people demonize kent and won't acknowledge that jack has made mistakes too. he's always pictured like the only one who's fucked up which he has, but jack's no saint either! their past is definitely not the best but who says it was all kent's fault? not to mention how shitty jack was to bitty in year one... I love jack but I'm also aware that he's not perfect and that not everything he does is because of his illness. so yeah I 100% agree with you and sorry for the rant!
Here’s the thing. I wasn’t going to share my own personal stories on here but I feel like, in defense of Kent, I have to.
I don’t like Jack Zimmerman. Because I had someone like Jack Zimmerman in my life. And even though it’s been years since I’ve seen her, it still hurts a lot every time I think about her.
I had a best friend. She was basically like a sister to me. She was basically like another member of the family to everyone in my family. She helped me through a whole lot of shit with school, and I helped her through her sexual abuse. She knew everything about me. She was like an extra limb. Our names were almost always uttered together. There was no A without S, and there was no S without A. But then something happened (I won’t get into details what, but like Kent it wasn’t something I really had a hand in) and she suddenly decided she didn’t want me in her life anymore. She blamed me for everything bad that had happened to her since we became best friends. And she completely cut me out of her life. Like she didn’t even care that we’d been that close to each other. Like I meant nothing to her. (She actually started dating my ex right after I broke up with him, too…)
I wasn’t even in a sexual relationship with her. And I wasn’t immediately thrown into the public spotlight right after shit went down between us. I can’t even imagine how much more fucked up I would have been if either of those were true in my situation.
It still fucks me up, though. Because more than the fact that she did something similar to me, her personality was a lot like Jack. The character himself brings out a lot of pain for me every time he appears. Especially because he’s painted as this loving, perfect, Prince Charming person while Kent is considered the “villain.”
(And gee, I wonder why they’re painted that way. Maybe because the whole story is from Bitty’s perspective, and Bitty is head over heels in love with Jack? And willing to forget about the fact that Jack has hurt him and others in the past? There’s just a little bit of bias at work here, remember that.)
Maybe I didn’t drive to her apartment and cause her to have a panic attack, but I did do things that weren’t okay. Things I probably shouldn’t have done, but the pain of what she did to me clouded my judgement and made me think it was okay to do. Does this make me the villain in my own life? Am I the bad guy because in my own experiences, I was the Kent to her Jack?
I don’t think there’s a single person in this fandom who would claim that Kent is perfect, that he’s done nothing wrong. We all know he was in the wrong when he visited Jack at school. But at the same time, everyone claiming he’s this abusive monster and making people feel bad for liking him wants to just gloss over the things their Prince Charming Fave Jack Zimmerman has done. They want to gloss over the fact that they both had a hand in the toxicity of their relationship, in juniors and now.
I’m not saying everyone should ignore their own experiences and deal with Kent the way that I deal with Jack. Which is basically with denial. But at the same time, it’s extremely destructive to put negative labels on a character that people relate to like that. Especially since there’s ONE INSTANCE in canon of him being a dick like that. That instance might be traumatic for some people and might bring back bad memories, but there’s only one instance that’s actually in canon of him doing anything like that. There’s no proof of it being a regular occurrence between them. No proof of it being anything more than a one-time mistake on Kent’s part. And yet because of it, people are quick to claim he’s abusive while they gloss over the fact that Jack causes the same type of pain in others. While they gloss over the fact that Jack showed a hurtful nature of his own for half of the first year.
I would never put a negative label on Jack like that, despite the fact that he genuinely causes me a great deal of pain. Because I know there are a lot of people who love and relate to him, and I would never want to actively make anyone feel bad for being a fan. I really don’t like him, but I keep it the fuck to myself because I don’t want to hurt anyone else.
Long story short: Different people relate to different characters because of the different experiences in their lives. Actively hating on one character’s fans and making them feel like they’re horrible because you don’t like him is not okay. If you want to dislike Kent, dislike Kent. But don’t make those who relate to him and like him feel like shit just because of it.