Boy Bands: And Other Pivotal Things In My Life

Words by: Ann LeMonnier/ @cooljewishboyy

Looking back on my middle school days, being between the ages of 12-14, it’s horribly cringe- worthy yet intriguing to see my interests at the time. The major and most influential one: boy bands. Throughout my tween years, I was a hardcore fangirl for groups such as Big Time Rush, The Vamps, The Naked Brothers Band, and possibly my most hardcore obsession (even three years later to present day), One Direction. Posters of these teen idols were plastered to my purple walls (next to my Edward Cullen shrine obviously) and believe me, I was ready to fight anyone who tried to question my love for Liam Payne. Though most of my other friends (primarily female), were also quite the fans, I, along with other girls in my age group, tended to receive criticism for our dedication to these musicians.
Within the world of boy bands, there is a constant stigma not just for the bands themselves, but the fans as well. The majority female audience is often under fire for being “superficial” and “shallow” to like these groups. This is due to the idea of boy bands being a gaggle of pretty boys dancing and singing to mediocre music, and that girls will fall for this without any idea of talent. This is not to say every single boy band is a complete hit. Like any genre of music, there are misses. Yet, to say that the reason why (primarily young) women will only listen to an artist is because of their looks, is completely ridiculous and to put up the front that girls who enjoy these guy groups are “shallow” and “clueless” is honestly quite misogynistic. Women already receive constant criticism for about any interest we have, because of the stereotypical reasoning that our ideas and likings are inferior to those of males, therefor making bands that have primarily female demographics considered invalid.
As I worked my way up to 7th grade, I felt pressured through social media (Facebook and instagram were just becoming big at the time) and those around me (specifically my male friends) to pretend to not enjoy the things that I obviously had huge interests in and took the path of listening to music that my guy friends listened to. Though I claimed the “girlier” media I liked (Teen Wolf, Seventeen Magazine, Harry Styles, etc) were “guilty pleasures”, I’m thinking about it now and wondering why I felt the need to do so. With the “not like the other girls” (aka more masculine=better) mentality I carried mixed with my wanting to fit in and be liked, I wish I’d stayed more true to myself and stood up for the bands and media I actually enjoyed. Though feminine ideals are surely still pushed towards women, there tends to be harsh and untrue stereotypes of these things being inferior to male interests.
Now, at sixteen years old, I’ve definitely grown marginally more comfortable with myself and gained a better self awareness for my passions and interests. I love It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The Front Bottoms and The Twilight Saga and don’t feel the need to gender these things and decide whether or not I should be embarrassed to like them. Boy bands such as N SYNC, Backstreet Boys, and my one true loves, One Direction are still groups I take part in listening to today partly for nostalgia but along with a genuine appreciation for their place in my tween years. People such as Justin Timberlake and Harry Styles were ambassadors for my love of music. These musicians were my first independent strides in loving something I treasure so much to this day. These were the first artists I listened to and found myself in without my parents prompting, and the first things I really felt passionate about. Gendering and slapping labels of inferiority over anything mainly loved by women is absolutely ridiculous and needs to be ended instead of hindering young girls from enjoying "feminine" media.

No comments:

Post a Comment