Stereotyping in Music

25 Aug

Everyday hopeful musicians set off on their dreams of becoming the next big thing; liked by everyone, listened to by all. But, each one of these musicians has a genre of music, and with that genre of music comes traits and behaviour, lyrics and music videos that need to appeal to the people who listen to that genre. The performers can’t act how they want, because they need to appeal by their personality as well as their music to gain fans and create a fan base.? They don’t choose how they act, we choose for them. We label them with a name like ‘Heavy Metal’ and tell them they have to act how a heavy metal band are “supposed to act”. For instance, if you were a famous heavy metal band then you couldn’t release a music video of you dancing around a cartoon tree with a load of pretty little fairies [I know, random….] just like if you’re a famous Disney star then you wouldn’t go around sleeping and drinking etc with whoever you want, whenever you want. So, you could have a song which EVERYONE loves, but not everyone will admit to liking it because a)they don’t like your label and b)who you are doesn’t fit with who their favourite singers are. Say you loved Screamo music and Sleeping With Sirens released ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ you might like it, but because they didn’t and a teenage boy band named ‘One Direction’ released it, who are the complete opposite label and behaviour to Sleeping With Sirens, you wouldn’t like it just because they aren’t you’re type of people, so you think.

With each label that musicians are given, comes stereotypical traits and behaviours that people expect them to do. These people don’t look into whether these musicians actually behave in a stereotypical way, they just assume that they do. So let’s look at some of the stereotypical traits of boy bands compared to Screamo bands.

photo from here

Stereo Typical Traits of a Boy Band.

  • Never swear.
  • Never drink.
  • Don’t have girlfriends.
  • Virgins.
  • No tattoos.
  • No smoking.
  • Songs about love, never about sex.
  • Obsessed with looks.
  • Immature.
  • Great hair.
  • Fashionable clothes.
  • Camp/gay.

Stereo Typical Traits of a Screamo Band.

  • Songs about blood, death, drugs and sex.
  • Sleep around, A LOT.
  • Alcoholics.
  • Druggies.
  • Against all trends and mainstream ANYTHING.
  • Don’t care about their looks.
  • Emo/goth.

I’m going use One Direction and Sleeping With Sirens as examples of how they go against the stereotype.

First up, One Direction.

  • Never swear? Niall Horan once called a group of fans a “shower of c**ts” and once said “I don’t like to talk much in interviews because I find it hard not to swear”.
  • Never drink? All five boys like a drink and James Gordon actually told them off at the Brits for drinking to much [AWKWARD!].
  • Never have girlfriends? Three of them are in pretty serious relationships.
  • Virgins? One member, Harry, is often described and thought of by fans and just generally as a bit of a man-whore.
  • No tattoos? Zayn Malik has a lot of tattoos [He’s like a doodle pad…], and reportedly is getting a sleeve done. Harry Styles has five tattoos and is also reportedly getting a half sleeve done.
  • No smoking? A few of the members of one direction have been sighted smoking, and Zayn Malik has been called a chain smoker!
  • Love lyrics, not sex? Not many of their songs are about anything sexual, but a few odd songs have the odd line which hints towards a sexual innuendo, and one song called ‘Up All Night’ says “I wanna stay up all night and do it all with you”…….
  • Obsessed with their looks? They probably do like their looks, but when you look that good, who wouldn’t? One member, Zayn, has even been allocated the nickname ‘Vain Zayn’.
  • Immature? Can you really be that immature to be in such a gruelling business and work as hard as any band does?
  • Great hair? They do have great hair, lets not deny it.
  • Fashionable clothes? They usually do wear fashionable clothes. However, Louis, may I ask what is fashionable, or even okay, about a pair of trousers that look like PJs?
  • Camp/gay? Whilst I don’t think any of them are actually homosexual, there are reportedly a few bromances in the group.

photo from here

Now, moving on to Sleeping With Sirens

  • Songs about death? Most of their songs are actually about love, and really sweet!! My favourite is ‘All My Heart’, the lyrics are amazing.
  • Sleep around? Most of the band are in serious relationships, and Jesse actually proposed on stage at one of their concerts! [AAAAAAAAAWWH! Although… that would of been sufficiently awkward if she said no….].
  • Alcoholics? They all like a drink, but don’t we all?
  • Drugs? None of the band have reportedly taken drugs, EVER.
  • Against the trends? The band like a vest top and peace sign as much as the next young man.
  • Don’t care about looks? They have to spend a lot of time on that hair! They weren’t just born with it like that.
  • Emo/Goth? Just because they like black straight hair and are partial to a bit of eyeliner, doesn’t make them Emo, or in fact a Goth. They actually seem like really nice, happy individuals.

About the writer: Beth is a music enthusiast as in she listens to music all day, everyday. When she’s not raving in her room she’s reading, working, tweeting or hanging out with her friends. Working towards being a film director, music producer or English teacher, Beth is currently studying media and literature along with more diverse subjects.


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