I believe that bands like One Direction, BTS, EXO, Five Seconds of Summer, The Vamps, etc. are a principal example of why we need feminism.
I know you probably just squinted at the screen with an expression of (???) and wondered why I plumped for using the words “why we need feminism” in the same line as talking about bands that are full of males. Talk about irony, right?
But stay buckled up.
Read me out.
I have not even started yet. I assure you I have a complete set of whys and wherefores ready to go.
If you look at every one of those bands full of males, you can clearly see that they all have a fan base that is predominantly made of females. In the music industry, it is almost considered a deadly eighth sin to be keen on versions of “bubble-gum pop”, as people call it, and because of that, boy bands are indisputably made a mockery out of and looked down upon without significance or respect.
In a thousand, One Direction and their fan base are an example of this. The successes of One Direction include winning over 242 awards and being nominated for more than 366 awards in total (including around seven Brit Awards, over and above 28 Teen Choice Awards, six Billboard Music Awards), over four billion YouTube views, 50 million records sold worldwide, an approximate of 250 million dollar fortune, and sold-out-in-a-blink shows for thousands and thousands of people every single night. Their first single “What Makes You Beautiful” climbed so quickly to number one on the UK Singles Chart that it became the most pre-ordered Sony Music Entertainment single in all of history. Their last album “Made in the A.M.” was released before their hiatus and became the fastest-selling album of 2015 in the UK just a week after its release. At present, they are equally as successful with their solo careers on the side. It has also come to a point that they are neck-and-neck with The Beatles for solo chart success.
So, as you can see, they are incredibly successful. However, their triumphs are always demeaned by the fact that they have a fan base that is mostly made of females varying from age 12 to so-on. And when these bands like One Direction and BTS and 5 Seconds of Summer strike colossal winners, it is belittled and dismissed on the justification that the people who love and give them their all into supporting them are merely a bunch of “obsessed,” “delusional,” “crazed,” and “hysterical” 12-year-olds—in better words, “frustrated housewives”—running on their tails for these pretty boys with pretty hair in skinny jeans; that these boy bands do not retain any “real talent” with the exception of being good only in the looks department.
Male fans are nearly never talked about in the same way at all. When you see a male getting real invested into football and going to a 90-minute match or simply to sit behind a television with his beer, screaming and shouting and spitting curses or cheers, he is not seen as “hysterical”, “aggressive” or “crazy” like when a female does it. The world thinks that boys shout and scream around and that it is perfectly fine because males are patriarchal and socially accepted unassailable creatures by nature, hence pushing the “macho” narrative forcefully on them and blossoming the system of society or government wherein men cleave to power and women are predominantly excluded from it; whereas on their word, girls are not supposed to express themselves and should be conditioned as someone who is submissive and conventional to authority from a mere young age. In a patriarchal habitation, women are thought to be “weak” and men as “strong”.
Gender bias and oppression constructed on gender are some crises that have demonstrably been existing in society throughout history and still do, to this day, as well as lack of economic opportunity and unemployment, education deprivation, corruption, religious conflicts, poverty, destruction of nature, violence in schools, shifting economy, racism, and white-supremacy.
That is the reason why, more often than not, female fans are ridiculed and mocked for their vibrant devotion to these boy bands. They are lowered by a brush of words that may sound however transitory to the ears of the world but are heavily loaded with misogyny, sexism, discrimination, and derision.
“They are just teenage girls, what do you expect?”
“So you like bubble-gum pop singing teenage boys?”
“You are so delusional. You are never going to date him. Get over it.”
“They sing like little girls.”
It is insulting to women. It is insulting to gender. Almost like all major issues, it also comes down to sex.
Yet, the general public never sits down to think that a woman, as a corresponding human being like them, is also a sexual and expressive creature. But that certainly does not necessarily mean that female fans who enthuse to support or look up to their idols in boy bands as mentors are in any shape or form absorbed in a fantasy with them.
Millions and millions of these female fans—who may be in high school, starting college, working multiple jobs on-the-go and making bare minimum wages or better yet, married—are not out there blowing away their hard-earned money on albums and concerts just because they think the creators of those albums are “pretty” or “hot” and want to “date them”. We certainly have much better things to fritter away our money on rather than on people who we might not even ever get to see in person. We buy their music and listen to them religiously because it makes us feel good in our down-times, escapes us out into an imaginary world of succour and harmony, and performs as a consolation in our hectic lives.
Music is a pathway of escape for a lot of people out there and who is to say that these bands do not play a huge role in helping females get through it behind the scenes?
If we swap the roles and take bands like The Rolling Stones, Linkin Park and AC/DC who have a fan base overloaded with mostly males, things would be so much different for everyone. The world would (does) look up at them from a different perspective entirely. They would be moved from one end of the spectrum to a whole new other one. These bands would be (are) getting much more recognition from the general public—“the old legendary people”—getting nominated for momentous award shows (that is, Grammys, etc.) that are much bigger than just these minor-league ones, and not getting snubbed solely for the fact that females like them.
Surely, the issue of gender bias has emerged from the deep-rooted historical patriarchy of fragile minds.
In the early days, The Beatles also used to have fans that were mostly “screaming” females. It technically all used to be the same: the same enthusiasm of the fans, the same playing to jam-packed grounds, and the same rocketing record sales. They were not taken all that seriously by the general public up until they were history and the locals started picking up on their tunes because now they could easily classify as some sort of “classic” and apparently, listening to “classics” makes you sound super cool and edgy.
It is more like an open secret, you see.
The world knows it is categorising females as delicate and suppressed—it is probably also the same world that listens to Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande in the shower every single day at the back—but it will not stop publicly making everything females do out to be some sort of a silly joke. It is how it goes around here and how it has always been going on. Society cannot function properly without the sole purpose of making everything someone, more likely a female, does or enjoys as a petty joke. It manipulates and forces people to disregard their means of comfort and enjoyment just because it does not suit them or is not convenient for the system on the whole. Instead of letting people go on as however they would see fit, it inflicts its own opinions upon people and tries to run their lives the same way they are doing so. It makes a mockery out of everything so great and some things so simple. You have seen it with yoga pants, makeup, filters, Starbucks, the whole women-not-knowing-what-sports-are stereotype and even something as austere as a pout in selfies.
Thus, now we have these extremely capable bands making many people have a run for their money but are not receiving the sort of respect, recognition and attention from the general society that they truly deserve and all because of what?
Because they have female supporters.
Photo Credit: P.S. I Love You