I want to apologise in advance – but this is going to be a rambly post. I started with a structure, but I just got so carried away while typing that I really lost my flow…however, I do think everything in this post is relevant – otherwise I would have deleted it. I’m sure we’ve all encountered something like this in our lives, and I’m also sure that you’ve been equally frustrated!
A while ago, while sifting through my Twitter feed, a saw a lot of book bloggers getting very angry over a comment left on a fellow blogger’s YouTube channel (I think!) The comment implied that the commenter struggled to accept that the girl in the video had actually read these books, as in the video she had a full face of make-up on. Could you really imagine someone who takes the time to contour snuggling up and getting engrossed in a book? Because, obviously, you are only allowed to have an interest in one thing.
Something similar happened when I visited a friend, who I don’t get to see very often. At the end of meeting, I walked back to her house and popped in to say hello to her mum – and also to see her Wii U, as I was thinking of getting one but wasn’t quite sure if I should. After finishing up a Mario Kart race, I offered her sister the controller and asked if she wanted a turn.
“No,” she replied. “I don’t play video games. I can read.”
I can totally see why she would say that – because as someone who enjoys playing video games, I obviously never took the time to learn to read. I can only do one of these things, that’s how life works. (I’ve since deduced, after my Internet Education, that she couldn’t have been able to read because she was wearing make up.)
I let the comment slide, though I was annoyed at the implication that I couldn’t read, as I didn’t want to get into an argument. I did start keeping track of how many times I encountered similar situations – where it was assumed because you like one thing, you cannot like another. People who play video games can’t read, people who wear make-up can’t read, people who read can’t wear make-up, people who like heavy metal music can’t like Taylor Swift, people who play video games can’t play sports, people who play sports can’t wear make up. You can’t like Marvel and DC, you can’t like PlayStation and Xbox. Some people seem shocked, surprised or even offended when you mentioned you like both. Some people don’t believe you, and test you on your chosen subject. Some accuse you of lying to fit in – or to stand out. You can’t win either way.
We see these clichés all the time in films and in books, where people fit so tightly into one area of interest they can’t cope with anything else – The Big Bang Theory being a fantastic example of this. And while I totally accept that some people who like science really won’t like sports, and some people who like make up and drinking don’t like science or video games, it doesn’t mean that the people who like both are lying. It doesn’t mean that people who like both are wrong. It doesn’t mean people who like everything are flaky or fake, or can’t commit to one thing. I doesn’t mean people who only like a few things are closed-minded. The closed-minded people are the people who don’t believe a girl with flawless make up could have, at any point, read a book.
I love video games. I love spending hours trying to unlock a dungeon or working my way around a map only for the solution to suddenly click. I love working in a guild to bring down a raid boss, and though I usually mess it up and everyone else has to pick up my slack, I still love it. I also love make up, and hair styling, though I’m terrible at them. I love colouring my hair and trying to make it look pretty. I really, really like dinosaurs, I also like playing Rugby. I love playing Chess. I also love Made in Chelsea.
You can play World of Warcraft in your prettiest dress. You can read a book while rocking the perfect contour. You can like Kesha and My Chemical Romance and Kayne West and The Beatles. You can do your most intricate nail art while watching Robot Wars. You can do your number crunching while watching Downton Abbey. You can follow NASA on Twitter and The Kardashians and be interested in what both have to say. Wearing mascara will not stop you from finding that elusive fossil in your dig. You do not have to have a ‘theme’ in life – you do not have to fit into a niche. Like everything you want, try everything you want – but don’t shy away from something just because you don’t think it fits with people’s ideas of what you should be able to do.
Just like as much as you want, for as much as you want to like it.