"In the 1960s, 'groupie' was just a word used to describe girls who wanted to hang out with groups, but over the years it has slowly become a negative term." - Pamela De Barres.
When I first pulled on this t-shirt from Fan Club Clothing (use code LEIGH10 to save 10%), someone made a comment that was along the lines of: "You can't wear a t-shirt that says GROUPIE on it." Of course, my obvious answer was "Why the f**k not?". I honestly hadn't thought twice about having the word branded across my chest, as some of my personal muses would use the term to describe themselves, but clearly it's a term that is still associated to be derogatory and embarrassing.
Nowadays, the word 'groupie' has indeed developed hugely negative connotations and is often used to degrade (largely) women specifically who have an enthusiastic interest in a particular artist, band or celebrity, eg. "You've seen *insert band name here* how many times?! Oh my god, you're such a groupie!". You don't have to look far to find the definition of the term online and see as to why it's used in such a degrading way. The very first Google result when searching the definition reads as follows:
'Groupies' have a reputation of being opportunistic, obsessed girls seeking sex specifically from someone simply because of their fame. You certainly don't need to get me started on how women specifically seeking consenting sexual relations and free love is something that shouldn't be frowned upon when men have been praised for it since the beginning of time; that's a topic I could easily write another entire essay about. It's almost become another easy excuse and way to slut-shame women for celebrating their sexual liberation.
The word itself derived from a female-dominated sexual movement in the 60s and 70s, championed by the likes of Pamela De Barres, Sable Starr, Bebe Buell and Lori Maddox who are notorious for their flings and romances with some of rock 'n' rolls most famous musicians. These women used the term proudly and use the word to refer to themselves without hesitation. Pamela De Barres, in particular, is seen as a rock 'n' roll historian (I really recommend her incredible memoir, I'm With The Band, to anyone who wants more on an insight into the groupie lifestyle) as she was on the music scene for many years and experienced the music revolution closer than any budding journalist at the time. Groupie culture was a lifestyle for young girls in the 60s and 70s, it wasn't just a word that was thrown around as flippantly as it is today; these girls lived for the music and wanted to be in the presence of the musicians who created the music they loved so dearly.
"A real groupie is someone who loves the music and wants to do it with the guys who make it and someone who goes after what they want, so a groupie is a feminist thing. A woman who goes after what she wants is a feminist. So I’ve never been anything but a feminist." - Pamela De Barres (via NME).
Obviously there is an issue with musicians abusing their power to lure and abuse young fans, which is something that needs to be addressed by the music industry. However, if both parties are consenting adults then why should we mock the fan who is sleeping with someone purely based on the traits they're attracted to, whether it be their fame or music? We shouldn't.
Although the word did originate from the retro sexual movement, today the word 'groupie' itself doesn't necessarily incorporate the sexual relations aspect. It tends to be used more in the context of the first part of the definition that Google has delivered to us: a young woman who regularly follows a pop group or other celebrity. Over the years the meaning has become a little more broad and nowadays it's simply used to describe an over-enthusiastic fan in a negative context, as if it is something to be ashamed of. I'll be the first to admit I'm a full throttle (Louis) Theroux groupie in that aspect and I don't really give a shit if it's seen as ridiculous.
But why? Why is being passionate so utterly about an artist or idol used in such a mocking way, especially when the word originated from a gang of powerful women who lived exactly how they wanted despite how unconventional it was considered at the time? If anything, the word should be used to empower someone who goes after exactly what they want and how they want to live.
Let's stop using groupie as a dirty word, and start using it to empower passionate go-getters.
Anyway, I kind of wandered off on a tangent from my original outfit post there, but you can purchase this kick ass 'Groupie' tee from Fan Club Clothing via Student High Street. Plus, you can also get 10% off when purchasing with the code LEIGH10. Fan Club Clothing is an indie company that creates wonderfully nostalgic slogan tees that take a lot of inspo from vintage trends. In fact, their whole company ethos is to 'dance around to your favourite vinyls and wear your heart on your sleeve & your text on your tees', which is something I can definitely get on board with!
Student High Street is a website that champions independent companies and creatives via their website. You can shop everything from these slogan tees to vintage threads and everything in between. As well as being able to shop their carefully curated selection of incredible garms, they're also a lifestyle platform that showcases music, travel and much more.
These faux, suede long boots are from EGO, who have an insane selection of knee highs available right now. For me, there's just something about a statement pair of long, over-the-knee boots that just help to complete an outfit for me!