Making fun of “the masses” means not understanding anything about women’s history and music

We’re at the beginning of 2010. The late Betty Journal by Jan Barthes airs his main column, Precious Waters, on TV. Every time One Direction, Tokio Hotel, Justin Bieber, or other punk pop stars (a period of shady fashion choices) come along, the show’s bright red microphone quickly meets fans. But not just any.

These little girls with their beautiful metal braces teeth and acne-prone skin are having fun. Or at least their excessive passion. Patient, they collect banners and sweet words in their hands in front of the hotel, concert hall, or even the radio welcoming their idols, and then shout their eyes.

At the time, I also saw my sleepy adolescence, where loving each other was more like the Twelve Works of Hercules than a to-do list in a personal development blog. Faced with this dating—whose name and tagline (obviously braces) take me back to my daily torment—my first reaction was also to make fun of these little girls.

After all, I’m better than them. Since my peak 12 years ago, I’ve been listening to “real” music groups like The Strokes or Arctic Monkeys. However, in 2011, I went to the concert of Julien Casablancas and his clique in Paris with a small drawing that slipped into my pocket. I have a naive hope to meet those who decorate the walls of my room. Finally, I am such a fan that Le Petit Journal likes to make fun of, but without their courage or patience. Is it really a defect? Since life stigma is not an option, I investigated.

Franz Liszt’s female fan base

When we go back in time, we realize that the female enthusiasm for male artists has always been there and that it has never been seen with good eyes. Indeed, in the nineteenthe Century, the enthusiasm of Hungarian pianist Franz Liszt’s fan base, made up of women who, according to biographer Alan Walker, fainted before him, christened them with a beautiful nickname: Lisztomania.

A name that bears nothing positive for Norma Coates, associate professor at the University of Western Ontario and president of the American chapter of the International Society for the Study of Popular Music. “Obsession” means that you go crazy, lose control. Something women are already accused of. They will be very hysterical, and will not be able to control their emotions.she explained.

Since then, as soon as the artist awakens a touch of exaltation among women, panic reigns on the avenues, says Balavoin. In the 1920s, Rudy Valley [l’ancêtre des crooners, ndlr] He was the first to use the microphone. He can be very intimate in the way he sings, almost in the ear of the listener, and on top of that he had a very feminine voice. He created panic among the men of the country who accused him of exploiting women and driving them crazy.”Norma Coates says.

Then it followed, in the 1940s, that Frank Sinatra and his young fans, the “bobby-soxers”, were completely demonized by the media. Then a decade later, the Elvis Presley case. “People thought he would bribe white girls, because he was a white guy whose music sounded like a black artist.”University watch.

Rock and roll, music editing

But in reality, what was really going on in these little girls who bothered the commentators so much? To understand this, we must look at the responsibilities that weigh heavily on teenage girls. For centuries, a woman’s value was based on her virginity. Teenage girls were the only guardians. They had to set the limits of seduction. What are these limits? Kiss? flirtation? And being popular in boys’ eyes, they didn’t have to look tough nor “cheap”.

in his test Beatlemania: Girls just want to have funJournalist and feminist activist Barbara Ehrenreich says: “It was implicit a marital strategy based on months of sexual harassment, until a frustrated young man forced his engagement and proposal.” A tough teen role, let’s face it.

Representing the Beatles, according to
Journalist Barbara Ehrenreich,
free sexual pleasure
and abundance.

So when rock arrives, this overtly sexist music, where the artists exist in contrast to the ideal American friend, namely the middle class, the clean, patriotic and respectful of the rules of marriage, young girls were allowed to fantasize. “They grew up loving rock music. In this oppressive context, they were clearly troubled.”Norma Coates commented.

The concerns of the media and conservatives were well-founded: These teens, dubbed the Young Teens, are preparing for a social reversal. The latest trigger is about to hit the US: Beatlemania (one more!). In 1964, the Beatles, with long hair and a peculiar accent, landed on American soil, the country was grim – Kennedy was assassinated a year earlier – and still hardened.

And quickly they shook American solidity and became the darling of a generation of baby boomers. why? Because they represent, according to Barbara Ehrenreich, a free, pleasurable and liberating sexual activity. We tend to forget it, but at the time the Beatles were considered bisexual. The distinctive long bowl cut is a departure from the norm.

After Elvis’ makeup, the feminine and masculine continue to darken. Teenage girls yearn to have fun and scream. These are the beginnings of the sexual revolution that will sweep the United States at the end of the 1960s.

I wanted to be Mick Jagger
Fuck Brian Jones

To say Beatlemania hit hard is an understatement. Who would have imagined little girls squabbling with the police for four hours to get tickets to a concert? These types of stories abound in the media. We have fun because we disapprove of their behaviour.

During “The Ed Sullivan Show” [émission de divertissement à succès américaine, ndlr] From the Beatles in 1964, the presenter asked fans to remain silent. He said: Did you promise to keep quiet?Norma Coates reports. In parallel, the text of the show notes, upon John Lennon’s appearance: Sorry girls, he’s married. There is no other possible explanation for the girls’ attitude, these teenage girls would suffer from severe hysteria.

“I didn’t want to grow up and be a wife and it seemed to me
That the Beatles were kind of
The freedom I wanted.

ex small

But behind their behavior hides the desires for freedom and liberation. Little ex-man captivates at the time to Barbara Ehrenreich: “I didn’t want to grow up and be a wife and it seemed to me that the Beatles had the kind of freedom I wanted: no rules, they could spend two days lying in bed, riding motorbikes, eating room service.”

Same story with the groups, those superhero fans of the late ’60s who are often reduced to their relationships with artists. “Since I started analyzing my life writing this book, I knew I wanted to be Mick Jagger and fuck Brian Jones. But I didn’t know how to become Mick Jagger.”reveals in her autobiography Bebe Buell, a former model and group known for dating the skinny Rolling Stones singer.

We understand that being on stage is an obstacle for these women. It is easier for them to rub their shoulders or marry a well-known artist than to become themselves. Always a more exciting alternative than the life of a devoted wife to their mother. Because sharing a rock star’s life means embracing his lifestyle.

A symbol of what a woman can’t achieve

Since then, things haven’t really changed. On the other hand, the media continues to fundamentalize female fans and their passion. In 2013, GQ magazine went even further by insulting them.

He dedicated his front page to British boy band One Direction. The article describes the band’s audience as follows: “Shrubbery”[s] [créature mystique annonçant la mort par un cri ou hurlement, ndlr] grumpy and wet in their panties tearing their ears with hysterical enthusiasm when presented with things [leur] Charm”. It is also disturbing to see an adult press fascinated by the sexuality of teenage girls.

On the other hand, although the dominance of rock is no longer, and the status of women has improved in the West, rock music is still a symbol of what women cannot achieve. In a society where expectations for them are always higher – to be a mother, a girl boss, or skinny, beautiful, assertive but not so much – the artist is synonymous with freedom. On stage, a man always gets the cheers of the crowd, whether he’s topless, beer belly, poorly dressed, has greasy hair, or sings dissonantly. Luxury rock and roll.

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