Sometimes, I wish I could be One Direction’s Harry Styles, just for one day. Harry Styles: currently the most prominent symbol of teenage lust.
I have no desire to find out what it’s like to be Katy Perry or Taylor Swift, because I'm a woman and I can imagine what it’s like. (Plus, Katy Perry made a movie about it, remember?) Men jerk off to all kinds of women on the Internet. I remember a comment someone once left on an article that I had written, saying, “You know that people jerk off after White Lung shows.” Fabulous. So glad you like my music.
But the way teenage girls lust after their male crushes is different. Teenage girls make shit romantic. They create these totally unrealistic fantasies that go beyond the sexual realm and involve dating, sharing a bag of chips at a rodeo, or watching YouTube videos in bed on an iPhone—post-coital, cheek-to-cheek. Maybe this has something to do with the Disney complex and the way our princess icons taught us that achieving a great love (who almost always arrives in the form of a prince on a magic carpet or a white horse) is the ultimate fulfillment.
Girls are raised with the ambition to fuck rock stars, not become them. As young women, we're delicately instructed how to properly worship our heartthrobs; in the 80s and 90s, magazines like Tiger Beat and BOP shepherded us with glossy centerfold photos of stars like the Hanson brothers intended to be ripped from their cheap staples and pinned above your bed. Kiss your Prince Charming goodnight and fall asleep dreaming of your fairytale wedding.
Harry Styles is, for all intents and purposes, that new universal Prince Charming in the teenage girl fantasy, but something about Styles is kind of special; somehow, his appeal transcends age. I know grown-ass women who lust after this barely-legal British star. I once heard a rumor that Styles dated a 30-year-old. I’ve read open love letters from accomplished adult writers who dream of jumping the kid's bones. And even I, myself, have gone on record to say that I would fuck the pretty-mouthed pop tart. Simon Cowell knew what he was doing when he formed One Direction, but I wonder if he understood the impact that Styles would have on modern women. Did he know he’d be the Mick Jagger of the boy band brigade?
But then again, maybe it's always been like this. Is Harry Styles really any different than J.T.T. or Nick Carter was back when I was crushing after boy stars in my pre-teen years? Or, as my editor Sasha Hecht suggested, does social media just reinforce and heighten the feelings of celebrity worship because it's becomes like a team sport. A snake eating his own tail? Maybe we did the same thing in the school yard with our friends, unaware that our older sisters and maybe even teachers were harboring Carter brother crushes of their own? Or maybe now it's just not as taboo for women of all ages to jokingly admit they would fuck the totally-legal-but-still-totally-teenaged Styles without the name "LeTourneau" incessantly interrupting their fantasies.
Mish Way is Noisey's Senior Women's Correspondent. She also fronts the Vancouver punk band White Lung and wants Harry Styles to call her (she's single!) - @myszkaway
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