Boy­ish all-girl pop band crushes teenagers’ hearts

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA -

A lit­tle less than a year ago, Min Jun­qian was an un­known art stu­dent in Shan­dong prov­ince, dream­ing of be­com­ing a star and hit­ting the big time.

Fast-for­ward to now: The 23-year-old is a mem­ber of Acrush, China’s first boy­ish all-girl band, which re­leased its de­but sin­gle last week. The boy­ish band al­ready has hun­dreds of thou­sands of fans — more than 749,000 fol­low­ers on Si­naWeibo, China’s Twit­ter-like ser­vice.

“Our fathers’ gen­er­a­tion still holds the idea that girls should dress in a fem­i­nine man­ner, some­thing I was never com­fort­able with,” Min said. “I just like to dress in a uni­sexway.”

Min didn’t ex­pect to be picked for the band when she au­di­tioned last year. But her boy­ish out­look and an­drog­y­nous style were ex­actly what Ten­cent-backed entertainment startup Zhe­jiang Huati Cul­ture Com­mu­ni­ca­tion was look­ing for.

Mar­keted as a pop band that en­cour­ages girls to pur­sue their own iden­ti­ties and shake up fe­male con­ven­tions, Acrush cuts against the grain in­China’s mu­sic in­dus­try, where girl bands are mar­keted as sweet youngth­ingstoap­peal­toma­les.

“I left home when I was young,” said Acrush lead singer PengXichen, 21.“To­com­fortmy par­ents, I told them my boy­ish out­look would keepme­safe.”

From­day one, Zhe­jiangHuati cre­ated in­di­vid­ual iden­ti­ties for the women. Min is sup­posed to be the band’s co­me­dian, while Peng is a “gen­tle ro­man­tic”. The 21-year-old Lu is styled as an en­er­getic dancer with a sunny dis­po­si­tion.

Lu wears long-sleeved out­fits to pre­vent the pub­lic from see­ing a dragon tat­too on her arm. She says only: “I did it when I was an ig­no­rant girl.”

But she did ad­mit to some­times dress­ing in pink and be­hav­ing like a child.

The Chinese bl­o­go­sphere is ablaze with ques­tions about Acrush’s lean­ings. Asked if they sup­port fem­i­nism and les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der is­sues, band mem­bers claim they have no idea what LGBT means.

“We’re just hand­some girls,” Min said.

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