Category: in case it wasn’t clear

This is such a tiny, tiny thing, but man I hate the way the word ‘problematic’ has been distorted in discourse.

I first encountered the word in academia, and it was used in a fairly narrow sense – for instance “Jane Eyre gives a stirring speech demanding fulfilment and freedom for women, but the demonisation of Bertha, as well as the animalistic way she is described, renders this problematic.”

As in…it was problematic because of contradictions within the work itself – the text is attempting to convey a certain perspective or idea, and yet contains elements which undermine or call into question that idea.

It wasn’t problematic because the idea was necessarily BAD – a totally obnoxious piece of right-wing propaganda might not be problematic, if it didn’t contain any discordant or contradictory elements.

But fandom seems to use the word problematic as a synonym for bad, and I can’t help it – I find it endlessly irritating.