Teenage girls have borne the brunt of a male-dominated society that has suppressed or ignored their desires and interests for centuries. Yet ironically the most popular trendsetters in the music industry have gained boosts solely due to glitter-eyed girls screaming ecstatically at their favorite pop idols.
Beatles, BTS, And More
The Beatles were just starting out as a psychedelic rock band at Liverpool basement bars when teenage girls first recognized their music. It was these girls who first carried the band to its world-famous stature and pushed them towards becoming one of the most influential rock bands in history.
In spite of the credit due to them, Beatlemaniac girls were labeled as ‘oversexed’ or ‘hysterical’.
Paul Johnson, a journalist, wrote in an infamous article in New Statesman in 1963, “Those who flock round the Beatles, who scream themselves into hysteria, whose vacant faces flicker over the TV screen, are the least fortunate of their generation, the dull, the idle, the failures.”
Similarly, the BTS ARMY (the name given to BTS fans) has been denounced in recent times. Regarding the immense popularity of BTS among teenage girls, Amanda Petrusich wrote in The New Yorker, “The audience reaction shots from the band’s performance at the Billboard Music Awards earlier this month revealed young women going cuckoo, clutching themselves in a kind of hysterical rapture.”
Roots Of Hysteria
This obsession with associating young women with the word ‘hysteria’ can be traced back to modern times. It has roots in Ancient Greece in the 5th century. The Greek term ‘hysterika’ means ‘uterus’.
Physicians apparently blamed a ‘roaming uterus’ as the cause of the fainting, anxiety, and mood swings of women. Hysteria was even diagnosed as a mental disorder, and it was only in 1980 that it officially left the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR).
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So whenever a group of teenage girls is labeled as ‘hysterical’ for loving pop music hard, the fires of misogynistic practices are stoked in a machismo industry. Yet between the lines, everyone is aware of the power that teenage girls hold in the market of pop culture. They are both honored and dreaded as the torchbearers of everything funky and cool.
Harry’s Love And Girl Power
Harry Styles tipped his hat to teenage girls when asked about how he could prove himself as a ‘serious musician’ before an older, refined audience. He gave a fitting reply, “Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music — short for popular, right? — have a worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy?
He stressed that music is ever-changing, and not bound to goal posts. “Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious?”
Evidence of teenage girls’ power in the pop culture realm is glaring. The Rolling Stones band would’ve lost its electrifying impact if the loud fangirl armies were absent in their arenas. A young Justin Bieber with messy or flattened hair wouldn’t have shot to stardom on Youtube without his girl fan base.
The new world of social media and the internet revolution has given wings to young girls. Mary Celeste Kearney, a media studies scholar at the University of Notre Dame, says how digital technologies have offered girls a kind of cultural power. “And there’s also more journalists, younger women or older women, who have been through the same thing, and who also have more cultural power and are willing to speak up.”
Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked
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