will think you’re cool. It’s OK to be a bit nerdy. They have their own conventions, after all. You’re bound to find someone out there who likes the same thing as you, no matter how obscure, silly or weird.

So go ahead and indulge in whatever it is you enjoy. Guilt-free.


Melissa Aguilar is Copy Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at