Acrush: the boyband of girls winning hearts in China

China’s latest boyband have all the usual trappings: five attractive singers, upbeat music and a loyal fanbase of young women. But in one crucial detail they are different. This boyband is made up entirely of girls.

Acrush have yet to release their first single, but their fan page has already attracted more than 750,000 followers after a series of live performances. Their admirers already call the women “husbands”, a term usually used by female Chinese fans to refer to male pop stars.

The A in the band’s name refers to Adonis, a figure in ancient Greek mythology whose name has become synonymous with male beauty. Acrush released their first music video on Friday.

China remains a conservative country in terms of gender roles, with company and the government leadership heavily male-dominated and sexist attitudes prevalent. Job advertisements frequently specify a desired gender, and five feminist activists were detained in 2015 for planning events to raise awareness of sexual harassment to mark International Women’s Day.

But Wang Tianhai, the Simon Cowell-esque figure behind the scenes whose company formed the band, says he has no intention of pushing a political message.

“They just enjoy the male appearance, the carefree style and want to sing like men,” Wang said. “They want to express a positive and sunny image, to show that girls can be a boyband too.”

Wang said he originally intended to push a “cutesy” girl group. But Acrush has since become the company’s star act after a smattering of concerts led to overwhelmingly positive response, including a flood of love letters from female fans.

Read more at The Guardian.