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You Don't Have to Explain What You Like

I want to talk about what is valuable—as art, creation, literature, etc.

I was a snob about this for a long time because I didn’t know what I liked so instead trusted the experts that so confidently presented their opinions to me. And I didn’t imagine that my opinion would be valuable enough anyway. With hindsight this was another strong indication that I didn’t think I was enough so how could my appreciation or opinion actually count?

Young girls are especially told they have no critical taste. I can clearly remember the first time my older male cousin told me how much my musical taste was rubbish. (I forgive you John LOL) But it's just one example of how we condition girls not to trust and value themselves.

I loved what Harry Styles said when asked by Rolling Stone if it bothered him that the vast majority of his fans are still teenage girls.

“Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music - short for popular right? - have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? … Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it?”

I don’t care what inspires you, whether it’s a scene from Titanic, a Taylor Swift song, or Pitch Perfect. Everything is valuable if it inspires you to do something, take an action one size bigger than you thought you could, make something, learn something, say something, makes you laugh, or makes you go all warm fuzzy all over. That’s art too, not just technical presentations of a particular medium. The value of art is determined by its impact on you, not just its value on an auction block—that’s an investment, and not just what the critics think—that’s opinion too.

Don’t let anyone shame you for liking what you like. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you. When you know this you can be so much more confident to try new things. You trust yourself to know what you like so there is no failure if your appreciation doesn’t match a particular perspective. A lot of the loudest critics never venture out of their own areas of expertise because they are afraid they won’t know enough to make the “proper” judgement on what they encounter. And that would embarrass them.

When you know what you like and trust yourself to make choices based on that you can try everything because you understand its value is based on your appreciation of it, not just getting it right.

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