Boy Bands: An Example of Why We Need Feminism

Bands like One Direction, BTS, EXO, Five Seconds of Summer, The Vamps, etc. are a principal example of why we need feminism.


I choose to initiate this piece of writing with the very appropriate words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, a part of human rights in general, but to choose to use the vague expression ‘human rights’ is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women on the whole.

She has summed up the meaning of (and behind) Feminism in apt words for those who fail to make sense of the appellation and just caper into the wrangle with the wrong self-understanding of the word as a weak armour.

I am not here to chew over that part of the box though. What I would like to present today is just a fraction of the main issue—one of the many branches of the tree.

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. 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 boybands, you can clearly see that they all have a fanbase that is predominantly made of females. In the music industry, when talking about the perception of the general public, they are undisputably all looked on without seriousness or respect. One Direction and similar bands have broken a myriad amount of records. All of them have been playing to millions and millions of people and have sold-out-in-a-blink shows every single night. 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 and an approximation of 250 million dollar fortune. Their first single ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ climbed quickly to number one on the UK Singles Chart and after 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 second fastest-selling album of 2015 in the UK just a week after its release, outstripped only by Adele’s ‘25.’ 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. Still, their successes are demeaned by the fact that they have a fanbase that is mostly females varying from age 12 to 25. And when these bands strike colossal winners, it is belittled and dismissed on the justification that the people who support and give them their all into loving them are merely a bunch of “obsessed,” “crazed” and “delusional” 12-year-olds running on their tails for these pretty boys in skinny jeans, and that these bands do not retain any “real talent” with the exception of being good only on the looks department.

That is such an easy interpretation—a way out. Do you actually think millions and millions of these girls—who may be in high-school, starting college, working multiple jobs on the go and making bare minimum wages or better yet, married—would be out there blowing away their hard-earned money on albums just because they think their creators are “pretty” and want to “date them”? Well, I say no. They certainly have much better things to fritter away their money on than people who they might not even ever get to see in person. They buy their music because it makes them feel good and perform as a consolation in their 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 them get through it behind the scenes? I bet if the roles were swapped and these bands had fanbases that were overloaded with mainly males, things would have been different for them. You would be seeing them in a different outlook entirely. They would have moved from one end of the spectrum to a whole new other one. These bands would be getting much more recognition from the general public, the old legendary people, getting nominated for award shows (that is, Grammys, etc.) that are much bigger than just these minor-league ones, and not getting snubbed solely for the point that females like them.

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. It is more like an open secret, you see. These people know they are generalising—they are probably also the ones who listen to Taylor Swift and Big Time Rush in the shower every single day on the back—but they will not stop publicly making everything females do out to be some sort of a silly joke. It is how it goes here and how it has always been going on. Society runs on the sole purpose of making everything someone, more likely a female, does or enjoys 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 somethings so simple. You have seen it with yoga pants, makeup, 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 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 they have female followers.

What do you think?

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Written by zaynab syed

Zaynab Syed is an eerily minded eighteen-year-old girl, an aspiring and perfervid Writer and Poet, Photographer, and Social Activist, who comes from a country that has almost always been seen in a coat of darkness. Ever since the time when her father first bought her a bargain-basement issue of ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini and ‘B’ by Sarah Kay, she seems to have congregated the passion for penning as a wharf of veiled feelings in splotchy ink. A humourist from soul and a dreamer at heart, Zaynab has a plethora of career goals, but her main goal is to move to New York City and maintain a fulfilling career in creative writing, amongst other things. Meanwhile, she has been sharing a ripple of random thoughts and opinions, poems and photography of her every journey in the home of social media and also aims to take her work oceans across oceans.

Contact her on Twitter: @writetovoice


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