Teen Girl With a Satchel on The Year of the Boy Band

As someone who spends more time watching Disney Channel than SBS, 2011 brought my first (initially accidental) viewing of Eurovision. I was left a changed person. And totally Jedicated. 

Irish twins John and Edward Grimes (aka Jedward) found fame on UK X-Factor in 2009 more for their outrageous personalities than for their singing abilities. They’re so hilarious they somehow managed to win the bid to represent Ireland at the competition, and with their crazy rendition of "Lipstick" they found a multitude of new fans. We Aussies loved them so much we voted them our favourite act of the competition!

But it was September saw the return of the boy band as British cuties One Direction released their first single, "What Makes You Beautiful". I’ve always had a soft spot (and a half) for boy bands, especially when they’re close to my age (the five members of 1D range from 17 to 20 years old), so it was love at first YouTube clip for me. (Marketing goals achieved!)

One Direction's debut album Up All Night was released in Australia late last month, and WMYB has been blasting on radio stations across the country. Lyrics: "When you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell you don't know, you don't know you're beautiful. That's what makes you beautiful."

No teen girl feels beautiful all the time, so to hear that gorgeous teen guys like 1D will love you anyway is great. There are loud whispers of a tour down under next year for the boys, so they’re definitely ones to watch...

Likewise, one of my other favourite boy bands, Big Time Rush, have released their new album, Elevate. WMYB, the single "Cover Girl" is an ode to a girl's inner-beauty. (I don't know why you always get so insecure, I wish you could what I see when you're looking in the mirror... I would do anything to make you smile. Cause you're my cover, cover girl).

It's songs like these that make me proud to be a Disney and Boy Band fangirl. Spreading brilliant messages makes the world a better place (at least in a teen girl's bedroom). One of the reasons I fell in love with the Jonas Brothers all those years ago was that they preached self-love and acceptance, and sang about more than the importance of being 'hot'.

Society has these ideals, and while they appear to be slowly changing, they are still there: you have to be skinny and dress a certain way and look a certain way, or you will never be loved. Girls fill their heads with these ideals, and then it gets bad. But when bands with such influence sing about these things, it helps girls to begin to realise that they are able to feel beautiful and be loved, even if they don't look like the girls in magazines.

In a lot of ways, this year was about personal development for me: beginning senior school, gaining some P-plates to display on my (parents') car, expanding my friendship group, and visiting a country that finally taught me to be thankful for what I have instead of jealous for what I don’t.

All have lead to me develop from the immature 16-year-old I was into, what I hope, is a much more mature and worldly 17-year-old. While I still have a long way to go, I’ve made the first steps, and for that, I’m thankful for this year.

This year, despite many school-oriented stressful lows, also contained many highs for me. In April, I got to meet one of my biggest celebrity crushes – Tom Felton at Supanova Pop Culture Expo in Melbourne. Hugging Draco Malfoy? Can officially tick that one off the bucket list.

April also brought my first taste of entertainment journalism, with a visit to a press junket for the movie Arthur while on one of my many weeks of work experience at DOLLY magazine, which opened my eyes to the wonderful world that is celeb-writing. But seeing Miley Cyrus in concert also opened my eyes to the pitfalls of celebrity comparisons.

July brought what was quite possibly the saddest day of my life, with the release of the final Harry Potter movie. I left the theatre in tears, and for the first time I realized that all good things really must eventually come to an end. With the release of the final DVD last month, however, the series can live on forever in our homes (especially on our bookshelves, of course).

Throughout the year, teen favourites Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber released their debut fragrances, titled "Wonderstruck" and "Someday" respectively. I’m yet to test either of them, but based on the response given by beauty-loving teens across the nation (and world), they’re definitely on top of my Christmas list this year! Officially sucked into the pop-culture Christmas shopping sphere!

November saw Breaking Dawn Part One released, and Twihards around the world rejoicing. Though not a Twihard myself, I went along to see what all the fuss was about, and was surprised when I didn’t hate it. It was disturbing, yes, but so are the books, and the film allowed me to view the pop cultural phenomenon a little less harshly. Needless to say, next year, when part two comes out, I’ll be as eager to view it as all the other fanpires in the country.

This year has left me with a pile of memories, both personal and pop-cultural, and will be a year I look back on fondly. A very Merry Christmas to everyone, have a safe and happy new year, and may 2012 bring you all you have wished for – if not a boy from a band then something equally wonderful.

Georgie @ Girl With a Satchel