We can all pretty much agree that pop culture is a complicated beast, right? Unless you’re a hermit who lives in a cave and has no contact with the outside world (in which case you wouldn’t be reading this), you’re going to be exposed to pop culture. Whether we want to admit to it or not, pop culture impacts our lives. It’s easy to dismiss all TV or all films or whatever we don’t like as trash, but I don’t think it’s that simple. Pop culture gives us insight into who we are and the world we live in.
What I like about magazines like Bitch is that it takes an element of pop culture – a movie, a television show, whatever – and examines it through a feminist lens. I credit Bitch with awakening my critical eye when it comes to pop culture.
What I really want to talk about here is how pop culture is neither entirely good nor entirely bad. It operates in a grey area. Regardless of how much we like a particular pop culture artifact, it’s bound to have at least one (probably more) negative element to it. And I think it’s important to constantly be aware of that. It’s important to be able o accept that something you love is flawed. Enjoying a flawed pop culture artifact doesn’t make you a bad person; being able to see those flaws and a willingness to discuss ways it could be better make you a smart person. No matter how much I enjoy the Harry Potter books or the Buffy The Vampire Slayer television series, there’s no denying that both have some pretty serious issues.
We each draw a line somewhere. On one side of the line are things we’re willing to overlook (ok, “overlook” is probably not the right word for me to use here, but it’s the best I’m able to come up with) in order to enjoy pop culture. On the other side of the line are things we’re not willing to accept under any circumstance. Some of us might be able to compromise. For example, we might be willing to accept depictions of x, but only if y and z are also present. It’s like we agree to accept the bad as long as we get something we feel important a long with it.
As for me, I’m not entirely sure where I draw the line between what I think is acceptable and what I think is unacceptable. I do know that a pop culture artifact has to give me a really compelling reason to like it, something truly amazing to get me to enjoy it for what it is.