When I bring up the term “boy band,” you could probably think of two or three words to accurately describe this age-old phenomena. Terms such as attractive young talent, mega superstardom, and crazed teenage fans may come to mind. As an age old ‘group lover,’ I have had my fair share of obsessions with bands. There is just something about musical collectives that leaves me in awe and excites me to no end.
While boy bands have seemed to successfully rock the music industry – One Direction, NSYNC’, Backstreet Boys, and BTS (to name a few) – one puzzling question often circles my mind: What about the girl groups? Why is it always more difficult for them?
There have been many girl groups that have made their mark throughout the years – The Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child, TLC, Fifth Harmony, Little Mix, and BLACKPINK (to name a few more current groups). While these collectives are obviously all extremely talented and iconic, it seems that it is always harder for them to be taken seriously by the music industry. Rather than dominating unapologetically, they are often judged, pushed aside, or expected to be something short-term.
People often associate girl groups with being catty, gimmick(y), and “overly-sexualized”. They are constantly ridiculed by the media about how they dress, the way they dance, and what they sing about. I find this ironic because when female solo artists do the same things, they are rarely ever called out to the extent of girl groups.
One personal example that delves into this topic can be drawn from an interview I watched recently with the British girl group Little Mix. I am a big fan of them because of their individuality, their ability to withstand the ‘girl group curse’ (They’ve been a band for nine years and are still going strong!), and their overall TALENT. When it comes to their performing abilities they do not joke around. Even after being sabotaged by their label for the great majority of their career they have still been able to release amazing pop music for almost a decade, all the while being wonderful activists and role models for fans across the globe.
One of the members, Jesy Nelson, talks about how when they started out in the industry many music executives would describe their music as their ‘guilty pleasure,’ alluding that they didn’t take their music seriously and saw it as something that they should be embarrassed to listen to. She also added that many label execs would encourage them to “flirt with big label reps to get their music on the radio.” This is just the half of what girl groups and female artists have to deal with behind the scenes.
I feel that this behavior from the media may have something to do with this idea of women coming together as a collective. The media constantly tries to pit women against each other, both groups and solo artists. They don’t believe that multiple women can be in a musical collective and genuinely like each other, all the while being content with just being in a group.
I am happy to live in an age where there are girl groups that are proving the music industry wrong. While many of them may be underrated, miscredited, and mistreated by their labels, their talent speaks for themselves and they refuse to be silenced.
Girl groups have inspired me through my formative years and allow me to live out my fantasy of one day being a part of one (We all have dreams!). If you’re looking for an instant musical pick me up, I highly recommend checking out any of these girl bands’ discographies. I love my groups, but I will always be rooting for my girl groups a little extra.