And not all biases are as obvious or culturally insidious. Maybe you just think no one under 21 should ever be depicted or mentioned as having sex because you’re under 21 and find the idea of sex incredibly distressing. And you’re allowed to find it distressing! No one should ever coerce you into having sex before you’re ready, whether that happens when you’re 17, 27, 97, or never! But if someone writes a YA novel where they draw on their own experiences of losing their virginity at 17, and it makes you uncomfortable – they are not sexualizing you. That YA author has no idea you, as an individual, exist. Instead of leaping to that explanation for why you find yourself uncomfortable, consider the chance that what you’re actually reacting to is someone portraying the experience of being a teenager in a way that you don’t identify completely with, and being challenged with the non-universality of your experience is what’s making you uncomfortable.
‘Lena on universality.
I think this is a really interesting way of framing this conversation, particularly because it explicitly states that reactionary fandom anti “discomfort”1 with media—despite usually being framed in “woke” language—is coming from exactly the same damn place as white boys who get mad about girls and people of color in “their” A Star War (or whatever).
- See also: people unironically using the word “comfy” to describe media, which is both a huge red flag and massive berserk button for me. Yay! [↩]