Monday, 24 March 2014

It's OK to like what you like

So, you like Doctor Who.  Or monster trucks.  Or needlework.  Or My Little Pony.  Or The Chronicles of Narnia. Or the Datsun Sunny.  Or the snippets of trivia on Libra packets.

And that's OK.

I think our interests choose us at least as much as we choose them.  You can't just will yourself to like something.  And if you do like something, you shouldn't have to pretend you don't for the sake of appearances.

by drkcaey on Wikimedia Commons
Most of us recognise this, at least in relation to other people.  We hear about a little girl being bullied for liking Star Wars, or a little boy for liking My Little Pony, and we recognise that it's unfair and messed up.

But often it's harder when it comes to ourselves.  There can be a lot of layers of hang-ups and shame - some from other people, some created by our own minds - about the things we like.

There's the idea that women are supposed to like one sort of thing and men another.  Other interests are restricted to people with specifically shaped bodies. (Cosplaying while fatPrepare to be hated on for daring to enjoy yourself and engage in fan activity!)

Age-appropriateness is another hang-up.  A lot of people on the spectrum have interests that don't necessarily match their age - little kids who are into string theory or Medieval plainsong, adults who are into kids' cartoons or toys.

Some interests are more fashionable than others, and this runs in cycles.  When I was a kid, everyone loved Doctor Who.  When I was in my teens, everyone except me seemed to hate it.  Now everyone loves it again.

It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter if you're not the intended target audience for the thing you like.

It doesn't matter if other people who like that thing are older or younger than you, or fatter or skinnier or otherwise different from you.  It doesn't matter if there are no other people who like that thing you like.  (There will be some, you just haven't found them yet.  They're out there, I promise.)

It's OK to like what you like.