Have we redefined the word groupie in the last few decades and I just didn’t get the memo?
I recently saw a news story that discussed a group of older-to-me folks who travel around the country in RVs following a religious music group—the kind that sing old-school-hymns-type. First, I would never associate the word “groupie” with that type of fan following, especially given that particular genre. Second, I do associate a negative connotation to that word because, as far and as long as I have known, it has referred specifically to women and meant they were sleeping with the one or more members of the group they were traipsing after.
Groupie, to me, is a word that symbolizes a stereotype. More specifically, women who have low self-esteem and endeavor to gain power through sex with rock stars, legends and/or idols who are typically men. Yet, at the same time, it seems to strip them (and other women, regardless of whether or not they are a true groupie) of power as it illegitimates any self-worth they may hold and any real experience or knowledge they may have in that particular environment (i.e. music-type statistics, networking, business acumen, creativity, or booking talent to name a few).
To my surprise, after having looked up the word to see if it actually meant what I thought it did, Merriam-Webster gave a very simple definition: “a fan of a music group that follows the group on concert tours.” There were some variations to it, but never once did it mention anything anywhere near my understanding of the word—they even used “golf groupie” or “political groupie” as an example of an enthusiast or aficionado! What?!
Okay, so back to the news story. I realize they used “groupie” as a bit of a play on words for an attention grabbing tagline. I get it. I certainly stopped what I was doing and paid attention long enough to be irritated, dismiss it and then write this blog. I am just utterly blown away that anyone—male, female, young or old—would surrender themselves to that word, let alone make it something positive. Maybe it’s only positive if you are following hymnal groups.
Image Credit: A Journal of Musical Things (all one word–dot com)