What is your owed pleasure
Guilty pleasures are only pleasures
For some reason, one of my greatest joys was watching Love Island with friends, a flirt show that originally aired on RTL-II. (The entire season can be seen on RTL Now). I let Petra Schwegler, author & critic for W&V, describe the show:
“If you are looking for level on TV, you will not find it with“ Love Island ”. But the trash show is entertaining - the new RTL II series uses the hypnotic effect that even serious accidents have on viewers. You just have to look. Better or better - you can't look the other way! "
Love Island is confidently silly, ridiculous, and thoroughly stupid. It won't win any prizes. And it's not a Better Call Saul - your cool, smart friends won't talk about it.
But it's just fun to watch Love Island. You could call it a guilty pleasure: something to enjoy, but not with pride.
Why do we feel guilty because we like certain things and should we? Emotional research suggests that guilt can serve an important social function, but I'm not sure if guilt is really doing us favors when it comes to enjoying things like watching television.
First, the term "pleasure guilty" could be a misnomer. The philosophers Kris Goffin and Florian Cova note that the term is associated with "shame or embarrassment rather than guilt".
But whether we feel guilty or embarrassed, why should we feel bad because we enjoy some things but not others? Many psychologists believe that feelings of guilt are adaptable because they motivate people to follow societal norms.
Essentially, we feel bad when we break the rules, which then prevents us from breaking the rules as often. When it comes to television broadcasts and other forms of art, the norms might be what is socially acceptable to like.
Goffin and Cova conducted a study that found results consistent with this idea. They asked 89 people online to think about a work of art, such as a television show, that they did not like. They then rated how much they agreed with various statements that examined various possible reasons for why they might feel bad.
For example, in a statement that read:"I feel bad because I enjoy this work, because objectively there is nothing good about it", tested whether the test subjects felt bad because they liked things that were artistically bad. Another statement tested whether subjects felt bad because others could judge them:"I feel bad because I like this work, because I am afraid of what other people think of people who like this type of work of art."
The test subjects agreed most strongly with statements related to being judged by others (Average approval rating of 4.5 on a scale of 1–7) and failing to live up to one's personal ideals (mean value of 4.7).
In other words, it appears that the test subjects felt guilty because they felt they were violating norms - either imposed by others or themselves - and liking what was "acceptable".
If these norms really exist, then perhaps the adaptive portrayal of guilt for guilty pleasure applies, and people's guilt drives them away from liking things that could damage their reputation.
But no match is perfect. Even if feelings of guilt are generally adaptable, feeling guilty in a situation is not always in our best interests. For example, the norms we believe exist could be misunderstandings.
Specifically, they could arise from what psychologists call pluralistic ignorance: When people publicly endorse a norm but hold a different private conviction because they (mistakenly) Assume that everyone else's public attitudes reflect their private beliefs. In approximately:“Everyone believes that everyone else believes in it, while in reality no one believes in it”.
For example, if everyone watches and loves the Netflix Emily in Paris, but a lot of people blaspheme online, a lot of people might think it's uncool to like her, even though most people love her. As a result, the “norm” that Emily is rubbish in Paris doesn't really hit the feelings of the majority of people. So someone might feel guilty for watching and breaking the norm, but the norm is an illusion.
The term "guilty pleasure" is a relatively recent invention that, according to Jennifer Szalai, rarely appeared in print until the 1990s. Perhaps, as others have argued, it is time to pull it back.
Aside from the fact that our feelings of guilt may be misdirected in the first place, when we talk about "guilty pleasure" insufficient emphasis is placed on pleasure and instead of guilt: guilty pleasure is still pleasure. Sure, when I look at Love Island, I don't learn anything. I don't feel intellectually enriched. But I relax and have fun for an hour.
That is still beneficial. And it's hard to argue that it's something I or anyone should feel guilty about.
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