Acrush – The Chinese Female "Boy-Band" Making Waves
So boy-bands might not be your thing. But what about if the boy-band members were all girls? Well it’s a thing. I’m not kidding.
The term boy band conjures up the cliché images of the Backstreet Boys, One Direction and NSYNC, their group of ‘boys’ vibe, typical lyrics and specific styled dance moves. But what if I told you there was a new boyband emerging in China that defies every boyband cliché?
Well there is.
Acrush is a boy band, but with a twist, all five members are girls, dressed androgynously. What? Yep, they’re flipping the tables on this one.
The band had already received support and attraction before actually releasing any music, but their first single’s preview was released on April 28th and it does not disappoint. The song, “Action”, shows the band members in tom-boy styled outfits, dancing in typically boy band style, the cuts from location to location, elements of rap and pop and a general good, dance-vibe. Making it a song to add to your playlist.
It’s saying something when, in a conservative country like China, such a gender-flipping group acquired 900,000 followers on China’s equivalent of Twitter, Weibo. And this was before even releasing any music! Considering typically Chinese girl music groups have been influenced by J-pop, the ‘look’ usually consisting of girlish cuteness, such as knee high socks and pony tales. Acrush goes against this with loose, unfitted clothes, backwards caps and short hairstyles. The entrance and success of Acrush is exciting and refreshing. According to the group’s agent, they are advocating for freedom, not bound by frames. Breaking down the stereotypes of what it means to be a boy or girl band.
The group, ages 18-24, was formed by Zhejian Huati Culture Communication Co. Ltd. Auditions were held, selecting the five girls from all over China. The decision to form the group occurred after the success of Li Yuchun, an androgynous Chinese pop idol, who won the country’s female’s only talent show “Supergirl” in 2005. Her success encouraged a change in fashion and more boyish girls appearing on TV, but none rose to fame, here Acrush plans to differ.
The group has decided on the gender-free phrase, meishaonian, or “handsome youths” to be used instead of “boy” or “girl” when introduced as a group. The five members have been dressing like boys long before the band was formed, proving the ‘look’ is not a money-making gimmick. And although they are not allowed to discuss their sexual orientations, this has not stopped fans, predominantly girls and young women, to send love letters and refer to them as “husbands”, a term of adoration usually reserved for male celebrities such as Justin Bieber.
The look of the group has proved to be successful so far. They have a large and almost surprising fan-base considering their short history. Showing that new generations see sexuality as a flexible and changeable element to one’s identity, an important move for gender rights. With the release of their first single it will be seen how the success of the group continues. But for now, their androgynous look isn’t hard on the eye at all.