On Musical Guilty Pleasures

Today’s post is all about guilty pleasure music – you know, the kind of music you’d never in a million years admit to listening to.

I was inspired by this Dave Grohl quote: “I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it. That’s what’s wrong with our generation: that residual punk rock guilt, like, “You’re not supposed to like that. That’s not fucking cool.” Don’t fucking think it’s not cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” It is cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic”! Why the fuck not? Fuck you! That’s who I am, goddamn it! That whole guilty pleasure thing is full of fucking shit.”

Ahem. Epithets aside, he’s onto something.

“If you fucking like something, like it.” I do think, though, that there’s more pressure for women in this area. I’ve alluded to this before: the residual weird guilt about discovering one of my favorite indie bands through an MTV reality show.

As I said in that post: I am large! I contain multitudes! I’m allowed to like both. Even though I’ve moved on from the MTV phase, I still like “mainstream” music and will jam to the occasional Top 40 just as much as my well-loved JAMC or Radiohead. However, the common discourse is that women are supposed to be in the Top 40 box and men are supposed to be in the JAMC and Radiohead box. Men don’t have that limit because they’re the ones writing the discourse: look at any of the bylines over at Stereogum and 90% of them will be male.

I was chatting with a friend of mine about my frustrations on this topic, and she said that it’s probably because men are more interested in music, so they tend to pursue those avenues. Is this true? Or is it because the avenues were there for them from the beginning? What do you think?

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