When your special interest turns out to be problematic

Content warning: Problematic creators, sexual assault allegations

Post by @autisticasfxxk
View on Threads

So, some fucked up shit came out about your special interest. It happened to me, and it fucking broke my heart. Here are some tips to help navigate this nightmare:

Take your time

It’s okay and perfectly understandable to have a grieving period. Your special interest was a big part of your life, and now it’s tainted. That shit hurts.

Allow yourself to feel all the feels: anger, betrayal, sadness… whatever comes up. Process this at your own pace, whether it takes a month, a couple of months, or over a year.

Reflect on the good

Make a list of all the valuable things this special interest has brought to your life. Maybe it helped you through tough times, connected you with friends, or taught you something new. These experiences and memories are still valid, even if the source is problematic.

It’s also okay if you can’t find any positives right now. It might take time before you can look back without feeling hurt. That’s understandable. Be patient with yourself.

To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you… if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred.

Daniel Radcliffe

Separate the art from the artist?

It’s up to you to decide if you want to continue engaging with this special interest. Some people can separate the art from the artist, others can’t.

It’s also okay to change your mind over time. You might need distance now but feel comfortable engaging with the work later, or vice versa. Your feelings may evolve, and that’s perfectly normal.

If you choose to stay engaged, consider buying second-hand or sailing the high seas (AKA piracy) to avoid financially supporting the creator.

You could also take a transgressive approach: create fan works that challenge the problematic aspects or feature themes the creator would hate, or support small businesses and artists making unofficial merch.

Explore new interests

When you’re ready, have fun discovering new interests. Doing so can be a healing process in itself.

You can use this opportunity to seek out diverse (women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalised voices) and lesser-known creators.

Who knows? You might stumble upon your next special interest. (I know I did. I found Rage Against the Machine!)

Read more on:
Tips & Resources

This blog supports webmentions. Send me a webmention here.