Does anybody else remember a time, long long ago, when you...
Does anybody else remember a time, long long ago, when you could just enjoy things?
You could watch a movie and just appreciate it instead of over analyzing every single scene to make sure there’s nothing remotely offensive about it.
You could have a favorite character and just like them and appreciate how great they were written and portrayed, without being told you’re terrible because they’re a villain. Even though they’re FICTIONAL and most likely were deliberately written to be likable. (Even if they were written as an evil character, I still think you have a right to like them, but maybe that’s just me)
You could love and be a fan of the actors without having to go full on FBI agent, looking into their backgrounds to make sure they are 100% perfect and had never made a mistake ever.
You could post about said actor without some busybody little fandom cop, slithering into your inbox to tell you(all too happily) that your fave is “problematic” (god, I fucking hate that word), and you’re disgusting if you still like them.
I’m in my 30’s so I remember those good ole days and it’s kind of sad to know, that most of you will never truly know how great that was. That’s a time long since forgotten. Bummer.
Yes, I remember that.
You know what I also remember?
How one of my friends was always awkwardly quiet after the rest of his friends group laughed at a ‘no homo’ set up joke. How he never laughed along when someone used ‘gay’ to describe something. I remember telling people who didn’t laugh that “it’s a joke, what’s wrong with you?”
I also remember, almost a decade after, crying happily as he married the love of his life who happened to be a man.
I remember laughing at a racist joke in a movie with my cousins, and her one black friend, her best friend, up and leaving because of it. I remember nodding along as she said “ugh, she can never take a joke”.
I remember asking my cousin about her years later and learning they never spoke after that. Ten years of friendship lost that night.
I remember sitting in a room filled with guy friends, making sexist jokes and being told I was so cool for not being as uptight as “other girls”. I remember that slowly losing its shine, and wondering why I felt more and more uncomfortable hearing that.
And then I remember who I was back then, and how I am so glad I am no longer that person.
I remember the first time I apologized to my gay friends for the jokes I used to make. I remember the first time I didn’t try to defend how I “didn’t mean to be racist”. I remember the first time I asked a guy just what is wrong with “other girls”, and how I lost some friends that day who I realized were never really my friends.
You know what changed? I changed. Through listening and understanding and admitting my privileges and faults, I changed. Now even if I try, I can’t just enjoy something that jokes at the expense of others. I cant watch someone who is unapologetically problematic in media.
I can’t enjoy these things because I realize now that their very existence hurts. That the very existence of this type of media perpetuates behaviors and ideologies that can lead to people being abused, harassed, and murdered.
And you know what? That’s a good thing. Because the more people who refuse to ingest this type of media, the less audience it has, and the stronger the message becomes that these things - racism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, etc. - are not things to be waved off. You’re not edgy or cool for ignoring them. You’re not “uptight” by being upset by them. These are real things with very real social impact.
The reality is, there was never a time when everyone could just enjoy things. To be able to say you had that time is to admit the privilege you had at not having to think about problematic behavior because it didn’t negatively affect your life.
I don’t remember a time where I could “just enjoy things”. What I remember is a time where I was able to enjoy something by throwing everyone who could be hurt by or suffer from it under the bus.
I remember those times in MY life. And I am so fucking grateful they are in the past.
YES. Thank you for spelling this out.
Perfect response to folks that tell me to “stop being so sensitive.”