Meet the newest, refreshingly subversive “boy band” to hit the musical charts – Acrush.
This is the Chinese band’s contribution to a world busily fighting for LGBTQ rights and breaking gender barriers. Acrush is an all-girl team, and its five members – Lu Keran, An Junxi, Peng Xichen, Min Junqian, Lin Fan – aged 18-24, like to dress androgynously in shorts and loose shirts.
That makes them “a group advocating freedom, not bounded by frames”, said Zhou Xiaobai, the agent of the band, in an interview with Quartz. The band members want to specifically avoid using the terms “boy” or “girl” and would instead like to be known as “meishaonian”, which means “handsome youths.”
The band was brought together by the entertainment company Zhejiang Huati Culture Communication Co and is part of the sports brand Fantasy Football Confederation (FFC). This means that not only do the band members wear sporty, androgynous clothes, but they also play football on stage. Wang Tianhai, head of the entertainment company, said it makes his pop stars “sunny, healthy, and full of positive energy.” It is probably not a coincidence that the Chinese government has placed special emphasis on football.
The official name of the band is therefor FFC-Acrush. The A stands for the Greek god Adonis, who is believed to be the epitome of masculine beauty. “We’re a girl band. But we look more like beautiful young men, not young girls. So the positioning fits us more,” said band member Min.
For a band this progressive and so valiantly challenging stereotypes, it is perplexing why the members are forbidden by company policy from speaking of their own sexuality in public. China is still a conservative country, and though gender issues are becoming a important concern, like in India, feminism is becoming a politically-sensitive issue. Wang, however, stresses that in the end, it is their music and not their image that will determine their success.