Chai Break is a periodic feature on This is Lit where we discuss books, blogging, and book blogging.
I know, I know. You’re judging me for being so irregular with this feature.
As always, I was reminded of it by a few blogging friends and *GASP* one friend who hates admitting that he reads my blog. Why anyone would not want to admit they read this amazing, well-written, and witty blog, I’ll never know. Or wait. This reaction is probably why he’ll never admit it.
Speaking of people not wanting to admit they read something…
We need to talk about the phrase “guilty pleasure novels”.
A whole lot of people use this phrase. In fact, there are 40 lists on Goodreads with over 500 books in each on…you got it..”guilty pleasure” novels. The books range from Mills & Boon books to books with pink covers.
My Awkward past.
Before I start preaching about how offensive the phrase is, full disclosure–I’ve used it before too. Back when I was 19, I LOVED a TV show called Awkward, but I’d always call it my guilty pleasure to other people. I was ashamed of admitting that I liked a TV show about high school drama.
Umm, hello, why should anyone be ashamed of liking possibly the best high school TV show to ever be made (I’m only talking about the first 3 seasons. Once the show runners changed, the series started sucking.)? This show gave us the sassiest mean girl to grace our screens–Sadie Saxton–and no one should feel ashamed of liking Sadie Saxton.
And yet, I hated admitting that I liked this show. It was my “guilty pleasure”.
But that’s stupid.
I loved the show. I’ve watched seasons 1 and 2 a million times. When season 3 released, it wasn’t broadcast on Indian channels right away. So I used a VPN to connect to MTV’s website to watch each episode of season 3. That’s how obsessed I was.
While I didn’t realise at the time that I was ashamed of something I needn’t have been ashamed of, I do now, what with being older, wiser, and all that jazz.
And that’s why I’m going to tell you exactly why this phrase sucks and needs to get out of our vocabulary.
By calling something a “guilty pleasure”, you’re not being true to yourself.
Why would you deny yourself the happiness you get when you talk about something you like? What happened in your childhood to make you this way?
You’re being sexist.
Yup, I said it. Calling a book written by a woman a “guilty pleasure” novel makes you sexist. While people commonly associate romance with guilty pleasures, there’s an even scarier trend of books of other genres by women authors “guilty pleasures”. Dana Schwartz certainly faced it with her novel on eating disorders, sexual assault, and depression. Why? Because the cover was pink and it was written by a woman.
You’re insulting the creators.
Would you like it if someone said they loved your work, but were ashamed of admitting it? As a writer, I would be devastated if someone said that to me. Authors spend ages writing the perfect book, finding an agent, getting their book published, and then promoting it. To do all that and have some homeboy in pyjamas sit in his bedroom and shelve the book as “guilty pleasure” on Goodreads? And all because it has a pink cover? Or was written by *GASP* a girl?!
I clearly have strong feelings about this sitch, but what about you?
If something gives you pleasure, why in the world are you guilty about admitting it? Do you think this phrase needs to be banned too? Let me know in the comments!