The Wholesome Softboi
The Self-awareness-as-a-Weapon Softboi
The Gatekeeping Softboi
In today’s society, we see this happen all the time. It is not behaviour restricted to softbois. Once, when I was 12, I heard Rihanna’s song ‘Only Girl (In the World)’ played for the first time ever on Radio 1. This is great! I thought to myself. The song makes perfect sense in terms of RiRi’s evolution as an artist – a bold move, sure, moving to a Eurodance sound after the moody, rock-inspired tones we heard on Rated R, but at the end of the day, you just can’t beat a good dance-pop melody. I became obsessed with the song, listening to it at every opportunity. Because I was 12, and pretty stupid, I thought that me hearing the song on the radio meant that I had ‘discovered’ it – I felt like I had personally dug it out of its niche, underground state, and kept it, just for me and my headphones. My tiny, tiny brain didn’t compute that because the song was by Rihanna – the then-undisputed Princess of Pop – it would obviously go on to be a number-one hit. I thought I was the ‘only girl in the world’ who knew about this song – then, a few days later, to my shock and horror, it was everywhere. Instead of being happy that other people got to bask in the song’s pink glow, though, I was absolutely fucking raging.
Gatekeeping is a word used to describe when someone sets a standard/limit on what someone must do to call themselves a ‘true fan’ of something/someone.