I love One Direction. You heard me, I LOVE One Direction. I’ve unabashedly loved One Direction for the past five years, from when they were awkward pubescent boys performing synchronized dance routines on the X-Factor stage, to their peak of attractiveness in 2013 (Check out the “Best Song Ever” music video — you’ll understand), to their more “mature” sound and shaggier hair in 2014-15.
With this knowledge in mind, you can guess what Wednesday was like for me emotionally. I was minding my own business and sipping a latte in my favorite on-campus coffee shop, when I glanced down at my phone to 72 UNREAD MESSAGES. All of them said roughly the same thing: Zayn had left One Direction.
For those of you don’t know, Zayn Malik is possibly the most beautiful creature on this earth. He pulls off the bad-boy aura flawlessly and has cheekbones that could probably cut through steal. On Wednesday, through a statement released through One Direction’s Facebook page, he announced that he was leaving the band in order to live like a “normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.” The Internet thus exploded.
Vines, tweets, Tumblr posts and Facebook statuses were dedicated to fans (mostly young girls) expressing their sadness (or anguish) at Zayn’s announcement. The news was truly inescapable.
I won’t deny that as a One Direction fan, I was sad. I didn’t cry or completely lose my mind, but One Direction has always been a source of happiness to me. They were fun, cute and British, and sometimes, it was nice escaping my real troubles by blasting “What Makes You Beautiful” alone in my dorm room. Other fans, though, took it much more seriously.
Sometimes, when you really like something, even if it’s just a boy band, you begin to take things personally. In this day and age, celebrities personalize interactions with the help of social media, and One Direction members are known for being especially good at connecting directly with their fans. Some fans have reached out to them when their home lives weren’t that great and they needed cheering up, and some have even felt that the happiness One Direction brought to their lives saved them. In my humble opinion, this concept is really heartwarming, brave and shows the power of social media in bringing people together.
So, I was perusing the Internet Wednesday night and came across an article on Barstool Sports (just as pleasant as it sounds) entitled, “A Whole Lot Of Teen Girls Are Crying All Over Social Media Because Zayn Left One Direction.” I clicked it and was pretty disturbed by what I saw. The article (if you can call it that) basically mocked fans for posting about themselves crying and being generally upset about Zayn leaving.
The article included gems like “Have some dignity,” and “How embarrassing. I honestly weep for the guys who’ll date these girls over the next few generations. Attention whoring like that will NOT end well for you, men of tomorrow.”
Congratulations, Barstool Sports. You just called girls who are probably no older than 18 “attention whores.”
Not only is this article disturbing because it basically tells young women that they’ll be awful girlfriends and validating their existence only if they’re dateable (whatever that means), but it also is extremely hypocritical. Barstool Sports makes fun of fans for being “overdramatic,” while they seem to forget how sports fans have literally rioted after their favorite team lost (or even won) a championship.
So, to everyone at Barstool Sports, I have a few requests. Leave One Direction fans alone, and please stop being so misogynistic. Just stick to writing about whatever you usually write about.
1D fans, I’m rooting for you. Keep soldiering on, because you’ll make it through this. Meanwhile, if you need me, I’ll be in my dorm room blasting “Up All Night” and prepping for the One Direction concert I’m attending this summer.