Writing by Hannah Cohen
In case you missed it, our beloved Harry Styles dropped a new single As It Was – warming us up for his newest era of music pending his latest album ‘Harry’s House,’ set to be released on May 20th (pinch me).
Unsurprisingly, the launch of the single reached listening numbers that were through the roof, with As It Was becoming Spotify’s most-streamed song in a single day in 2022 so far, as well as the most-streamed song in the US in a single day in the history of Spotify.
Even as a huge fan of Harry myself, somehow I am almost always shocked at the level of hype the break out star of One Direction seems to receive with every new single, every acting role, every fashion photo shoot and every new interview with the press.
And while his latest single skyrocketing to success in mere hours undoubtedly points to the artistry and talent of the king himself, credit should be given where credit is due: to the committed, worryingly thirsty, die-hard Harry Styles stans.
Without the power and dedication of teenage, twenty-something and even more mature fans alike, the world domination of our gender-bending, Fleetwood Mack-covering, tattoo clad, curly-brunette-haired, Northern English musician, would be obsolete. And yet, when the expression of this love for our favourite muso is even so much as whispered aloud in public, we’re often times ridiculed and dismissed as being obsessed with something frivolous, meaningless and worst of all – girlish.
The interests and hobbies of young women being condescendingly frowned upon is a pattern as old as time itself. While interests typically associated with femininity, like a love of boy bands, dancing or pop culture, are slammed for being understood as nothing of real substance, men with the dedication to interests of a similar caliber are dubbed as interesting and cool.
Growing up as a dancer, for years I had to unwillingly come to the defense of the numerous hours I spent training as my young male counterparts consistently lectured me with the rhetoric that dancing would never be considered a real sport.
Now as a young adult, I’ve internalised the up-turned noses that came my way when I expressed to any older family members and male friends the love I had for the likes of One Direction, Taylor Swift or the Hunger Games Franchise. As much as I want to shout to the rooftops how much I love me some Mr Styles on my Instagram every time he so much as breaths, I’ve restrained my public displays of adoration to the once in blue moon repost out of fear of losing followers due to my embarrassingly uncool ‘fan-girl’ behaviour.
But the record-breaking recent statistics on As It Was have reminded me of the power we as fangirls, stans or whatever you’d like to call us possess. When it comes to the success of our man’s newest single, I can confidently affirm that as a fandom, We. Did. That.
The way we listened and re-listened, watched and re-watched, posted and re-posted. The way we frantically texted our group chats with a ‘HAVE YOU LISTENED YET?!!!’ or ‘OMG THE VIDEO I AM DEAD,’ and ‘I’VE LITERALLY HAD IT ON REPEAT ALL DAY.’ The dedicated support we show to our idols is an integral part of their international success and that should be respected – not quashed or belittled. Need I remind the nay-sayers of the predominant demographic of The Beatles fans?
At the end of the day, it’s the fans of the music that decide what is in and what is out when it comes to the trajectory of pop music. Even in the early days of his career as a solo artist, Harry jumped to defend the ferocity of his largely young female audience, telling Rolling Stone, ‘“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 are no goalposts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious?”
So let’s revel in our love for the frivolous and the ‘meaningless’. Let’s come together in our crazed obsession for 6-foot men in lacy sheer shirts. Let’s all learn his quirky little thumb dance in synchronicity and recreate his outfits on TikTok and scream over his steamy 12-second teaser trailers. Because we, my fellow Harry Stans, are not only part of a movement, but we are also trendsetters, and arguably, the backbone behind our faves’ success.