Writer takes down those who mock One Direction's young, female fans


Plenty of people made jokes about the fact that singer Zayn Malik left One Direction the same day Top Gear co-host Jeremy Clarkson was fired. Would Clarkson go on to join the band? Is Malik taking over Top Gear?!?

But Elizabeth Minkel of The New Statesman has an absolutely brilliant analysis of how the fan reactions to both departures were treated differently on social media because of the age and gender of said fans.

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While adult men who bemoaned "the end of an era" for Top Gear were generally treated sympathetically, teenage girls who expressed similar emotions over One Direction were met with disdain and ridicule.

She also writes:

Why do One Direction fangirls bother people so much? Why do their emotions, and the way they perform that emotionality, seem to anger complete strangers? Why do adults parade their ignorance of a staggeringly successful pop act—and why do they feel the need to scold, mock, or offer the girls who love it "a bullet through the head"? Why are screaming girls, overcome with excitement for a group they love, considered a punch line, the pinnacle of immaturity, and something extraordinarily shameful, when the largely male, adult crowds at sporting events openly weep, bellow, paint their naked bodies in bright colours, clutch each other, and even commit physical violence due to emotion, both when their teams lose and when they win? There might be a lot of screaming and crying at a boy band concert, but when was the last time someone punched a fellow fan at one, or set fire to a car out of joy?

High emotionality (fan studies scholars call it "affect") during the match is part of the pleasure of being a sports fan – I know, I've been there, too (my beloved American football team lost the Super Bowl four years in a row). But I've also gone to pieces over fictional characters and celebrities; so many girls do. I actually got teary just last night thinking about a character who was killed on TV six years ago. We are emotional creatures, and these emotions come out in groups, bolstered by the like-minded and equally enthusiastic. But there is a sports section in every newspaper in the world – and I have heard men hold forth at length about the importance of sports, on a psychological level. So what's the difference here? Boy band or football team, you're still a group of people screaming in some kind of stadium.


(I've written about the similarities between Directioners and sports fans myself.)

Teenage girls are one of the most consistently hated and mocked groups on the Internet, and Minkel eloquently explains why using fangirls as a cheap punchline is a direct result of our misogynistic culture.

Read the full article on The New Statesman.