Stop music shaming, or why it’s OK to like Justin Bieber

by Abby Musser – Horizon Copy Editor

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We’re all guilty of this. As soon as we learn that the person next to us likes Justin Bieber, we begin to judge them. We hold them in a little less esteem. Maybe it’s not Bieber that they like. Maybe it’s pop, heavy metal, or rap music in general. No matter what genre it is, it all adds up to the same thing: music shaming.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Here’s an example I found in the comments section of Justin Bieber’s video Confident.

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It goes on for a full paragraph bashing Bieber and his fans. That is not by far the only comment attacking fans of popular music artists. Take this comment from Iggy Azalea’s music video Black Widow.

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It’s time for the judgement to stop, and here’s why:

1. You are just as bad as the YouTube commenters.

While you might be using different words, you are conveying the same message. There are better, more respectful ways to disagree with someone. You do not have to immediately insult their intelligence based on something as superficial as their taste in music. Sometimes you sound less intelligent when you argue without evidence to back up your opinion. Then no one will take your criticism seriously.

2. You are hurting a lot of people.

When you get right down to it, music shaming is causing emotional pain for liking something that you deem unworthy of appreciation. There is already enough negativity in the world, making fun of people for liking pop music just adds to it. We all have our guilty pleasures. It’s hypocritical to shame others for having them too.

3. Pop music has been around for a while, and it is here to stay.

Pop music is a prime target for shaming. People complain that it’s too simple or it all sounds the same. Whether or not the complaints are true is unimportant. Pop stands for popular, it has been around since the 1890’s ragtime. Today it dominates the Hot 100 Billboard. It will always be present in the music scene. Yet when people say they like it they become targets of derision and ridicule.

4. We live in a very diverse world

People seem to forget that not everyone shares the same ideas as to what constitutes “good music.” We all like different styles and different artists, that should not be a problem. Many people claim that they like diversity among people, that differences in opinion are a good thing. We say it with politics, with fashion,and with food. So why doesn’t that same principle apply to music?

So the next time you hear that someone likes an artist that makes you cringe, before you begin to type or open your mouth to say something, pause a moment and think. Remember how it feels to be on the receiving end of such hurtful comments. Maybe then you’ll reconsider perpetuating the animosity.

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