Pop Music, Teenage Girls and the Legitimacy of Fandom | Pitchfork
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There is no greater cultural crime a young girl can commit than loving pop music without apology. Forever marginalized as the screaming, crying Beatlemaniac, Directioner, or Swiftie, teen girl fandom in 2015 is more powerful and worthy of our respect than ever. Blogs, fan forums, and other online communities are havens for fans to dissect every tweet and performance their idols offer up, and these spaces are often ruled by teen girls. They worship collectively, exalt in mutual understanding, and celebrate both the bands they adore and one another. In fan-dominated spaces, teen girls are the ultimate authorities.
But their power has an expiration date, because pop artists earn respect only when they stop appealing to a teen demographic. Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé are two of the most prominent faces of this, prancing proof of the idea that there’s a legitimacy and longevity awaiting pop artists when they trade their Teen Choice Awards for Grammys. It’s an idea that is now so prevalent that we’ve begun predicting who, in new pop groups, will be the one to “pull a Timberlake” and leave the group behind for respectable success. The boy bands and girl groups—not to mention their passionate supporters—that made these artists famous are seemingly only of value when they act as stepping stones to the next, better group of appreciative listeners. Drop the chaste pop songs about unrequited love and hand-holding, they’re taught, and they’ll move on to the right kind of fans: adults, men. That is how one becomes an artist, right?