thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Puppy Love: Remembering Celebrity Crushes

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Well friends, it’s that time of the year again: the one-and-only Anna Howard Shaw Day, when we break out the champagne and Marvin Gaye tunes to honor one of the top women’s suffrage leaders ever to be born on Feburary 14.

And of course, it’s not too late to dig into some waffles in honor of Galentine’s Day, the February 13 holiday in which we appreciate our dearest friends over delicious breakfast foods.  (Guy friends can totally celebrate Galentine’s Day too.)

But what of our first loves? When do we set aside the time to celebrate everything they’ve given us and tell them how we really feel? I refer, of course, to the celebrities and film and television characters who first made us go all moon-eyed. Just because we’re busy sharing our love with suffragists and chums (and maybe with our special gentleman- and lady-friends too) doesn’t mean it’s all right to neglect the stars who taught our pulses how to race.

To remedy this situation, Girls Like Giants asked a few friends to talk about their early celebrity crushes. Whose name did you doodle in your Trapper Keeper? Let us know in the comments, and we can all compile a special edition of Tiger Beat in our hearts.

– Sarah Todd

Jeremy G: In my youth I was mesmerized by Janet Jackson. Rhythm Nation blew up and in 1990 she released her video for Black Cat. The bloused white shirt, the tight black pants, her bangs plastered to her forehead with sweat as she danced to the guitar solo — as a 12-year-old, I was powerless.
Jeni: First celebrity crush (that took on poster-hanging-in-room, seeking out articles in Tiger Beat form): a tie between Jordan Knight of NKOTB and Kirk Cameron of Growing Pains. Oh, boyish charm: I do love you. (Too bad neither had very compelling post-teenage careers…)
Melissa: I fell in love with Luke Skywalker because of his tortured virtue. There he was, expected to save the universe, but his family was falling apart: supervillain dad? sexy sister he had kissed? dead mentor figure that followed him around in a haze of blue light? Unlike the cardboard superhero Jedi that showed up in the prequel films, the Luke of episodes IV-VI was emotionally complex. I would still save him from the Pit of Sarlacc any day.
Allison B: When I was 11 I had it bad for Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting: boy was brilliant, hot, and hurtin’.
Maggie N. H.: Levar BurtonReading Rainbow. Dashing book-lover… Need I say more?
Phoebe: I think my first celebrity crush was probably Leonardo DiCaprio (I adored him on Growing Pains), but I lost interest in him around the Titanic period. But my walls were also papered with Seventeen and YM Magazine pages or cut out pictures of Devon Sawa, Brad Renfro, Scott Wolf (remember Party of Five?!), Jared Leto (hot!), and then Joshua Jackson of course. I’m sure there were others, but they all mostly fit the sort of the flannel-wearing skateboarding type bad boy of the 1990s mold which I quite clearly found irresistible.
Tammy OLuke, Bo, and Daisy Duke. I didn’t have a strong preference overall, and my favorite would change from week-to-week. I was full of attraction to the Dukes, but I also wanted to be them, so it was all kinds of a delightfully confusing thing.
Jared R: Claire Danes! My So-Called Life + Romeo and Juliet.

Sarah S: Girl crush: Punky Brewster/Soleil Moon Frye

Sarah S.: Serious, heart-breaking toss-up between Kevin Arnold/Fred Savage and Doogie Howser/Neil Patrick Harris. Yes, I was enough of a child geek to begin with the character but allow that to ripple out onto the real world celebrity.

Jessie N: Donnie from New Kids on the Block (before NKOTB)! He was such a bad boy but also sensitive because, you know, he was in a boy band.
 Leigh F: Am I allowed to list an animated character? Because it was totally Trent from Daria.
Joy P.-S: The main character in Spaceballs. I was too young to know what a crush was, but I really wanted to hang out with him! Who apparently was Bill Pullman? Funny, he really irritates me now…
 Sarah T: Ted (Keanu Reeves) in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. He was brave and friendly and romantic and a dreamer, yet a bit of a bad boy (military school!). Plus, he had great hair and was one-half of the Wyld Stallyns. What more could a girl ask for?
  1. Johnny Whitworth from Empire Records. I made a Valentine to him with bubble letters (” I [heart] Johnny) and smelly markers on neon pink paper, and then hung I it on my bulletin board. For the next 5-7 years, as an act of clear OCD, every night before bed I put on cherry chapstick, kissed my index and middle fingers, and then touched my fingers to the heart. The heart was covered in waxy red chapstick after a while. It took me more than a decade to realize the sulky dark handsome bad ones were not for me.

  2. Phoebe: I, too, thought Leo was super cute at that same time.

    Leigh: Yes!

    As to my own, I’m completely ecstatic that my childhood tv boyfriend could now be my gay tv boyfriend.

  3. Jeni: I would have to agree with you on Kirk Cameron. I went home everyday after school to watch Growing Pains. Also, I met him on a plane in coach. He was flying to Utah to give a lecture. I waited until every passenger exited the plane and then got him to sign my ticket stub while I hugged him.
    P.S. I am one of Phoebe’s students checking out the blog!

  4. beautiful people and great artists.

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