Since I was never a teenage girl, it’s hard for me to identify with the mindset of a teenage girl. But there’s apparently a phase during which otherwise sane and sober members of the opposite sex swoon and scream and pine for boys of a particular type. Soft and sweet–like a stuffed animal.
In the nature of the case, the professional lifespan of teenybopper heartthrob rivals the Mayfly.
Over the years I’ve had a succession of forgettable, replaceable, interchangeable specimens inflicted on me as a captive member of the audience while I stood in line for the cashier. Once upon a time it was David Cassidy. Then his brother Shaun upstaged him. Justin Timberlake came and went. So did Ryan Philippe.
I take it that Zac Efron is the current teenage heartthrob du jour, although he's dangerously close to being over the ill. Maybe the Jonas brothers are easing him out.
Besides the checkout stand, you also stumble across this sort of thing when you're channel surfing. It’s a strange, parallel universe.
Normally, these performers fade from the scene when they can’t pass for junior high or high school students any more. However, the Sixties locked in the youth culture.
In this respect we might compare Frank Sinatra with Michael Jackson. Sinata started out as a teenage heartthrob.
But he grew up. And when he grew up, he outgrew that image. He became a grown man. He didn't try to look or act like he was a high school student all his life.
But I think the Sixties created a market niche for a permanent teenybopper pop star.
Michael Jackson never grew up. Made a virtue of immaturity. Precious.
And there’s a teenybopper subculture for whom arrested adolescence is the new ideal. Boyhood over manhood. Indeed, androgyny over masculinity. Jackson–with his little girl speaking voice. His little girl singing voice. His girlish hair and dainty complexion.