As of late, I have been really thinking about my experiences and girls around my age experiences of being openly passionate. Passionate about future careers, goals, relationships, Lana Del Rey, etc.
I can’t speak for every teenage girl, but from my own perspective I can easily say being passionate as a teenage girl is almost always looked down upon. Usually from adults, and even more usually grown men. And it really sucks. That attitude has created such internalized sexism in so many girls and too many girls who now keep their passion under the radar.
As a teenage girl who loves pink, listens to Britney Spears, and wants a career in the fashion industry, I can confidently say I have experienced a judgmental attitude for my choices on many occasions. Which caused me to think of the many examples of the media or older adults having a problem with teen girls doing anything.
To start, Twilight. To me, Twilight is one of the biggest and most recent example of grown men making fun of teenage girl’s interests. Obviously, this movie isn’t Oscar worthy and the hate from the critics makes sense. However, the hate teen girls got for supporting the movie, being a fan of the movie/cast, and just being excited about something they liked was beyond uncalled for.
Especially in comparison to other bad but popular movies that came out around the same time. Twilight (2008) got a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, while the equally popular, loved, and yet critically bad franchise Fast and Furious (2001) got a similar score of 53%. So clearly, the bad writing or acting of each movie isn’t the problem then what is? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it might be that Twilight had a young teenage girl audience while Fast and Furious has a mostly adult man audience.
If that still hasn’t convinced you that there is a unnecessary hatred over anything teenage girl related, here’s another example: teen idols and boybands.
While the shit fangirls used to get for literally going to a concert and enjoying it has lessened over the years, it’s still a prominent and obvious example. It’s been proven time and time again teenage girls have been running pop culture for years. Teen girls have made artists such as The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Madonna legendary. Teenage girls buy their songs, support their careers, and promote them better than any agent could. Most of the most popular artist today are popular because they had a large and supportive younger audience. So you would think people would treat new artists that have a large teenage girl audience with a more watchful eye, but no.
I’m not saying every popular teeny bopper was meant for legendary success or was anything more than a trend, but the fact that most adult men do base their opinion on a artist by if they have a younger audience or not and practically mock girls for being excited for a concert is so stupid
For a more specific example, One Direction fans.
All that these girls wanted to do was wear their infinity crop tops and read their “One Direction Kidnapped Me!” fanfiction in peace.
To simplify a One Direction fan in 2014: they got excited for concerts, they danced and yelled at concerts because otherwise they’d be a boring audience, they had cute little crushes on the boys, and were just supportive of the boys in general. To be fair, some fans were obsessive and invasive, but almost every group has a couple of bad apples. Other than the bad apples, the mainstream media and adult men had literally no reason to give these young girls so much shit for being passionate about a band they liked.
In fact, most men have a similar if not worse reaction when they go to sport games. They yell aggressively, go crazy over the result of a game, have had a history of getting too violent with either the players or opposite sport team fans, and most sports fans have set aside large amounts of money and time to support their team. Is there any difference between middle age sports fans and 2014 One Direction fans? No, not even in the slightest. Yet, sports fans get more respect than fangirls despite usually being twice their age and more aggressive than them. Funny.
While Twilight and One Direction fans may have gotten a lot of scrutiny, there is one thing that has gotten more contempt from grown men than both of them combined: girls who like feminine things.
While this does overlap with being a Twilight and boyband fan, my point still stands. In almost every single movie that has a female protagonist, the main character’s enemy is always a blonde girl who likes pink and hot boys. While the stupid blonde jokes has been debunked and laughed at, people still think less of a girl who likes to take care of herself and like “girly” things.
If I got a penny every time I have gotten an eyeroll from a guy for saying I like Britney Spears and fashion, I would be able to buy a country.
Unfortunately, this gross viewpoint on teenage girls has created the classic “I’m not like other girls” quote. Due to the fact that anything that has a large teenage girl audience gets huge amounts of hate, it has created an species of girls that base their personality off of male approval.
So not only do girls have to deal with getting judgmental attitudes from adults, now we can get the same attitude from girls our age too. Luckily, this epidemic of sorts has turned into a meme in the past year, but unfortunately some girls still have this mindset.
On the bright side, as we become a more “woke” society I have seen younger girls feel more comfortable about their passions even if it’s as simple as a singer they like. I hope that one day that grown men can keep their opinions to themselves when talking about a girl or woman’s life. Hopefully this isn’t wishful thinking.
In conclusions, let girls like things. If they like a boyband, who cares. If they like cheesy romcoms, let them. If they want to work in a career you don’t understand, keep your opinion to yourself. Let. Girls. Like. Things.