your problematic is fave

Something to keep in mind in social criticism of media:

On Tumblr, we talk a lot about how everything is problematic. That’s true, as far as it goes. And it’s a conversation that needs to happen.

But, it’s also problematic. Because sometimes that conversation happens in a way that suggests that the only real parts of a thing are the awful parts.

And it can end up sounding like this:

  • You know that thing you like?
  • The thing that you quote all the time?
  • The one you learned tremendously important things from?
  • The one you keep reading to learn new things?
  • The thing that got you through awful times?
  • The thing that’s getting you through hard times now?
  • You know, that awesome thing you see as part of who you are?
  • It’s oppressive, it’s killing people, and you’re a horrible person for not thinking that it’s worthless trash with no value

And that can progress into:

  • “It’s ok that you liked it before. We all have to unlearn things.”
  • “We all have internalized oppression. It’s ok that you didn’t know that the story you care about is worthless”
  • (with the implication that you’d better not see any positive now that you have been ~educated~ and told to hate it)

And that can progress into:

  • You know how we told you not to watch that thing you used to love?
  • And how we told you to watch the new thing instead?
  • The new thing we said good people have to like because it has such important representation?
  • That thing’s problematic too. You’re oppressive and bad for liking it.
  • You should like this new thing instead. Or else. (Even though the same thing will happen again.) 
  • On second thought, don’t like anything. Your fave is problematic. You should hate it. 

It’s really bad when this happens. Talking about the problems with stories shouldn’t turn into teaching people that they’re not allowed to like anything. 

And it’s important to remember that saying “if you like this story you’re human garbage”, will be heard by people who used that story to climb out as, “You aren’t good enough to have deserved to climb out. Go back in there until you can climb out using only pure and unproblematic stories.”

That is not something to say lightly.