A Note on Aesthetics


Growing up we are exposed to many social narratives that say, “This is a boy thing. That is a girl thing. This is for teenage girls. That is for nerds.” It can be incredibly difficult to challenge these narratives as a kiddo and in many cases personal safety or ostracization are the consequences of not performing these narratives (especially for neurodivergents and LGBTQ+ folk that are striving to ‘pass’).

Prominent norms teach us that not only should we not enjoy a multitude of things if we have/don’t have certain attributes, they also teach us not to enjoy a thing too much. You can like x but don’t talk about it too much, or even at all! You can enjoy superheroes but if you can tell me which art styles were pioneered by Steve Ditko you’re too interested in a thing!

This is a bunch of bunk, or #$%^ if you prefer.

It took me way too long to be comfortable with many of my aesthetic preferences and no longer feel shame or embarrassment by things I enjoy. I invite readers to consider whether they too have been holding on to shame or embarrassment for things they enjoy. I also invite y’all to consider if it is time to let go of the shame and enjoy the thing.

There is an episode of the T.V. show Psych where a married couple spend almost the entire episode performing and pretending that they enjoy ‘mainstream’ entertainment like football only to discover that they had both lied to each other to watch a Battlestar Galactica marathon and had many shared fandoms. As ridiculous as it may sound, these kind of performances and hiding our delights is not atypical.

A large reason for the creation of Werepenguin Productions was to create space where people can be free to enjoy their aesthetics shame free and share that enjoyment with others. Unless something is promoting or glorifying bigotry, rape, or harm against minorities, liking a thing isn’t a priori “right/wrong”. No matter how loud a narrative shouts, “liking these things is weird” there is no objective standard derivable to conclude that. Similar to taste preferences, a majority might dig certain flavors but that doesn’t mean liking peanut butter ice cream is better or worse than liking wasabi ice cream.

So enjoy My Little Pony Friendship is Magic if that is your thing (we dig it too), dance to Dido, dip your Doritos in cottage cheese (not my thing but hey no judgment), rock that new build on WOW, and when you’re done we’d love to learn more about your fandoms and favorites 😊