« Beatlemania: A Sexually Defiant Consumer Subculture? –Katherine Rivard | Main | Review on Eric Lott's "The Whiteness of Film Noir", by Jenna Johnson »

Ned Rupp - "Beatlemania: A sexually defiant subculture?" article review

“Beatlemania: A sexually defiant subculture?? by Ehrenreich, Hess, and Jacobs, is an article which discusses how The Beatle’s emergence in American popular culture in the 1960’s started the first real women’s, or more specifically adolescent girl’s, sexual revolution. The article states how young girl’s mobbed, fainted, and otherwise lost all self-control over The Beatles as an act of rebellion against sexual repression, and the sexual double standards, which they had faced all of their young lives. Girls saw The Beatle’s as an outlet which they could finally release all of their pent up sexual aggression on, “To abandon control – to scream, faint, dash about in mobs – was, in form if not in conscious intent, to protest the sexual repressiveness, the rigid double standard of female teen culture. It was the first and most dramatic uprising of women’s sexual revolution? (Beatlemania 524).
The article continues to talk about the mania, and swarms of girls, that surrounded The Beatle’s everywhere that they went. It explains how the mother’s of the girls who were swooning over The Beatle’s probably adored Frank Sinatra, who was the closest thing to a sex symbol in music in the 1940’s, yet they couldn’t accept their daughters infatuation with The Beatles. The article also talks about the idea of how the girls are simply conforming, “They needed to subsume themselves into the mass, ‘to become transformed into an insect.’ Hence, ‘jitterbug, and as Dempsey triumphantly added: ‘Beatles, too, are a type of bug . . . and to “beatle,? as to jitter, is to lose one’s identity in an automatized, insectlike activity, in other words, to obey.’? (Beatlemania 526). Infatuation with The Beatles was what was “in? in the 1960’s, much like yoga and Starbuck’s today; if you weren’t a fan of The Beatles you were considered an outsider. The problem with this, as the authors explain, is the parents of these kid’s had very different ideas of what conforming to society meant. They expected their daughters to be abstinent until marriage, and not “give themselves up? in any way until they had a husband or were in love.
I thought the article was very interesting, and seemed to be very truthful from the movies and other articles I have read about The Beatles. I mean, The Beatles had to stop touring because they couldn’t hear themselves play over the screams. Girls completely changed when they were in the presence of The Beatles. Girls who were once polite became barbarians, it was almost as though girls lost all sense of their old-selves and became a homogenous group of rabid, squeaking maniacs. This barbarism was pointed out well in the article, “In early November, 400 Carlisle girls fought the police for four hours while trying to get tickets for a Beatles concert; nine people were hospitalized after the crowd surged forward and broke through shop windows? (Beatlemania 524). Today this kind of behavior is normal (maybe not to the same extent, but close), or used to be, with groups like Blink 182 and Green Day. It’s a good thing that the “Beatles girls? paved the way.