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21st March 2023

The Fallowfield Girlie

Why ‘Fallowfield girly’ isn’t the insult you think it is!
The Fallowfield Girlie
Photo: Erin Botten @ The Mancunion

The Fallowfield girl, best known as ‘The Fallow Girlie’. Her cargos are low, and her standards are high. Dressed head-to-toe depop, with a slick back braid, regularly spotted outside Warehouse Project cig in one hand, mini handbag in the other in that hot, Y2K, Kate Moss way.

It’s harsh. I know.

You might not know someone that ticks all these boxes, but you know the type. The Fallow Girlie is a way of life and largely not a compliment. It is this judgement that I want to assess. Why is this type of girl subject to such abuse, the butt of the joke? 

Boys aren’t under this kind of scrutiny, even though there is equally a quintessential Fallow boy. He takes himself way too seriously, loves any Quentin Tarantino movie, has a lot to say about your music taste and fancies himself as a DJ. Pair this with a buzz cut and an Arcteryx jacket, and we have ourselves a  Fallow boy. While many will find this type jarring and annoying, he is objectively ‘cool’ and somewhat respected. This luxury is not given to the Fallow Girlie.

This localised Manchester-specific nickname is just the start of an endless stream of words society makes to degenerate young women and girls. The Fallow Girlie is just the most recent vocabulary to describe actions of young women that we find embarrassing, basic, and cheugy. Describing a woman based on her dress sense as an ‘Oh Polly girl’ or labelling the films she likes as ‘Chick-flicks’. Why is it that anything a mass group of young women like is constantly sh*t on? 

While society is quick to name-call, they underestimate the power of young girls and women. After all, they were the first to love the Beatles. The fandom was labelled as hysterical at the time with journalist Paul Johnson famously writing in 1964, “I refuse to believe The Beatles are what the youth of Britain want.” He Called their largely female fan base hysterical “the least fortunate of their generation, the dull, the idle, the failures.” By 1966 everyone had hopped on the bandwagon with the Beatles becoming the biggest boy band in history.

Hysteria comes from the Latin ‘hysterics’ translating to ‘of the womb’, meaning hysterical quite literally means a ‘dysfunction of the womb’. Describing female fandoms as if women are crazy or ill is clearly seen by the nicknames the press give them: Beatlemania and Bieber Fever. Author and playwright Yve Blake comments on this ‘hysteria’, asking in a TED X Talk “Boys crying at the footie, that’s the love of the game. Girls crying at a Justin Bieber concert? That’s pathetic.” The double standard is unquestionable.

Harry Style is the latest of a long line of musicians with a huge female fan base. Like Justin Bieber, Nsync and Five Seconds of Summer he struggled as a solo artist to be taken seriously, as apparently female fandoms can’t decipher proper music. In a 2017 Rolling Stone interview, Styles stated, “young girls like The Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious?” asking “who’s to say that young girls who like pop music – short for popular, right? – have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy?” Instead of being discredited for their music taste, they should be praised for predicting the next big name in the industry: Elvis, The Beatles and now Harry Styles.

Their economic power is hugely underestimated. They can bring Uggs back into fashion or ban the 15-year dominance of the skinny jean in just one TikTok. They make Grammy and Spotify history in the case of Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo. And educate the world on the impact of climate change at the age of fifteen, namely Greta Thunberg. Just like in the 1960s with the Beatles, young women are the trailblazers, the pioneers that the world eagerly follows and quickly rejects.

They can sell out Madison Square Garden in 11 minutes, single-handedly keep Depop alive or even Free Britney! The next time you want to denigrate the Fallow Girlie, just remind yourself of her impact and what little it does to undermine.

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