Is talent the only thing that’s ranking boybands above girl bands in the musical world? Claire O’Brien thinks not, and here’s why.
We’ve all seen boyband related hysteria in some form. Whether it be fan armies online, someone you know is a Directioner, or perhaps you have a friend who adores 5SOS, there’s no denying the immense popularity of boybands.
According to Hello Magazine, each member of One Direction is worth £15 million and the group as a whole has a net worth of £70 million.
Boybands are seriously profitable. Whether it be from concert tickets, album sales or a massive range of merchandise. Boybands make serious bank, but what about their female counterparts?
While girl bands do make hit singles and can become successful, fans don’t seem to lose their minds as much for girl bands. Why?
A crucial point to note is how boybands make their fans feel. With sweet, mushy lyrics and mellifluous melodies, male groups have the power to make their fans feel loved and cared about. This may be something that is lacking from their lives, and the bands have the power to fill this void.
When boybands are singing about how beautiful and perfect we are, we engage in a romantic fantasy, similar to porn. While porn is generally used to create a fantasy by using porn actors to be our sexual ideal types and creating steamy scenarios, this fantasy principle can also applied to boybands.
Take a couple of handsome lads, promote them as absolute dotes and sell them as ideal boyfriends. Fans will spend as much as they possibly can to support “their boys”.
So why isn’t this the same for girl groups? Even if the fans aren’t sexually attracted to the girls, do they not form an imaginary friendship with the girls?
Sometimes however, this simply doesn’t compare to raw passion and hormones. Speaking to Digital Spy, Jade from Little Mix outlined the fact that her and her band mates were lucky because they “got girls on our side” as the X-Factor allowed them to show their personalities.
Finally, I couldn’t write about modern boybands and not mention online fandoms. For some, the sense of community established amongst the fans is even more of an attraction than the boys themselves. I spoke to a former 1D fan, who told me that even though she was more attracted to girls at the time, the electric momentum and friendships with other fans kept her a part of the 1D fandom.
So in case you thought you thought success for boybands was based mainly on musical talent, perhaps you’d like to think again. Although I believe most popular boybands are talented singers and musicians, I wouldn’t say it is their main selling point. I think it’s fairly clear that boyband success depends on careful balance of consumerism, endorsement, hormones and misogyny.