COLUMN: Don't brush off girls' interests
When Harry Styles released his latest song, I was over the moon. When I figured out how to do the perfect cat eye, I was thrilled. This level of happiness was only equal to how I felt when the “Heartbeat Bill” failed in Ohio and when my allergy initiative was accepted by an IU nutritionist.
In popular culture, there is a disdain for what teenage girls like — not because the content is not good, but because if young girls like it, then it obviously is stupid.
It may seen like a trivial problem, but constantly telling girls that their interests are unimportant or superficial is discouraging.
It can make girls feel that in order to be cool, they need to fit an unachievable model.
This disdain is most easily highlighted in fields such as music.
Yes, teenage girls can become very involved in their fandomsm, their appearance or fashion. However, these girls have also led to the creations of some off the most culturally significant movements in the last century.
The Beatles and Rolling Stones were propelled to greatness because of Beatle mania and teenage girls’ interest in them.
These two bands are not seen as teenage girl music. Teenage girl music is often dominated by the modern boy band, which many snobs view as a mockery of music at the height of its popularity.
This may be why many indie and alternative bands like to distance themselves from having female fans.
The 1975 front man Matthew Healy said that if a boy band is merely defined by “a female-led population of fans ... then we’re a boy band.” Teenage girls constitute a large proportion of music consumption and industry.
This is why it seems that bands that distance themselves from their fanbase in an effort to appear legitimate are so disappointing.
Liking popular culture doesn’t make young girls less intelligent or less capable. It doesn’t discount their intelligence or their skills, nor does it do anything except say that they like this music.
Too often young girls are mocked for saying that they like popular culture.
The amount of people who have apologized to me for having One Direction or Taylor Swift on their playlists is ridiculous. These were people who were accepted into medical schools, internships at prestigious companies or their dream jobs. Their seemingly girly taste in music in no way discounted their professional worth.
I think it’s ridiculous that when young girls like a certain type of music, it is seen as less important than if a bunch of older men like it.
My love for One Direction is no less legitimate than someone else’s love for Black Sabbath.
Despite my music taste, I am still an informed voter, a motivated student and a hard worker — my music taste has no effect on my intelligence level.
Girls and young women shouldn’t feel confined to enjoy only what society views as acceptable or normal. Harry Styles said it best in an interview with Rolling Stone: “Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music — short for popular, right? — have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That’s not up to you to say.”
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