Why are the musical interests of teenage girls looked down upon?
I was in sixth grade when iconic boy group One Direction released their first single, “What Makes You Beautiful”. The extremely catchy pure pop track has rocketed One Direction all over the world, especially among tweens and teens like me. As a young girl going through puberty, I loved One Direction not only because of their music, but also because I found the band members, especially Harry Styles, very attractive. I’m not ashamed to admit it. But as quickly as “What Makes You Beautiful” got stuck in my head, I learned that my interest in One Direction, and boy bands in general, was something I was ashamed of.
According to Rolling Stone, boy groups of all ages are linked by one thing: their propensity to perform in rooms full of screaming teenage girls. These girls, who make up the majority of their fans, are what make these groups so popular and successful. When I was 13, I experienced this phenomenon firsthand when I attended One Direction’s Take Me Home tour with opener 5 Seconds of Summer. I had never experienced anything so strong and exhilarating and I really had a blast. It was also amazing to be surrounded by thousands of other young girls with the same seemingly silly interest. Looking back, I consider myself very lucky to have been able to see One Direction live before their infamous breakup in 2015.
But when I returned to school for seventh grade, my male classmates quickly told me that loving One Direction, or any boy group for that matter, was unacceptable. “One Direction sucks,” they would say. “Girls think they’re good because they have a crush on Harry Styles.” They didn’t see these bands as making “real” music. I have also observed adult men making sarcastic comments about my interest in boy groups.
I find the fact that some people claim that boy bands don’t make “real music” is Ludacris. While researching for this column, I discovered that not only are The Beatles considered the greatest rock band of all time, but they are also considered the most popular boy group of all time. . Personally, I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who thinks the Beatles didn’t make “real music”.
Additionally, in 1965, The Beatles performed their most iconic concert of all time: Shea Stadium in New York City. This performance has been considered one of the most famous performances in rock ‘n’ roll history, right next to festivals like Woodstock and Monterey. But the Beatles didn’t perform in front of tens of thousands of adult men and women that night. The 56,000 people at Shea Stadium were mostly teenagers. Therefore, one of the greatest rock’n’roll moments of all time was put together by a bunch of screaming boys and teenage girls.
I’m not saying that the music of One Direction, or any boy group, is particularly overwhelming or deep. But I want to point out that teenage girls are scrutinized for their musical tastes and boy groups are scoffed at in part because their fan base is mostly made up of teenage girls. Just because teenage girls are interested in something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unpopular.