Some things are problematic.

Today I am going to let you in on a little secret:

Someone not liking the thing you like, and having valid reasons for their dislike, in no way limits your ability to enjoy that same thing.

Now, this shouldn’t be a secret. This shouldn’t be a surprise, or even something that anyone hasn’t thought of yet. But I look around at Ye Olde Internets and I see a ton of folk who don’t seem to get this yet.

If I see a thing you like – a video game, movie, comic, book, piece of art, whatever it may be – and I do not enjoy it, that’s fine. I may feel it is sexist, racist, ugly, cheap, and far too green. That does not mean that you can not enjoy it, yourself. It just means I have my valid reasons for not liking it.

And asking for more of what I like, because the stuff out there upsets me, doesn’t mean you can’t have what you like, too. It just means that maybe you can’t only have what you like. That there is room for sharing, and that it isn’t a zero sum game.

But come on, people need to stop acting like anyone having a problem with a thing that is liked somehow invalidates the thing in question. That reaction only shows your own shame and humiliation, honestly. See, when you get all het up about someone calling a thing you like sexist, let’s say, and rush to yell at them angrily, it just manages to tell everyone else that you know it is sexist and are ashamed of the fact you enjoy it anyway. So in your shame you lash out at the person who dared make you think about it in uncomfortable ways.

Grow up, you big baby.

Some things are problematic. Liking them can be an act for a grown-up. I love Mickey Spillane novels but they are racist and sexist. Now a lot of that was the product of the time, and all, but it is still there and still an issue. And it’s a shame. But despite those decently-sized failings, I enjoy his prose and his plots. I also understand when others do not, and why. I am fine for liking it, they are fine for not liking it. But at no point does my enjoyment stop theirs or their lack of enjoyment stop mine.

I don’t get why this is so hard. Why people are so defensive about this stuff. Look, that RPG you love has some problems with the fact that every women depicted is in bullshit “fantasy” armor that doesn’t protect anything and just serves to show off her cartoon tits. It might be a great game, but you have to see how that would be off-putting to other people who don’t appreciate that or who, rightly, wish we could depict women on the same footing as men. Asking that images such as that consider changing lessens your enjoyment how exactly?

No, really, exactly how?

Because if your entire enjoyment of a game is based off that cover art – you are reading this on the internet, go find bad porn instead. If you feel they shouldn’t have to change anything at all ever to accommodate any customer besides you we go right back to it being time for you to grow up. The world is about more than just you. And if this change in no way effects the game, only the packaging, what does it hurt?

It hurts your shame at knowing it’s crappy, knowing it should be changed, but wanting it anyway, because you can’t just own that and seek it elsewhere. Instead you have to spray the walls with it, because if it is literally everywhere then it can’t be a problem. If it was a problem then it wouldn’t be everywhere, see?

Chipping away at it means it is a problem and once you let that sunlight in, you can’t get rid of it and you vampire out into flames.

Too bad, so sad.

Just. Grow. Up.

Published by

Adam P. Knave

Eisner and Harvey award winning editor, writer and tired person. Novelist, comic writer, cat owner, NY'er.

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