Sexism Regarding Boyband Fandoms

You know, in a world that strives to take away our rights, it’s infuriating to see men write about a female dominated fandom and use it to mock us. And I don’t plan to get political in here so save the debates in the comments. But I referenced it because honestly, it’s what is fueling this post. After seeing some friends comment about an article, I’m putting quotes in here so you don’t have to give it clicks. Because that’s what this writer wants too.

I’m not saying any reviewer or critic needs to love the Backstreet Boys. That’s fine. But it’s the mockery of those of us that do that is just so aggravating. I’ll link the tweet itself so you guys can reply to it if you’d like but I urge you not to click on the article and increase the traffic.

Let’s start.

“For the most part, Friday night’s Backstreet Boys’ concert at PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte was packed with moments designed to make the 17,000-plus fans feel at least a couple decades younger.”

First off, no? Literally the Boys had a hit single in 2018 but fine. But you know, when I see reviews for say…I don’t know, Evanescence or Korn, whatever. You don’t say people are trying to feel “decades younger”. So we’re already at a roaring start. But you know what, I’ll let this slide.

“The sunny opening to “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)“ started up, and suddenly it was 1996 again. The first “eeEEvvvrey-bodddddd-ayyyyyuhh” exploded from the speakers, and the masses responded by immediately waking up parts of their vocal cords they haven’t used since middle school. In came the acoustic-guitar strains of “All I Have to Give,” out came the 25-year-old magazines that the soccer moms in the pit wanted Kev and AJ to sign.”

The single didn’t get released until mid 1997 in the US. But that’s a hard core fan detail though, honestly a quick Wikipedia search my dude. But I’m so sick of the idea that fans are all soccer moms. That’s really what gets me. Hi, childless asult here! (By choice) And even if I was one, it’s the derogatory tone that gets me. Waking up vocal cords since middle school? I’m 35 and they didn’t even go on hiatus till I was 16. I’m in the peak age group, leaving out the fact they have fans of all ages aside. And I highly doubt that many magazines came out like that but shit, say they did. Why is it any different than dude bros who bring sports memorabilia for athletes to sign that are decades old?

Now, there are few things involving the Backstreet Boys’ legacy that are more brain-melting than the reminder that a 21-year-old man was partnering up and trotting the globe with a 12-year-old boy… …but one of them has to be the sight of five middle-aged men singing sugary pop songs while doing synchronized dances that were designed for teenagers.

Again, why does it matter if they can still actively do the choreography? I could nitpick this and point out they weren’t exactly globetrotting when Nick was 12, and the fact he seems to go out of this way to make it sound gross is a bit disturbing. But really, if it’s done well, I don’t get why it matters. Is it because it’s aimed primarily at women?

In a word, yes.

This will be the last quote I will use because it’s so much of the same and I don’t need more to make my point.

And yet: Because the best of those songs are infectious as ever, and because those dance routines are so delightfully dippy, and because they take themselves seriously but not too seriously, this tour — which originally was set to stop in Charlotte in September 2020 before being axed at the time due to COVID — is as about as perfect as fans could have hoped for.

To probably no one’s surprise, the majority of those fans were women, and the majority of those women were, I’d say, in their 40s.

He admits it’s good. Like it’s painful. But whatever. Why does it matter how old the fans are? And he references the idea that we were teenagers at their peak but now we’re suddenly somewhere in our 40s? The math doesn’t math because if I was in my 40s, then I wasn’t a teenager at their peak “two decades ago”. But even if I was, even if most of us were, what I don’t get is how that is relevant to the quality of the concert. Why would he need to references ages, not that he even knows.

It’s simply impressive how in a female dominated fandom we are mocked for letting ourselves have fun freely without caring what anyone thinks. Why it’s seen as bad to just live it up. You do not see this when it comes to male dominated fandoms like say Marvel, DC, Sports, you name it. Men can riot after a sports team loses yet we’re the highly emotional ones who need to grow up and “act our ages”.

It’s complete and utter bullshit.

If you don’t think it’s a good show and you’re reviewing it, that’s valid. I can take that and not say a thing. It’s why I typically don’t do posts about reviews. But when you have to consistently make these sexist remarks about the fans who attend? In a country where we are now being treated as lesser? I will speak up. This might be small in the grand scale of things but I don’t care. I hate that we get judged for enjoying a group that will hit thirty years together next year. Like them or not, that’s impressive. They’re the best selling boyband in history and have set records as recently as 2019. Respect that. Respect that they have fans. Stop making snide comments just because the majority of them are women. They’re still selling out stadiums, so obviously there’s a reason.

It shouldn’t be seen as shameful to go enjoy a concert in a toxic world.

We shouldn’t have to read remarks about age.

Maybe men like this writer, should grow up a bit himself.

6 thoughts on “Sexism Regarding Boyband Fandoms

  1. Oh, wow. Gross. Albeit the “ill-advised outfits” part is a little funny.
    I feel like men are deliberately given these assignments because pop as a genre isn’t taken seriously and it’s so easy to rag on the Boys and their fans. (The overusage of the word “teenybopper” in the late 90s-early 00s comes to mind.) But to me, it’s always been fun because it’s never taken too seriously. (Please pretend that I didn’t sob in front of The Wiz in 1999 because I didn’t get Millennium tour tickets.) The music is meant to be catchy. Hell, we as fans know that some of the songs don’t even make sense (I’ve almost got a plausible meaning for IWITW, though!) But they’re danceable and fun and escapist and that has always been the point.
    And yes, I’m now 37 (almost 38) and yes, I have a kid now. But that means that I’m somehow a shriveled hag who’s no longer allowed to have fun? So what if I go to a concert featuring the band that made my teen years bearable and now we’re (gasp!) all a little older than we were?
    We were the generation that survived the beginnings of the school shooting epidemic. The generation that went through the 2008 recession just as we were starting our careers. We deserve to have fun just as much as anyone else.
    Sorry for the extended rant! I’m glad to see people ripping into it on Twitter.


  2. So no grown men should go to Disney World if they don’t want to look bad I guess, and you know this reminds me of The Beatles. You can’t deny their music and style attracted young female fans and how those hardcore so-called music fans with “better” tastes had tons of scientific theories to prove the insanity and disgracefulness of their followers (and the band themselves) I’m sure some still follow them.


  3. I just think it’s awesome that the boys can still do what they do. Age doesn’t matter. After what we went through with Covid and all. They just want to put smiles on the fans, again age don’t matter


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