Why It’s Okay to Flow with the Mainstream
"I used to like them… but they became mainstream."
A sentence uttered way too often by many.
The whole concept of going against the mainstream revolves around the idea that liking something that everyone else does isn't "cool." Music's Top 40 is suddenly lame. The upcoming romcom's plot is too obvious. And don't even get me started on Green Tea Latte. Some are too quick to judge my interests and my taste in music and in movies. Shaming has gone so far to the point that some people even refuse to admit what they like because they want to maintain a certain image. When I like what's liked by many, all of a sudden, I am basic, unoriginal, and uncultured.
On the other side of the line of this shaming is the judger—which, in all honesty, I don't quite understand. You just make other people feel bad about themselves. Sometimes I think that this is all rooted on selfishness—being unable to share what we like with others because we'd rather keep it to ourselves. People are quick to say, "I heard that song, before it was mainstream," because the moment we acknowledge that someone else likes it or has heard about it, it is no longer ours to cherish. And other times, I think it's rooted on having a superiority complex. You like to think that you have better taste and your interests are better, and that's why you put down someone else's.
When you shame someone for what they enjoy, what do you get out of it? Nothing, really. When you shame other people, you train them into thinking they're not allowed to like what they like, unless they want to be labeled or judged.
Thing is, no one's forcing you to take interest in the same things. Accept someone else's interests and taste, even if they don't necessarily match with your own. Learn about someone else's idea of entertainment and give someone else's playlist a listen. At the end of the day, it all just boils down to respect.
Respect others enough to welcome their interests with open arms, and respect yourself enough to walk away if it's not for you.
When we become so fixated on avoiding what's mainstream, we actually miss out on a lot of great things. I like that romantic comedies are predictable because I'm a sucker for happy endings. I can't not sing along when "What Makes You Beautiful" plays on the radio. And please, do you know how difficult it is not to like Green Tea Latte? You don't really owe anyone an explanation about your life, your choices and especially your iTunes library. Don't let anyone make your decisions for you.
When I continue to like what I like shamelessly, I'm never really on the losing end. Brush me off as basic, unoriginal, and uncultured all you want. I'd rather happily get into something I genuinely like than suffer in silence trying to pretend to like something I clearly don't.