“How Can You Say Young Girls Don’t Get It?”; Unpacking the Importance of Harry Styles’ Comment on Young Women

“Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music – short for popular, right? – have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That’s not up to you to say. Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans – they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.” – Harry Styles, for Rolling Stone

If I could send just one thing back in time to my tween self, I’d always thought it would’ve been a lesson on how to put on a condom. After reading Harry Styles’ Rolling Stone interview, however, I think I’m changing my choice to this quotation.

I’ve made no secret about my love of Harry Styles, though I prefer to slip my naked adoration in as a punchline to retain some semblance of dignity. When I read the Stone interview, however, this chunk of text resonated with me in a way that seemed important, even ten years too late. Because for me as a young girl, I don’t think there was anything more precious and needed than validation, especially when it came to my own opinions.

I know I’m not alone in this, either. It’s so easy for society to talk down to young women on a grand scale, since pubescent girls are often viewed as little more than hot messes. They cry often, have mood swings, crave reassurance that they matter in a world where the ‘important’ jobs are mostly populated by men – unless that was just me, though I find that very hard to believe. It’s a volatile, confusing, scary time, and the last thing you need as a tween girl is to have your opinions, thoughts, and interests invalidated.

And yet society generally does just that.

The fact that Harry Styles not only sees the problem in that but is also using his mega-massive platform to address it only makes me love him more, which is bad news for Orie since I think he’s slowly dying inside from overexposure to Sign of the Times. Not to mention that Styles even goes so far as to laud the earnestness of feeling within young women: “If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.” Call it fan service, but I know I always appreciate it when anyone thinks of emotional intensity as a strength rather than a weakness. As a fan, I feel serviced.

Plus Styles drives the point home by pointing out that young girls are our future – “our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents”. Styles’ fanbase consists of mostly young girls, meaning they’ll be the ones reading this and internalizing an entirely different message than the one I did from my pop crushes: that your opinions are valid, your emotions are laudable, and you are destined for greatness, be that as a doctor, a mother, a lawyer, or a president.

Thanks, Harry Styles, for being a positive role model for girls and humans everywhere.

… And also for having the smooth-timbered voice of an angel and looking like this.

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