Preferences As Weakness

If someone is using your preferences to attack you, then they’re just being an asshole. If they’re using media you like as a way to belittle and hurt people in general, they’re being an asshole. If they’re pursuing you to make you answer for something you like, they’re being an asshole. This takes the basic form we learned in school, but we’ve managed to weaponise it to sound smartsy-smart. It used to run:

“Oh you like She-Ra? GAY.”

Now we kinda cook it out to something like “if you can’t see how problematic klance is and recognise the racist power dynamic inherent in the production of the media, then unfollow me right now, because I will not support bigots.” Sure, there are still people in the first camp, but the tools and the purpose they’re put to don’t change, just the sophistication of their implementation. It’s a pretty robust strategy.

So straight up, there are some reasons to be defensive. Some of this behaviour is deliberately trying to weaponise opinions and make people feel bad, because we are not above kyriarchy. Some people genuinely wanna make other people feel bad about their media, they want to bully people.

But let’s set bad actors and bad behaviour aside.

One thing I’d suggest is to think about how you think about your preferences. Your preferences are, in many cases, things you carry around, they are things you put in the box that is Your Interests, they are not intrinsic to you; they do not grow and reflect you and you should recognise that because being too hung up on your opinions as your identity tends to be why we have weirdo boys defending Elon Musk (who’s a stupid asshole). It’s why we get people vociferously defending corporations despite that being amazingly weird.

Your preferences are things you carry with you; they are not part of you, but also, they do not break when you look at them. You can hear a critique of your favourite thing, but that doesn’t take away what you have. What you feel about a work is real.

Let’s say someone comes along and shows you a plot hole in your fave and points out that, based on that plot hole, someone in that text is a real jerk. Before you knew that, you had a whole, coherent understanding of that text, even if it wasn’t perfect. That understanding is valid. You’re allowed these personal interpretations of texts.

Anyway, the other thing I’d recommend is get into paying attention to different interpretations. Sometimes two or three different versions of a story can be really interesting, but they can’t co-exist. Having multiple things you like, in the same space, makes you start to feel the way they don’t have to be ‘true’ to be ‘true enough.’

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