Boy Bands and the Performance of Pop Masculinity provides a history of the boy band from the Beatles to One Direction, placing the modern male pop group within the wider context of twentieth- and twenty-first-century popular music and culture. Offering the first extended look at pop masculinity as exhibited by boy bands, this volume links the evolving expressions of gender and sexuality in the boy band to wider economic and social changes that have resulted in new ways of representing what it is to be a man.
The popularity of boy bands is unquestionable, and their contributions to popular music are significant, yet they have attracted relatively little study. This book fills that gap with chapters exploring the challenges of defining the boy band phenomenon, its origins and history from the 1940s to the present, the role of management and marketing, the performance of gender and sexuality, and the nature of fandom and fan agency. Throughout, the author illuminates the ways in which identity politics influence the production and consumption of pop music and shows how the mainstream pop of boy bands can both reinforce and subvert gender and class hierarchies.
Introduction / Chapter One. Definitions: What Constitutes a Boy Band? / Chapter Two. From Barbershop to Mainstream Pop / Chapter Three. Constructing the Product / Chapter Four. Marketing and Promotion / Chapter Five. Weapons of Mass-Seduction: Performing Pop Masculinity / Chapter Six. Fandom, Texts, and Practices / Chapter Seven. Breaking Up, Making Up, and Moving On