An illusion that you are doing something bad, naughty, secretive. The perfect way to persuade someone to do something that is profitable on one end and a bit of a mind f#ck on the other.
A perfectly lopsided relationship that works in consumerism favor.
When I looked up the etymology of this idiom, turns out, When “guilty pleasure” first appeared in the New York Times, in 1860, it was used to describe a brothel. The term appeared only a handful of times in the paper of record until the late nineteen-nineties, when it started coming up in its contemporary incarnation again and again, at the tail end of the culture wars.
Today, “guilty pleasure” is wrapped in things that are entertaining wrapped in shame.
The Most Common Guilty Pleasures (I Googled).
- Reality TV.
- Romanic Movies.
- Listen to Music on repeat.
- Indulging on your favorite snacks.
- Calling in sick to work, when you are really not sick.
- Watching other people on their day to day life.
- Celebrity Gossip.
- Binge watching a TV series.
What came to me when thinking about guilty pleasures, is that it is ultimately connected to something primal: sex.
The most original of sins is a guilty pleasure after all.
Except it shouldn’t be. And we sort of know it. But since in 2021 sex is still selling (perhaps more than ever), I believe it is still wrapped in a bow, tagged with a “shame” sticker on it. That’s why it is still so effective.
If we break down all the bullet points above and reduce them to their essence, it will all boil down to sex.
A cheap TV series on repeat, a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream on top, buying something I don’t *really* need, being obsessed with the lives of others on the internet. All involve an intrigue of someone undressing, addiction to how sweets make us feel but then we feel shame because if we ever want to land anything in life we should be thin, okay, maybe I do need those shoes that will make my legs look longer plus, they are in trend.
We’ve all been consumed in some or all forms of these guilty pleasures at some point in our lives.
Which made us consumers.
Which brings me to my next point: guilty pleasure as a primal “need” to be naughty in a consumerist culture makes us perfect targets of all the cheap thrills that keep us distracted, shameful, spending money and time on things that are made with no more purpose than to make us want to consume more and more and more.
This isn’t a finished thought. It’s something that came over me as I was sipping on morning coffee this AM.
“I shouldn’t be having so much coffee,” I thought to myself.
“Such a guilty pleasure it is,” as I consumed my second cup.
What a mind f$ck.