By Brittany Spanos
At what point did teen girls suddenly just become wrong? "Serious" music fans have little patience for any artist who willingly sells to the rabid teen girl market. It's why we non-teen-girls only divulge our love for Justin Bieber and One Direction with a "self-aware" laugh.
But with last year's Believe, Justin has grown up into an artist that's on his way to Justin Timberlake levels of pop/R&B maturity. Give him a few more years and scandals -- pregnancy scares/rumors, pot experiments, breakups, public mea culpas -- and his sweet and earnest teen image will be permanently dissolved. For now, Bieber has proven to be an enthralling act to watch live, with his versatile talents in both dance and song.
One Direction, while not known as the synchronized-dancing type of boy band, contain a full line-up of fairly equally talented singers, which is more than most groups from the late '90s/early millennium pop group flood can say. Plus, they have a knack for choosing some supremely fun '90's ~deep cuts~, in spite of their age. But the sad fact is that 1D and the Biebz will never be respected because everyone knows their fans -- teenage girls -- are not to be trusted with matters of taste.
As Jessica Hopper pointed out in her Pazz & Jop piece on Taylor Swift, Grimes, and Lana Del Rey, pop stars who grasp the attention of primarily young girls are seen as all image and no substance. That means Justin Bieber can't be anything more than a boy who used to toss those side-swept bangs of his and make all his Beliebers' hearts swoon, even if his latest release has been heralded as an exciting and soulfully mature turn for the pop star. Many have collectively come to embrace the unwarranted and baseless idea that young girls are unable to engage with "good" music or art of substance which makes praise of these pop acts verboten.
With the logic that someone like Justin Bieber can't ever musically mature from "Baby," The Beatles would have never gone much further than holding hands. In a more recent sense, Justin Timberlake began his career in one of the most successful bubblegum pop groups of the early millennium, *NSYNC, and had fans literally beg him to release a new album.