Recent critical commentaries suggest that four discourses—youth, exploitation, gender, and fandom— interlock to determine how writers discuss the genre. Collectively their result is a relative stasis in critical commentary that helps to allay wider anxieties about the idea that, in a capitalist society, any of us can actively and pleasurably engage with a musical genre led by its own marketing.
This according to “Multiple damnations: Deconstructing the critical response to boy band phenomena” by Mark Duffett (Popular music history VII/2 [August 2012] pp. 185–97). Above and below, New Edition in the 1980s.