Harry Styles has never really been on my list of people I thought would make me really think.
More often than I care to admit, I’ve found myself over-enthusiastically singing along to one of his tracks, ignoring the fact I have accumulated extensive knowledge of his lyrics without daring to consider how or why.
But when it comes to his ideas? Well, he just wasn’t lurking anywhere near my radar.
As I’m sure you’re quite aware, this week Harry Styles was interviewed by Rolling Stone as part of the press tour for his first ever solo single, ‘Sign of the Times’. And from a PR perspective, he did wonders. Styles was well-spoken and, as far as the eye can read, genuine. He covered his relationship with Taylor Swift, the wonderfully thoughtful meaning behind his new single (a complication during childbirth) and most remarkably, his relationship with young fans.
When asked whether he felt pressure to cater his solo career to an older, more adult crowd, he replied with his:
“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. Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles.
“You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans – they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick,” he told the music magazine.Advertisement
Before long, those words spread far and wide across the internet. Not only had Styles given the ultimate nod of respect to his largely female fan base – a feat not many others of his calibre can boast doing – it was also a point many hadn’t considered.
Why don't we give any credibility to the kinds of music young girls like? Why aren't their loves, passions and opinions considered legitimate?
Bands like One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer and artists like Cody Simpson and Justin Bieber may win the odd award and earn fat wallets of cash, but they're certainly not taken seriously for their craft.
The subtext is a really interesting one: Young girls have no taste, young girls only follow the crowd, young girls don't know quality. Yet.
Instead, when boy band singles and albums do gobstoppingly well, their success is almost always dismissed or at least qualified. The fans are crazy, the fans are unhealthily obsessed, of course it went to number one. This is only number one because of young girls.
It's as if the people buying this music and buying into the pop music, boy band phenomenon have no ability to think for themselves. Here we are, accidentally assuming young girls are running together in a blind stampede, totally malleable and easy to manipulate and with little to no clue about what they're listening to it or why they like it.
But of course Styles is right. Who are we to say tweens don't know quality, or can't see talent?
And here we find ourselves at a place I absolutely didn't see coming: Boy bands are one of the reasons we need feminism.
Because so long as their fans are dismissed, scorned and not taken seriously, then someone needs to be in their corner, giving voice to the legitimacy of their loves.
Monz says a touch of Jazz makes the mundane life seem much more romantic.