Teen idols are girl-culture icons and agents of feminist awakening. This is A Pop Feminist series exploring an alternative pro-woman, pop-culture historiography through the glassy eyes and winning smiles of our favorite teen idols. Teeny Boppers: raise your fists.

The Bay City Rollers
It’s a teenage dream to be seventeen
And to find you’re all wrapped up in love.
-“Give a Little Love,” The Bay City Rollers

Sheryl Garrat shares some fabulous thoughts and memories on her childhood Rollers obsession in the 1984 essay, Teenage Dreams:

“One of the most important points about most teeny groups is that almost everyone else hates them. With the Rollers, everyone but the fans continually made fun of us, insisting that the band was stupid and couldn’t play. They were right, of course, but that wasn’t the point. It was us against the world—and, for a while at least, we were winning.” (403)

“We were invincible, a tartan army defying critics, DJs, newspapers, and everyone else who spoke against ‘our boys’” . (404)

“This is the male as sex object, posed, airbrushed, and marketed like any female model.” (404)

“My favorite daydream in boring classes at school was of a famous star suddenly walking into the room to take me away, leaving my classmates sighing in regret that they hadn’t realized I was so wonderful” (407)

“Part of the appeal is desire for comradeship. With the Rollers at least, many became involved not because they particularly liked the music, but because they didn’t want to miss out. We were a gang of girls having fun together, able to identify with each other by tartan scarves and badges. Women are in the minority on demonstrations, in union meets, or in the crowd at football matches: at the concerts many were experiencing mass power for the first and last time. Looking back now, I hardly remember the gigs themselves, the songs or even what the Rollers looked like. What I do remember are the bus rides, running home from school together to get to someone’s house to watch Shang-a-Lang on TV, dancing in lines at the school disco, and sitting in each others’ bedrooms discussing our fantasies and compiling scrapbooks. Our real obsession was with ourselves; in the end, the actual men behind the posters had very little to do with it at all.” (402)

Joy, empowerment, female-bonding. Thank you Rollers!

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