Banerjee: Girl music groups deserve your attention

While boy bands seem to multiply exponentially each year, girl groups seldom receive the same acclaim despite putting out work that displays time, effort, and talent. Girl groups deserve to have their share of the spotlight in the boys’ club of music.



Brockhampton performs at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on Saturday, April 21, 2018. (Christina House/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Anna Banerjee, Opinion Columnist

With the release of Brockhampton’s fourth studio album, iridescence, the self-proclaimed “world’s best boy band” has succeeded once again in capturing the attention of worldwide audiences. Its sound, style, and cultural impact have been cited as one of the most crucial reinventions of the genre, as well as being one of the most important forces in music right now.

While all this acclaim is most certainly well-deserved, it leads to one very clear question: If Brockhampton is the world’s best boy band, where’s the world’s best girl band? Or, where are any girl bands?

RELATED: Brockhampton: the new American boyband

From the Beach Boys to the Jonas Brothers, boy bands have played a large role in defining American culture. Almost any era can be segmented into parts by the boy band — or boy bands — de jour. Yet, the same cannot be said for girl groups, who often fail to receive even a sliver of the same attention. The average person can name boy bands ad nauseam regardless of their interest in the music they put out; meanwhile, contemporary girl bands usually fail to break into audiences outside what are considered to be niche interest groups.

It’s not that girl groups don’t exist or haven’t played a very important role historically in shaping musical trends and eras. While the Beatles can boast more immediate name recognition, the Ronettes of the 1960s led music to new directions, melding genres and styles to help create the fundamentals for acts in the future. Women have, historically played a large role in shaping the music we listen to, despite the fact that their names are far less permanent. No matter what they contributed to music, girl groups face the test of time far harsher than their male peers seem to.

No matter what they contributed to music, girl groups face the test of time far harsher than their male peers seem to.”

There are a number of factors that most likely lead to this phenomenon. While boy bands seem to be able to survive any type of musical or generic upheaval, girl groups, however, are a far less surefire bet. Even looking at as recent of an example as Fifth Harmony’s “indefinite break” earlier this year, girl bands are contentious — or at least, they should be. Music culture seems to prefer to see “beef” rather than sisterhood. Look at the rift between popular singers Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, whose fight seems to have outlived their interest in participating in it.

Misogynistic biases play a large role in the presence of women and girl groups in music. Women are simply not heard. According to a study earlier this year conducted by Associate Professor Stacy L. Smith, the director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, of 600 of the most popular songs of 2017, 8.7 percent of band members were women — meaning that of this, the percentage of girl groups is minuscule. Women, in general, feature very rarely in the top Billboard hits as well.

Audiences outside the U.S. have begun to realize the untapped potential in girl groups as the popularity of girl bands in the K-pop genre, for example, has made waves in accepting women’s voices into music. Their success overseas is enough proof that girl bands have the talent and market to be successful if given the appropriate resources and exposure. Girl groups often have just as much or more talent than some of the headlining male acts, and they deserve their seat at the table just as much as their male counterparts.

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