Chai break

Chai Break: We need to call a war on the phrase “guilty pleasure”.

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.

sure thinking GIF by Originals

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.

angry mtv awkward GIF

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. 

season 7 but im smart GIF

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?

why are you the way that you are GIF

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.

Leighton Meester Fox GIF by makinghistory

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?!

unfair modern family GIF

I clearly have strong feelings about this sitch, but what about you?

Let’s discuss.

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!

~ Shruti

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34 thoughts on “Chai Break: We need to call a war on the phrase “guilty pleasure”.

  1. I completely agree that “guilty pleasures” are a way to not show your true feelings about something. Growing up, I always though guilty pleasures had something to do with romance and enjoying a romance book, it wasn’t until I got older that I realized what the term actually meant. You should never be ashamed of what you like to read/watch/do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you 100%, and this is a phrase (along with saying ‘hey guys’ like the Southern Californian that I am) that I’ve been actively trying to remove from my vocabulary. So what if I, as a woman in my late 20s/early 30s loves the hell out of Pretty Little Liars (up to season 3) and Big Brother? We all need our unwind things and why feel guilty for liking what we like? It’s also so sexist and it really bothers me. Great post, Shruti!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The post sings to my soul (also, I was literally drinking chai while I read this haha). I’ve briefly chatted about this over on my blog, somewhere, as well. People like what they like and there shouldn’t be any shame associated with it. I recently checked out Gossip Girl form the library because I was obsessed with the series a few years back. It’s not the type of narrative I read consistently or often, but when I want some Gossip Girl type of reading, I’m going to read it proudly. You are the bestest. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve used the term a lot too and it’s only recently that I realized I was feeling guilty for loving the books I love… I’m trying to get rid of that mentality but it’s not always easy… lovely post Shruti and thanks for writing it 😊😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Haha looks like you’re addicted to the word… definitely need help… We used to have a list of such words while still in college, but we’ve gotten rid of them mostly in the past decade..😜😜😜

            Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree with this insofar as guilty implies that you are ashamed of whatever it is, which isn’t fair to the creators and others who love it. I actually just talked about this in regards to contemporary romance, which I’ve always kinda felt about about getting in the mood for and binge reading. But the issue is mine. Because the phrase isn’t just “guilty,” it’s also “pleasure.” The pleasure part is good and real, and is a credit to the creators. It’s just that I need to own that part and be less about the guilty side.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yess! Love this topic! I never really liked the concept of guilty pleasure of git it hence I never labelled any book or anything for a matter of fact like that. Great post, I missed chai time ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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