Boy Bands : a tweenie love story

Staff Writer

Wendy Harmer is an author, journalist, and editor-in-chief of The Hoopla website

My little girl has left the building. Or at least she’s hovering at the door of womanhood.

How do I know? For the first time, there’s a picture of a boy band stuck on her bedroom wall. (Sob!)

The five faces of the clean-cut lads from the UK-Irish group One Direction – Zayne, Harry, Niall, Liam and Louis – beam out from a Dolly poster.

Haven’t heard of them? If you have a tweenie daughter you’ll know who I mean. You have probably heard their sweet pop sound through the bedroom wall on high-rotation.

Here’ are some of the lyrics from their hit, “What Makes You Beautiful”:

You’re insecure, don’t know what for

You’re turning heads when you walk through the door

Don’t need make up to cover up

Being the way that you are is enough

You don’t know Oh. Oh.

You don’t know you’re beautiful!


Here’s a sample of the messages left on their website from adoring fans (complete with nutty spelling) :


I think they’re all pretty much the cuttest boys I’ve ever seen in my life.

♥ u one direction.

listening to 1D makes my day so much better! they are a verry tanlented group of boys, who obviously make girls across the world VERRY HAPPY!

These boys are the cutest things ive ever seen. I am sad to hear that I cant listen to the album yet [ 🙁 ] but I did preorder it and I am counting every day until I get it 😀 I ♥ this band so much! yayyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

The ultimate boy band of the century!!!!! ♥ so cute!

Cute, cute and cute-er-er!

The recent death of lead singer of The Monkees, Davy Jones, sparked a lively Twitter conversation between friends about our first-ever music crushes. Being of a certain vintage, we recalled David Cassidy (below), Cat Stevens, Rick Springfield and the Bay City Rollers.

What was it about these long-haired “girly men” that was so attractive?


It was because they were training wheels on our emerging sexuality  – sweet-faced, non-threatening, wholesome, hairless (except for the luscious locks on their heads) and not that much different to our girlfriends.

We swooned. Drew hearts around their pictures; wrote love letters and sent hand-knitted scarves.

“Cherish”; “PeaceTrain”; “Daydream Believer”; “Jessie’s Girl”; “Bye, Bye Baby”, they sang for teeny-boppers. (And, BTW, where ever did that term go? I vote we bring it back.)

Fast-forward to today and acts like Wynter Gordon or Rhianna throttle tweenie sexuality into the fast lane.

“Blindfold, feather bed, tickle me, slippery, G spot, nasty pose, in a video… climax, hot wax, S&M on the floor, I like it hardcore.” Wynter Gordon.

As parents, we know our daughters (and sons) are not ready for this stuff.

Our children’s sexuality and the way it is framed is of vital importance to mothers and fathers. Don’t call us “wowsers”, “censors” or patronise us as old and out-of-touch Nannas. Our children are the greatest investment and sacrifice we will ever make in our lives.

We are best placed to look out for them. We will nag and nag and continue insisting on being heard on this issue of the premature sexualisation of our children.

Our Twitter exchange went on to talk about how we gals graduated to full-on sexy boys Jimi Hendrix, Roger Daltrey, Jim Morrison, Michael Hutchence…

That’s when it became Secret Women’s Business. Most women can tell the tale of this graduation from teeny bop to sex-pot.

Back to One Direction.

A senior music executive told me this week: “As you probably know, this act is exploding around the world. We haven’t seen anything like this for a long, long time. Tickets in Australia have sold out in record time.”

And why was I speaking to this executive?

Because my daughter, Maeve (12 years-old) is desperate for tickets to see One Direction. I mean DESPERATE.

Asking once every 15 minutes D.E.S.P.E.R.A.T.E!

(And what’s hilarious is that I worked in FM radio for 11 years and could easily get my hands on such tickets back then. But the kids were tiny and so it was free passes to “The Hooley Doolies” and “Disney On Ice”. Now I’m reduced to begging from former colleagues.)

This morning found a notebook in Maeve’s room dedicated to : “Why I Love Ice Cream”.

Alongside it was another notebook, compiled with her four friends: “Why I Love One Direction.”

I adore that she is becoming a young woman.

But right now, just for a little while longer, although she may think she’s left the building, she’s still Mummy’s girl and every precious moment is important.

Tell us about you first teenage crush. Who was that boy (or boy band) and how deep did your devotion go?


Wendy Harmer is an author, journalist, and editor-in-chief of The Hoopla website, which you can see here.

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