When talking to a co-worker about how I was reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon because I was a big fan of the show on Starz, the words "It's a guilty pleasure of mine" actually slipped out of my mouth.
I thought I had stricken that phrase out of my vocabulary, but sometimes it makes its way into my speech, no matter how much I try to keep it out. I started this when I realized that "guilty pleasure" was something I used to wave away things I enjoyed, but knew the average person would think were silly or trivial. Or, more often than not, media that is primarily aimed at women.
Case in point: Outlander (the show and the books), most reality shows (I'm partial to home improvement shows), most of the books I read (a lot of my female friends read young adult novels), like Jacqueline Carey's and Anne Rice's books.... One of the few exceptions to this rule happens to be my love of the Fast and Furious franchise.
I decided to stop using that phrase because I always seemed to use it to subtly slam things I genuinely enjoy before someone else can. The decision goes along with my argument that anyone can be a nerd or a geek -- in that same vein, there are many ways to enjoy media. I don't think enjoying Game of Thrones should be seen as much different from enjoying Outlander. Outlander focuses on a smaller cast of characters (at least so far in my reading), is a little more focused on personal experiences rather than political... but the both feature their fair share of sex, violence, and political intrigue. One series happens to be written by a man and the other a women....
So what's the difference? Why do I feel just fine admitting my enjoyment of Game of Thrones while having to qualify my enjoyment of Outlander as a "guilty pleasure" that I let myself consume? I'm afraid I don't really have a straight answer.
That's a question I'd like to pose to our readers:
Is there a theme to the things you consider guilty pleasures? What do they have in common?
And why do we feel embarrassment about admitting we like certain things and not others? Does it have anything to do with how widely accepted it is in popular culture?