29 January 2013

Bieber Fever

Hysteria, idolisation, fanaticism. These three words perfectly encompass the collective of Justin Bieber fans at his concert in Miami. As a "non-Belieber", I was terrified as I was intrigued by the social phenomenon, which first revealed itself hours before the concert began. The thought on my mind is this: does Justin truly realise the power he has over his adolescent worshippers?

Justin Bieber, Miami

There was so much screaming - before, during and after the concert. Whilst queuing outside, girls were screaming at such a high pitch, it was almost inaudible to human ears. I was half-expecting a pack of dogs to come tearing towards the arena. And that was only a hundred girls spotting Justin Bieber's guitarist or stylist, let alone the main man himself. Nothing prepared me for the volume inside the arena.

The screams of 20,000 teenagers thundered in my eardrums whenever "Justin Bieber" was mentioned by somebody on the stage. Then Justin arrived himself, and the arena erupted. The air was rife with excitement and the raging hormones of adolescent girls, who all had a subconsciously primal urge to mount this nineteen year old boy, even if they were too young to understand the circle of life.

For these infatuated and impressionable young people, Justin Bieber represents an alpha male on a very instinctive level. They recognise qualities that would make Justin a prime leader, while girls specifically recognise qualities that would make Justin a good mate. This is what I speculate to be the essence of Bieber Fever. Add the facts that he is young, likeable, a musician, and constantly in the public eye - the end product is mass hysteria.

Justin Bieber, Miami

These Beliebers, as a collective, are such devout fans, they are at the mercy of Justin's influence, even if he is not aware of it himself. While there are hundreds of thousands of people who inherently despise him, millions adore him to a point where they worship his image in their bedrooms, follow his leadership on Twitter, and gather in mass at concerts worldwide. One could argue Justin Bieber has the effect of a god.

From personal experience, this fanaticism is terrifying. When the Adidas NEO team were handing us meet-and-greet wristbands, a swarm of Beliebers surrounded us, pleading and begging. Some even attempted to snatch the bands from us, while others refused to move away, hopeful that we might have a spare. It was a moment of insanity, and I saw the hunger and yearning desperation in these fans' eyes. Delinquent youths may have incited riots in London two summers ago, but I would be genuinely more scared of the teenagers at a Justin Bieber concert.

Justin Bieber, Miami

At the end of it all, Justin Bieber is simply a teenage boy with a successful singing career. As a non-Belieber, I find the scale of his fandom rather excessive, but I can accept why he is admired as a performer - an amazing voice, incredible dance moves, instrumental skill on the guitar and drums, and a charming charisma with the crowds.

That said, I do I have a couple of requests of him...

1) Your lyrics state that in order to be your out-of-town girl, "all you have to do is swag". Please, what does that even mean? 

2) When you eventually put your top back on at the end of the concert, pull your trousers up while you are at it. You look ridiculous.

© Joseph Kent / www.unlimitedbyjk.com

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