For years, teenage girls have been “pop culture’s ultimate punching bag”, says Constance Grady in Vox. Want to undermine a book, song or film? Say it was made for teenage girls. It’s silly, really, because for centuries these adolescents have been our tastemakers. Teenage girls loved the Beatles long before the rest of the world. They flocked to their concerts, squealing with glee. “Adults called those Beatlemaniac teen girls oversexed and hysterical – until, eventually, they saw the perfection.” Before the Fab Four it was Frank Sinatra, whose first fans were hordes of teenage girls. The craze was called “Sinatrauma”. Novels also owe their success to teens. Young women devoured them in the 18th century, and were branded “incurably insane” for it. And teenage girls even influenced language. A study of 6,000 letters from 1417 to 1681 showed that girls discarded words such as “doth” and “maketh” much faster than men.
There’s a wonderful lack of embarrassment in teenage girls – the way they scream at concerts and tear through books. They love things “with elemental purity, with an intensity no one else can ever quite match”. It’s why they’re so good at deciding what’s cool. “When they commit to something, they commit hard.” That passion should be cherished, not disparaged.
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