Why is it that the vocal chords of teenage women go bat-nuts-wild at concerts, caterwauling at ear-destroying pitches? Apropos of an upcoming One Direction concert in Washington, D.C., a handful of sociologists spoke to Chris Richards at the Washington Post about the impulses that could drive this habit.
The Curse of the Good Girl author Rachel Simmons explains that it can been seen as a desire to fit in — but in a specific teen-female way, it’s a desire to fit in the most dramatically:
Adolescent girls are really invested in the acceptance of their peers… But there’s a competitive element to fandom and fan-girling — and screaming is an expression of that fandom. So girls are doing it not only to assert their passion for the band, but to compete with each other and to signal to each other that, ‘This is what I care about.’ It’s part competition, but partly a way to connect. During adolescence for girls, that’s a very complex and important drive.
Is screaming just a metaphor for growing up, vocalized in effable pitches? Maybe! The other theories about the teen-squeal (all here) are fascinating — including a special report from ’N Sync member JC Chasez. He’s got thoughts.