Everyone is entitled to their own tastes in media and the arts. As a society, we have even coined certain terms to describe the relevance of certain sounds and aesthetics. While critiques and ratings have a certain place in media and art, there is also a time when we need to let people enjoy their own tastes in music, art, writing, and media without interrogating them on why they enjoy it. Somehow, we have managed to place art inside a box, and only let certain art into that box. We come to think that artists write, perform, and create only for the consumer–which has a truth to it–but as consumers, we also need to realize that creatives produce their work because they love doing so. We cannot continue to be so entitled.
Rappers Desiigner, Lil Yachty, CupcakKe and many others like them are notorious examples of newer art that are criticized for not fitting into society’s “Music Box,” be it lyrically or melodically. We hear that “pop music has no substance”, and condemn those who like the genre. “Feel-good” movies are often heavily criticized because everything has to have a “deeper meaning.” Many books are not even given a chance because the term “overrated” somehow automatically deems an entire genre unreadable. Harmless fashion is notorious for stirring controversy in today’s society.
Substance definitely has its place in art and media, but sometimes it is better to take a step back and let things be. Absolutely trashing the crowd that certain genres attract is obstructive; policing how people express themselves and the art they enjoy is pretentious. It is healthy to develop an individual mindset in one’s likes and dislikes, and equally healthy to mind our business when it comes to others’ preferences.
It is entirely possible to save our opinionated critiques for aspects of media that are problematic and dangerous for pop culture, like TV shows that give dangerous outlooks on teen suicide, music artists who condone violence, books that promote unhealthy and abusive relationships, trends that fetishize culture, and fashion that is carelessly appropriative.
In the Internet age, there is so much media to be consumed and appreciated, and there is no need to build our egos by disenfranchising and devaluing various aspects of art, especially when that art is harmless.