Waterparks reveal demographic isn’t what you’d assume, defend the fangirls
Like many bands and pop artists, Waterparks are the subject of the assumption that all of their fans are 13-year-old girls. While clearly there’s nothing wrong with a 13-year-old girl as many reading this currently are or have once been, the general population of music fans seems to like to make bands and their fans feel bad about the latter’s gender or age.
Waterparks are no exception to this as frontman Awsten Knight proved on Twitter earlier today. The vocalist revealed that despite assumptions, based on streaming behavior, the band’s fans are not all tweens.
Given the data presented, 14 percent are under the age of 18, and the same is true for ages 28 to 34. However, ages 18 to 22 are the demo who listens to the band most.
“I asked for our demographic based on streams and hey look there are just as many 16 year olds as there are 30 year olds,” he says. “I wouldn’t even mind if it was, but I’d like it if people would quit acting like our fanbase is a bunch of tweens because it’s not—shout out to the tweens thou[ugh].”
“And for the weird sexist people that for some reason like to belittle an artist’s fanbase because they’re majority ‘female,’ hey, hello, shit is almost 50/50, captain,” he explains. “Either way, I’m just thankful anyone listens to us at all, so if you’re one of these people, thank you.”
The age of Waterparks’ listeners isn’t the only thing shocking about their fanbase, however, as the gender is pretty evenly split with 56 percent female, 42 percent male and 2 percent non-binary.
This isn’t the first time this week the legitimacy of a fangirl has been brought into question. Pop superstar Taylor Swift broke her long-standing political silence Sunday night by urging fans to register to vote. Swift endorsed Democratic r Senate and House candidates while also speaking against Republican Marsha Blackburn’s run for a U.S. Senate seat.
The move unsurprisingly displeased outspoken President Trump, but he wasn’t the only one to speak up as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also chimed in.
“So [Taylor Swift] has every right to be political. but it won’t impact [the] election unless we allow 13-year-old girls to vote,” he tweeted. “Still with #MarshaBlackburn.”
Paramore’s Hayley Williams quickly defended Swift, calling out Huckabee for “mocking a woman’s value and impact out of what [she] can only assume is fear.” She also called him out for underestimating 13-year-old girls and “dubbing an entire generation powerless.”
Williams draws attention to the fact even politicians don’t believe in the power of young women. Another user points out Swift’s fanbase has grown with her and in turn are old enough to vote in elections.
“Read it [and] weep, ya old saltines,” Williams echoes. “Artists like [Taylor Swift] and hell, even my band—we’ve all worked hard to build community using our music and our voices since we were 16. Many people who support us grew up with us. For instance, I’m almost 30, so are a shit ton of Paramore fans.”
In this specific case, underestimating the fans who grew up with Swift was a mistake as its reported voter registration spiked by 65,000 since her post Sunday night.
“It’s been a blessing,” frontman Luke Hemmings says. “I wouldn’t change it for anything. They’ve been a beautiful fanbase for us. I think people like what they like, and young women find things that are awesome before anyone. I wouldn’t change our fanbase for anyone, because they’ve done so much for us.”
Read more: In Defense Of The Fangirl—an op-ed
Not everyone sees the beauty of the fangirl as Waterparks, Paramore and 5SOS do. Back in 2016, Guardian writer Alexandra Pollard published a piece on how bands belittle the influence of their female fans and glorify a more male-heavy fanbase.
“[Bands are] operating in a culture in which teenage girls are seen as the lowest common denominator of music fan,” Pollard writes. “A culture in which older men are the bastions of good taste, the brave protectors of real music—while young women’s enthusiasm is dismissed as a sort of mass hysteria, blocking their ability to discern good from bad.”
AP also published an op-ed the previous year defending the fangirl against naysayers.
“Fangirls are accused of the unspoken crime of being young, female and excited about the art they like—a ‘crime’ people never seem to take the time to realize is very silly. Being young is awesome. Being a girl is awesome. Being passionate about something is awesome. What’s the problem?”
What do you think of the backlash over being a fangirl? Sound off in the comments!