The Fake War Between TV & Books Is Over Once & For All, Contrary To Shailene Woodley's Comment At The Emmys

Ad failed to load

She probably didn't intend to stir up a fuss, but Big Little Lies Shailene Woodley got tongues wagging when she made a rather sharp remark about whether or not she watches TV. In revealing to E! News reporter Jason Kennedy that she doesn't own a TV and prefers to read books, Woodley's gentle controversy over watching TV versus reading, implying that watch TV was somehow indicative you were not as cool or cultured as if you read a book. But there's never been a reason to choose between one or the other; there is no war between the artistic mediums. You can do both, you can do one or the other, or heck, you can do neither. It's all up to you because cultural elitism is passé and your tastes are valid.

Woodley's comments are pretty sharp, even at face value. When Kennedy took her aside to chat with her about the Emmys and her own TV watching habits, Woodley laughed, asking "When do people have time [to watch TV]?". She then went on to qualify her rhetorical question, saying, "I'm a reader. So I always read a book instead of turning on my TV." The comment set Twitter abuzz, with many immediately perceiving Woodley's comments as some kind of dig at those who would rather get their entertainment from TV rather than books.

Woodley probably didn't mean her comment maliciously, nor did she intend for her comments to be construed as some kind of dig against the TV watchers of the world. So we shouldn't be too, too quick to criticize, even if her off-hand comment feels a bit rude or elitist; unintentionally and unnecessarily pitting one form of art against another will do that do you.

Ad failed to load

On the other hand, I can totally understand how Woodley's comments can be seen as weirdly elitist. I get how it's easy to stigmatize behavior that, on the surface, appears to just require you simply sit and look rather than sit and process words. It's easy, but it doesn't mean it's an entirely accurate assessment, considering TV has always found way to push conversations around intersectional socio-political issues, even without it blatantly being about that (see: Star Trek, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Cosby Show). TV is continuing to make us this and question our world in the ways that books do, with recent and notable Emmys winners The Handmaid's Tale, Master of None, and Big Little Lies notably tackling queer identity, women's reproductive rights, and domestic abuse. Books have tackled these topics, too, and have done an equally great job unpacking them; to pit TV against books the way Woodley did so casually is to create a kind of falsehood about which art form is better.

Ad failed to load

This weird, fake, nonexistent culture war that's implied in Woodley's statement simply isn't true. You're not better simply because you choose to read books and you're not worse off for choosing to watch TV. Both literature and TV produce great works and they produce bad works and yes, they produce middling works. There's no guarantee that one medium is better than the other simply because one requires a different means of intake.

Ad failed to load

While Woodley's now classified herself as "a reader" and in the process implied that books are better than television (despite the irony of having launched her career on the hit TV show The Secret Life of the American Teenager and finding success this year on Big Little Lies), there's no reason to hold it against her. Sure, she fired off a comment that many TV lovers have taken issue with. But what she may have been driving at — a war between TV and books — is over because it's been nonexistent for a long, long time.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Here's Your Horoscope For Memorial Day Weekend

We’re constantly fascinated by what our zodiac sign says about our lives, whether it's which signs are most compatible or how each sign handles conflict in relationships. That's why Bustle has enlisted Mecca Woods, a New York City-based astrologer of…
By Mecca Woods

These Are The Absolute Best Memorial Day Sales This Year

Get your credit cards ready, because this year's fashion and beauty Memorial Day sales might just be the best ones yet. There's not only major savings for the holiday, but some of the savings start days before. You know, so you can spend the entire w…
By Kali Borovic

Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In June To Help Get Your Summer Started

Summer is right around the corner, and so is another batch of streaming options to get excited about. On Wednesday, everything leaving and coming to Netflix in June 2018 was announced by the streaming platform. And don't worry, there's something for …
By Jamie Primeau

These Are The Beauty Products That Came Out In May That You DEFINITELY Need On Your Radar

For beauty lovers, months aren't just months: They're 28 to 31 day periods, wherein any and all product and brand launches can happen — and when they do, it feels like your birthday, no matter what time of the year you were actually born. The May 201…
By Amanda Richards

The 5 Rom-Coms You Need To Read This Summer, According To Someone Who Writes Them

'Tis the season for rom-coms. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and everyone is rocking the flirtiest items in their wardrobe. I don't know about you, but summer always takes me back to my teenage years — and that automatically makes me want t…
By Cristina Arreola

11 Tiny Sunglasses That Will Make You Look Even Cooler Than Kylie Jenner

You know what they say — the tinier the sunglasses, the more stylish the outfit. OK, that's not really a saying, but it seems to be the case these days. Basically every celebrity, model, and It person has been spotted sporting tiny sunglasses as part…
By Sara Tan

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan
)}