A Defence of Harry Styles, Popstars, and Their Cinematic Career Paths

Alright people, by now many us have seen Christopher Nolan’s new war epic, Dunkirk. While an astounding piece of cinema, I have recently met a few individuals that are refusing to see the movie. Their reason?

Because pop-sensation Harry Styles is in it.

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If you’ve read my review, you’ll have seen that I thought Mr Styles did pretty well in a movie where he was surrounded by Oscar-calibre actors. But alas, it seems that there are some that just can’t get away from the fact that Mr Styles is one fourth of the world renowned band known as One Direction.

Fortunately, the large majority of people and critics have rightly praised him for his performance. But this baffling hatred of singers popular with girls/women, who then choose to move into acting, is something that has pervaded our culture for several generations.

But guess what guys? Mr Styles is doing something that has been done by some of the most successful people in human history.

In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that Harry Styles is a modern day Frank Sinatra.

come at me
Yeah, I went there. Come at me, bros!

“You’re dead to me!” I hear you cry.

“KILL HIM!” I hear some of you roar.

But my assertion has an element of truth to it. Of course Mr Styles is not Ol’ Blue Eyes in his later career. But when compared to the early days of Sinatra’s profession, they have a surprisingly lot in common.

When most of you think of Frank Sinatra, you’re probably thinking of the hat wearing, older, distinguished gentleman who was part of the Rat Pack.

But Sinatra, in his early years, was essentially the Harry Styles of his day.

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Taken in 1943

Sinatra kicked of his career in 1935, when he was 15, by joining the 1930s equivalent of a boyband called the 3 Flashes. While he would flirt in and out of several other bands, he would eventually go solo in 1941. And do you know who his fans were?

Almost exclusively teenage girls and young women.

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Bobby Soxers were the name given to them, mainly because of their choice of sock attire. But their dedication would sometimes go so far that, according to Janice T. Booker’s “Why the Bobby Soxers?” (2004):

… They were known to write Sinatra’s song titles on their clothing, bribe hotel maids for an opportunity to touch his bed, and accost his person in the form of stealing clothing he was wearing, most commonly his bow-tie.

In fact, Sinatra was so popular that in October 1944, when discovering they were unable to get into a New York concert of his, thousands of girls and women went nuts and had to be subdued by several dozen police officers. This eventually became known as the Columbus Day Riot.

But like most popstars, Sinatra’s fame started to diminish and his popularity began to sink. And you know what he did?

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That’s right, you condescending bastards! He doubled down on his acting!

From the end of WWII in 1945, Sinatra performed in nine movies, most of them musicals, with 1948’s The Miracle of the Bells being the one dramatic exception. Then finally in 1953 he did From Here to Eternity, where he wound up wining the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

That was the turning point. That was the moment he went from teenage idol to world renowned actor and singer. From there, of course, his stratospheric career is known to most.

But Sinatra wasn’t the only one to walk a path like this. Justin Timberlake, Zac Efron and many others have begun as youthful pop singers, beloved by millions of females, before later taking the journey into the arena of professional acting.

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Sometimes it may be a very long journey

That’s why it’s so ridiculous that there are those who chose not to take someone seriously because they are popular with women. Especially since male singers that are popular with men traditionally don’t suffer this type of treatment. Ludacris, LL Cool J, Ice Cube and David Bowie all transferred to acting with little or no backlash during their debut performances.

Unfortunately, it always seems us guys (and let’s be honest, it’s mostly us guys) feel some sort of need to shit on these male singers with a overwhelming female fandom. Why? Are we jealous? Angry? Misguided? Imbeciles? A mix of all four?

In the end though, Sinatra, Timberlake and Efron were laughing all the way to the bank with armfuls of awards. Something tells me Mr Styles will one day be laughing too.


Photo Credits: Youtube, Giphy, Birmingham Mail, Portsmouth Point, Giphy, The Today Show

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