entertainment

Why are we letting teenage girls pay money to see this group?

Four of the Janoskians

By TARA LEE

On a Saturday night last month, I begrudgingly took my 16-year-old daughter to see the Janoskians at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre. It was the last night on their world tour.

The Janoskians are a group of five Australian teenagers who perform pranks. They became big on You Tube and shot to internet fame, having since released a couple of singles. The world’s general view of them is that they’re immature, harmless fun.

Beforehand, I was well aware of what I was getting myself into – or so I thought. I expected gross pranks, silly skits, stunts where they harm each other or themselves. I even expected the miming, having taken my daughter to the signing of their first single and finding it strange how in the hours we were there, they never sang an actual song. They are “entertainers” and make it well known they are “not a boy band”.

I expected swearing, albeit still found it a little shocking when they came out and said to their audience “girls, shut the f*ck up!” — and warned parents there would be quite a lot of swearing and said that if we didn’t like it we could get our kid and “f*ck off”.

But it wasn’t any of those things that had me wondering what I wasted my money on.

It was the bewilderment of how the theatre, the promoter and the act itself thought it was okay to be so utterly degrading to teenage girls who were there watching an underage show.

The pathetic oops-left-my-mic-on-backstage joke about someone with big tits in the front row, barely touched the surface. At Q&A time, when asked about what their favourite body part was, one boy said that while he liked a good tit, he preferred arse and commented on how many great arses there were at the meet and greet.

Then it progressed to how the Sydney girls were sexy bitches, corrected by another on-stage star to “sexy SLUTS”. This prompted cheers from the audience, who seemed to think this was a good thing.

In one game the Janoskians called “paper, scissors, cock”, one of the boys warned the crowd, “if I get hit in the balls I can’t get you pregnant.” As if getting teenage girls pregnant was what the girls wanted and a positive thing.

The so-called stars also commented on how Sydney girls were the horniest before asking “do I make you wet?” to huge applause, before spraying the crowd with water. This coming from an almost 20-year-old man to young teenage girls.

When one young girl was called up onstage for a game and she couldn’t think of a good question, they suggested she ask one of the boys, “how big is your dick?” to which he replied, “you’ll find out tonight”.

Again, this was said to an underage girl.

This was at an all ages show, where there were not only young teenagers but even younger children. I saw one boy who must have been about 10-years-old. I shudder to think that these boys were his role models.

The girls cheered as the boys treated them like pieces of meat and made sexually explicit comments at them. If it wasn’t bad enough that the boys showed no talent and appeared to make little effort (they rehearsed? Really?), they then had hundreds of girls leaving that theatre, acting grateful for the wonderment they had beheld.

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The Janoskians

I came away disgusted and with many, many questions. How are we letting this happen? How is such an act allowed at an all ages gig?

Why does no one take responsibility for this? More importantly, to the mothers and fathers of those “boys”: would you ever let a man treat your daughter in such a way?

Unfortunately, many girls left the show feeling privileged to be treated that way.

Thankfully, this mother left with a daughter who was unimpressed. My girl said she expected – like myself – some skits, silly pranks and to hear their singles. It wasn’t just the lip syncing she was disappointed with. She didn’t like the way they interacted with fans, and in her own words said it was “inappropriate”.

If a young girl can come to that conclusion, how can the promoters come to another? What were they thinking? The boys are known to be unpredictable, so why would they take that gamble?

Bingo. Therein lies the appeal that draws more ticket sales. The shock factor brings in dollars.

The appeal of the Janoskians seems to lie in their unpredictability , their attitude that they don’t care and the fact that they are constantly pushing boundaries. Of course like boy bands, their looks seal the deal. Their clever use of social media has been a big factor in their success. It gives them many opportunities to interact and fans feel like they have developed a real relationship with the boys.

They’ve used it very effectively to promote their singles and tour, with a “tweet to unlock” tour dates strategy making great use of their fans as their social media team.  It must be a dream come true to their record company and promoter – so much of the work has been done for them.

The fans are fiercely loyal.

And if there’s one thing a teenager craves it’s to feel like they are a part of something – to belong.  If they can unite behind something, especially where there are any critics or “haters”, then there is  your perfect recipe for a loyal, strong fan base.

In fact, as much as that awful stunt “Public W**king” drew ire across the world, it appears now that it only served to make the fan base stronger and more determined. The “Janoskianators” are like “Beliebers”, and in their eyes the boys can do no wrong and any criticism just makes them close ranks and become more loyal.

That’s why I ask: where are the regulations to make those decisions for those young, wide-eyed fans? This show would never have been allowed on television, or a movie onto our screens, directed at the age of the fans – so what are the standards for a live show, and who is responsible for this?

Entertainment  should not come at the expense of young fans thinking this is an acceptable way to treat each other, or to grow up thinking that being degraded like that is something they should feel grateful for.

Tara Lee is a mother of two from Sydney. She is a passionate music lover and strong supporter of public education.

What do you think of how the Janoskians treat their underage, female fans? 

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