Honestly my favorite part of being a fan is watching wonderful things happen to the people I adore. I’ve been a Jonas Brothers fan since I was 13 and today Joe got engaged to Sophie Turner and I’m honestly so thrilled. It’s such a privilege to watch these guys who I adored as a kid grow and mature and have wonderful things happen.
I feel like this is what sets fans apart from each other; the ability to be happy when your celebrity crush is happy, even if it’s not with you. Like there’s so many people out there that say they are someone’s fan, but go out of their way to try and tear down their significant other. Like the people who hate on J2’s wives or the people who think Sophie Hunter was hired by Harvey Weinstein to pretend to be BenC’s wife. Like honestly when I was 14 I was in love with Joe Jonas. When he dated Taylor Swift I refused to listen to her music because I was so mad that she took my guy from me. But now that I’ve matured, I honestly could not be happier that my dude is getting married. Congrats Sophie and Joe!!!
I Won’t Stop Screaming: What Being a Jonas Brothers Fan Taught Me About How the Media Demeans the Interests of Young Women and How That Made Me the Proud Fangirl I Am Today
“With their most ambitious album yet, the JoBros are going for rock credibility. But what happens when the little girls stop screaming?”
That was the subheading of the Jonas Brothers second cover story for Rolling Stone “Boys to Men” that came out in July 2009, weeks after the release of what would become their final album “Lines, Vines, and Trying Times.” My mom bought that issue of Rolling Stone for me— I remember running upstairs to my room, so excited to read it, and my face falling when I opened it up to read that very first line. (Probably the most frustrating thing about that sentence, is that it was written by a female journalist. Internalized misogyny is the fucking worst).
I think about that sentence almost every single day. I’m currently in graduate school, working on my masters in media studies, and focusing on feminist cultural studies. I spend a lot of my time in and out of class actively “un-learning” the misogynistic and patriarchal bullshit that the media subjected me to as a young girl. Reading that Rolling Stone article, at age 15, was when I first started “un-learning.”. I was 15 (almost 16) years old, and I was not a little girl. I was a young woman. I’d, gotten my period for the first time in history class in 7th grade, I’d just kissed a boy for the first time, and was starting to learn how to drive a car. I had thoughts, opinions, feelings, and passions that were all valid and worthy of respect—but I was never afforded that. The media was telling me my interests were juvenile, trivial and unsophisticated, often implying that I wasn’t even listening to the music, no, I was in love with the boys because they were cute–their music was just noise. (The narrative “girls are passionate fans of boy bands not because they like the music, but just because they’re hot and they want to be with them” is problematic, not only because it’s untrue, but also because it erases the existence of any LGBTQ+ female fans).
Even the Jonas Brothers themselves contributed to this “crazy screaming fangirl” narrative with the opening of their 3D concert film. Sure, that opening chase scene is a reference to A Hard Day’s Night, but that’ is not the interpretation you reach first. . No one thinks, “Oh what a clever reference to The Beatles first film,” they think, “look at those crazy girls. In almost every single interview the brothers would be asked about their “craziest fan interaction”, and when they would play a morning show the hosts would often mock the girls who had lined up, sometimes days before, to get in line to see them.
The construction of the fangirl started with Elvis, and then came The Beatles, and so on and so forth. Many of the most popular music acts of all time owe all of their success to screaming girls. Young women are passionate, and dedicated. If a young woman loves a band or an artist she will support it any and every way she can, buying tickets to multiple concerts, buying multiple copies of the CD, buying the album on vinyl, downloading the album from iTunes and streaming the songs on Spotify even though they have all of the things mentioned before. The music industry is still afloat, thanks to fangirls. And still most media continue to frame young women who are fans of a popular male artist or group as hysterical (a word that derives from the Greek word for uterus, and was a common diagnosis male doctors would impose upon women, and now is a gendered silencing technique.) So, why did I have to stop screaming for the Jonas Brothers to become legitimized ? It was girls like me who had gotten them to this point, and now to be cool, they had to shed us? I’m 23 now and, I’ve been asking these same questions of every male band, or artist for the past eight years.
The answer is to not stop screaming, the answer is to get louder. When the Jonas Brothers went on hiatus in 2011, I didn’t have to wait long until another boy band came crashing into my life. This time it was 5 lads from the UK who had just placed third on ‘The X Factor’ and then it was a group of four boys dressed in black from head to toe from Manchester. Instead of shying away from fangirling, I fangirled even harder. ‘Cause you know what? Life gets a lot better when you stop feeling like you need to apologize for the things you love, and you stop thinking that you should be embarrassed, or worried you don’t come across as cool. I screamed even louder, literally and metaphorically, and you know what happened? I found my people. All of my best friends I met and bonded with because we were passionate about the same thing. And in the years since that sentence in Rolling Stone made my heart sink, things have gotten better for us fangirls. Because we decided to get louder.
When thinking about how powerful and great female fans are I am often reminded of a quote by Matty Healy (frontman of The 1975) that I think sums it up perfectly: “Go and play a show to 2,000 35-year-olds who are kind of into your band, then go and play a show to 5,000 18- to 20-year-olds who … would die for you and then you tell me what you’d rather do every night. There’s no conflict for me.” Seriously, have you been to a concert where theres just a bunch of dudes standing around holding beers and trying seem cool? It’s so miserable, its not fun! But an arena filled with thousands of young women having the time of their lives, singing at the top of their lungs and dancing? It’s magic. Seeing the Jonas Brothers live was the first time I got to be a part of that magic, and I’ll never forget it. So Rolling Stone and other media outlets can continue their fangirl hating nonsense, it’s not gonna stop me, it’s not going to stop us.
no seriously turn right? hey baby?? black keys??? poison ivy??! what did i do to your hearts?!! before the storm?!!! much better!!!!! entire lines vines trying times album was soooo under appreciated by jonas brothers fans tbqh