Harry Styles: not just a teenage heart-throb
Harry Styles has pretty much been a household name for almost seven years, ever since he seemed to gain the title of the ‘frontman’ of One Direction. Although I haven’t always totally agreed with the fact that the media presented him in this way, he has always had a special place in my heart. What started as, I’ll admit, a teenage celebrity crush has grown over time into a genuine love and admiration for Harry. With the release of his debut single, it seems as though people are finally starting to see the side to Harry that I have admired all along. I just want to use this post as a way of putting my thoughts and feelings into some kind of coherent argument, if you can call it that, as to why I feel like Harry has always deserved more respect than he’s got, and why my admiration for him not only as a singer but as a person has only grown over the past seven years.
It all started in 2010, when an almost 16 year old me sat down to watch X Factor one Saturday night as usual. Long story short, I fell in love with Harry as soon as I watched his first audition. His cheeky smile, his curly hair, the charming way he sang ‘Isn’t She Lovely’; I guess you could say that I knew he was something special from that moment. Sounds cringey, but it’s true.
As One Direction gained fame, fans and media attention, Harry was quickly labelled as the ‘most popular one’, which caused me endless exasperation as I tried to assure people that I had loved him since before One Direction even existed and that I wasn’t simply following the crowd. Although I had his face plastered all over my bedroom walls, my love for him was deeper than all those girls who loved him simply because he was a teenage heart-throb. I endured years of jokes, bordering on insults, about me being ‘too old’ to like a boyband, and my friends took delight in showing me the latest magazine headlines about Harry’s ‘womaniser’ image. Of course, I defended him at all costs. I knew he wasn’t like that and it frustrated me that people thought of him in that way. This image that was created for him, wasn’t the real him. But there was no telling that to impressionable teenage girls who believed every scandal splashed on the front page of ‘The Sun’.
It seems that only now that Harry is releasing solo music, people are finally realising he has so much more to offer. I’m seeing endless tweets starting with “Not a fan of Harry Styles but-”, and then going on to praise him. As though you can’t just simply compliment a boyband member without first stating that you’re not usually a fan of them. Don’t get me wrong, I am so glad people are finally realising his talent, how extraordinary his voice is and how much potential he has. What irritates me is that he hasn’t changed. He has always been an incredible singer, a down-to-earth, kind-hearted and wonderful person, but people are only just coming to realise it. I am glad people are finally giving him the respect he deserves, but I’m quietly smug in the knowledge that I have loved and admired him all along. And I got to be there while he grew in confidence and I couldn’t be more proud.
I watched with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as Harry cried after seeing online hate following One Direction’s first live performance after The X Factor, and I cannot believe that teenage boy is the same man who is so confident and starting his solo career now.
|Harry for 'Rolling Stone' magazine|
All this time people made me feel bad, like I should be ashamed, for liking a boyband. But Harry’s comments in his interview in ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine express what I tried to tell them all along, that music is for everyone and anyone and nobody has the right to judge you on what you listen to. Not only is he saying that it’s okay to like whatever music you want, he’s giving credibility to his fans. He’s showing us in a positive light, giving us the respect we have been denied all these years by the media. There is so much stigma attached to being a One Direction fan, and Harry turns those stereotypes around and I have so much admiration for him for saying these things.
That’s basically why I was so inspired to write this. Harry’s views are so refreshing. Most celebrities nowadays don’t have anything to say for themselves, they give vague answers in interviews and only seem to care about their money and lavish lifestyles. But Harry is different; he’s intelligent, he gives deep and meaningful answers, he’s not afraid to stand up against the cliché of a ‘normal’ pop star and that’s the epitome of why I’ve loved him all these years. When I heard ‘Sign of the Times’, his debut solo single, I knew we were in for a treat with his solo music. The message is so important and the sound is so unique. He went out on a limb, didn’t stick to the status quo and made a song with meaning and such an original, different sound to all those songs in the charts that sound exactly the same.
I appreciate that it’s probably starting to sound like I’m just rambling about how amazing Harry Styles is and yes, that’s essentially what I’m doing. I could easily write pages and pages about why he’s so amazing and deserves more credit, but I’ve said enough for now I’m sure. I just wanted to attempt to put into words my love and admiration for him and I hope I’ve done that.
|Harry for 'Rolling Stone' magazine|
To me, Harry Styles is not just a pop star. He is not just a boyband member. He is not just a prettyface who has nothing to say for himself. He is humble and selfless, he cares for everyone and treats everyone equally. He stands up for what is right and he tries to make a difference to this world. He is kind to everyone he meets, he respects and cares for his fans and he is unlike most celebrities out there. He has been treated unfairly in the past, but he has never lashed out against the wrong reputation the media gave him. He instead has remained respectful and down-to-earth, and I admire him so much for that.
So no, I don’t just love Harry Styles because of his image. I love him because of his talent, of the values he represents, of the love and respect he gives to his fans and the wonderful person he is inside and out. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to tell him in person how much he means to me and to thank him for making me happy for the past seven years. Seven years is a long time, and I don’t regret a second. I’ve grown up with Harry and it’s been a privilege to not only grow with him but to watch how far he’s come. I couldn’t be prouder to be a fan of Harry, and I can’t wait to see him take on the world with this album.
Are you a fan of One Direction/Harry? What do you think of Sign of the Times and are you excited for the album? Let me know your opinions in the comments, I love hearing from you!
All the love, x