What’s wrong with making music for teen girls? Plenty, but it’s not the girls nor the performers, it’s the production companies and their materialist agenda.
From boy-bands to Taylor Swift, music for teen girls is a big industry that generates hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in revenue for recording companies. However, the problem with this genre of music is that it is often one-sided, shallow, and flagrantly narcissistic. If some pre-fab teen heartthrob isn’t crooning about a relationship that will never be realized with his fans, a young woman with an acoustic guitar is strumming and singing about how awful boys can be when they don’t flatter and fawn. The emotional range of such songs are ultimately one dimensional and largely fixated on extreme positive or negative valences; the median of the love-axis is where modulation by other factors–spirituality, curiosity, and introspection–occurs, and that’s the problem.
Teen girls aren’t mindless robots. They aren’t creatures of extremes, either. They can be subtle and clever, introspective and curious, deep and concerned. But to hear the music that’s offered to them, you’d think they only cared about finding a boyfriend and falling in love for the express purpose of having their hearts broken. Beyond this, there’s no appealing to the other dimensions in being a girl–in being a person.
But if you take a moment to talk to teen girls you hear that a lot is being expected of them. They have to be scientists, engineers, doctors, and lawyers–they’re being pushed to make these career choices. But the art they’re being given doesn’t support this narrative; it’s mired in the 1950s rhetoric of defining the female self in the context of the heterosexual relationship women are expected to pursue. Ultimately, all music aimed at teen girls begs the question, “What are you if, on some level, you’re not obsessed with boys?”
Teen girls long for the mystery of life, for the knowledge of a broader universe, and for the realization of their own unique dreams. These things exist independently of boys and men. The music that’s produced and packaged exclusively for consumption by teen girls doesn’t view young women as complex entities, and that’s deeply problematic.