Culture

Harry Styles Fiercely Defended Teen Girls In Rolling Stone And The Internet Melted Into A Puddle

"Who's to say that young girls who like pop music have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That's not up to you to say."

Harry Styles is having a very good week. A few days ago he made a pretty successful solo debut on Saturday Night Live, which is no easy achievement given musicians often sound terrible on the notoriously echo-y SNL stage.

He performed two songs, ‘Sign of the Times’ and ‘Ever Since New York’, which were well-received (he wasn’t roasted by the whole of the internet anyway, which is always a risk when an artist is debuting new material).

He was even game enough to impersonate Mick Jagger, a man he seems to be have been consciously or unconsciously imitating for a few years already. Well done, Harry!

Last night Rolling Stone revealed that Styles was the cover star of their new issue, featuring a sprawling interview by director and former boy journalist prodigy, Cameron Crowe (some have suggested that getting a young female music writer to do the story would have been a better idea, but Crowe did still bring a lot of enthusiasm to the task).

The full interview is worth reading, but some of the sections that are getting the most attention are Styles addressing former bandmate Zayn Malik’s criticisms of One Direction after he quit the band (“I think it’s a shame he felt that way but I never wish anything but luck to anyone doing what they love. If you’re not enjoying something and need to do something else, you absolutely should do that. I’m glad he’s doing what he likes, and good luck to him.”) and his comments on his brief but very artistically inspiring relationship with Taylor Swift.

“When I see photos from that day I think: relationships are hard, at any age. And adding in that you don’t really understand exactly how it works when you’re 18, trying to navigate all that stuff didn’t make it easier,” he said. “I mean, you’re a little bit awkward to begin with. You’re on a date with someone you really like. It should be that simple, right? It was a learning experience for sure. But at the heart of it — I just wanted it to be a normal date.”

When Crowe asks him directly how it feels to have inspired at least two Taylor Swift songs, Styles attempts “gallant discretion”. “I mean, I don’t know if they’re about me or not…” he says. “But the issue is, she’s so good, they’re bloody everywhere… I’m lucky if everything [we went through] helped create those songs.”

But there’s one part of the Harry Styles interview in particular that caused a flurry on the internet overnight (I mean, more than usual). This was Styles’ staunch defence of his teenage girl fans, something that not all teen idols feel compelled to do — notably, 5 Seconds Of Summer were heartily criticised for dismissing teen girls as less desirable fans than other demographics.

When Crowe asks if Styles is worried about “proving credibility” with an older audience (bleugh) Styles becomes very animated. “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,” he says.

“Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans – they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.

This could be taken as proof that Harry Styles is aware of the traditional rejection of young female fans and is trying to counter that. It could also be taken as a shrewd understanding that female fans are the ones who have made Styles a millionaire. Both things can be true! Harry Styles still seems to be a Good Boy.

You can read the full interview here.

Image from Rolling Stone.