listen /ˈlis(ə)n/, v.

I wrote about this topic once, several years back, when I was still predominantly blogging on Tumblr, but Harry Styles’ debut performance as a solo artist on SNL this weekend has encouraged me to return to it:

It is incredibly irritating to have your taste and judgment (mainly about music, movies, tv shows, books, and other media) discredited by others — particularly if the same people end up coming back to you several months or years later about the same exact thing to say, “Hey, check this out, it’s so good!”

In blunter terms: To all the people who are suddenly all acknowledging Harry Styles (and the rest of his band mates) as a “legitimate” artist, I know. I’ve known this for five years.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had this experience.

Back in 2012 when I first became a fan of One Direction, the band had just left the British The X Factor and was trying to break it in the States. They weren’t accessible via mainstream US media, so I learned to tap into UK radio stations and shows to follow them. During this time, I also became exposed to other English artists like Ed Sheeran because the members of One Direction were fans of his music and Harry Styles for a while was even fairly close friends with Sheeran.

I suggested less than a handful of people to listen to Sheeran’s “The A Team,” and I think one of them did? Maybe two? I’m not sure. I’ll give the other the benefit of the doubt and assume they just forgot, but the fifth definitely said to me, “I don’t think he’s that great.”

Guess who came back to me about five months later, when Sheeran finally broke it into the States, to suggest me a new ginger-haired music artist to listen to?

By the time One Direction broke it big in the States, they were already written off as another boy band (just one that didn’t dance because the only thing the five of them were coordinated enough to do in physical synchronization was fall) so I took it upon myself to discredit my own taste in music.

When people asked me “What music do you like to listen to?”, I always tried to defer the question by saying, “I listen to bad music, or like, Ed Sheeran.”

“But Ed Sheeran’s so good!”

“The other people I like aren’t that great.”

“Like who?”

“One Direction.”

Oh.”

I know that “Oh” very well, because it was also the one that greeted me when people realized I liked the Jonas Brothers. (Their return was initially a surprise to many non-Jonas fans, but it should be no news by now that Nick and Joe Jonas, as a part of the band DNCE, are both back on the Top 40 music charts again.)

This post isn’t to say that I want people to agree with my taste in music or other things. I don’t care that we don’t like the same things. It actually makes my life easier if I want to get tickets to a concert; you then become one other person who’s not going to compete with me to get tickets.

But there’s a difference between having differing tastes in media and simply disregarding someone else’s opinion because their opinion is too mainstream or tends toward that of a “teenage fangirl” or any other reason.

Many other people have also written about this topic — including actual published author Alana Massey who is hilarious, great, and a woman I only discovered because writer and editor, Gemma Styles, is a fan of hers — so I won’t linger too long here. (Yes, Gemma Styles is related to Harry Styles.) Better written words have already been published on the internet, so I’ll take my leave after these final three sentences:

Before you take a stance that will discount the opinions of others, please take the time to form legitimate reasons about why you’re choosing to dissent rather than just write them off. It’s not very pleasant to be on the receiving end of it all.

Now, please go listen to Harry Styles, aka forever bae, because he’s great.

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