One Direction. Quite possibly the biggest boy band in the world. There isn’t a single person I know that hasn’t heard of One Direction (okay, there was one, but he’s from a third world country, so I excuse him), and their achievements include five Brit Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, eleven MTV Europe Music Awards, nineteen Teen Choice Awards, and plenty of others (according to Wikipedia). They have accomplished placing third in the seventh season of The X-Factor, four world tours, five (by the end of this week) albums, a collective Twitter following of over 90 million, and around £30 million each in the bank (according to Fabulous Magazine) in their short five and a half years of being a band together.
Even with all of these achievements, there’s a stigma with being a One Direction fan. Especially if you’re not a twelve-year-old girl. I’ve had people question my age, my maturity, my mental state, and even my intellectual capabilities, and it’s quite frustrating, to say the least.
And I put all of this blame on Annie Meyer.
I remember receiving a text message from her in early 2012 asking, “Do you like One Direction?”
I remember being at a friend’s house, staring at my phone in confusion and scoffing, and my simple response: “Lol, no. Why?”
Somehow at the end of that night, Annie Meyer convinced me to go see One Direction at Gexa Energy Pavilion in June with her, and she promised, “By the time we go to the concert, you will know all of their music and you will fall in love with them. I guarantee it.”
She was right.
I protested tons, but I remember her, one night, sharing with me about how “What Makes You Beautiful” influenced her. It’s a pretty simple song with the beginning riffs of “Summer Love” from Grease, but the fact that my out-of-this-world, beautiful best friend felt ugly, and the song changed her thoughts about how she felt about herself sealed the deal. These five boys changed her life, and as the empath that I am, there was something about this boy band that I couldn’t deny. They too, changed my life.
At this point, rather than Annie force-feeding me too many interview videos and Tumblr posts, which she did, I started to accept the fact that these four British boys and that one Irish lad were super talented and charming, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t stop just trying to find out everything I could about them. I remember going on a scavenger hunt to look for the “Up All Night” Concert DVD in three different Wal-Marts. I remember the first time I saw them live, drunk and crying over how beautiful and talented all five of them are, and then driving to Houston to go see them the next night. I remember staying up all night with Annie, reblogging way too many pictures, trying to figure out if I was going to be the future Mrs. Horan or Mrs. Payne. (Sorry Liam, I’m no longer into you.)
Three and a half years later, I’ve seen them live four times (Dallas and Houston for the Up All Night tour, Dallas for the Take Me Home tour, Manchester for the On the Road Again tour), and I’ve spent too many hours on Tumblr and YouTube, when I probably should’ve been sleeping, studying, or doing other productive things.
I’ve cried way too many times as I’ve seen how wonderfully they’ve treated fans and people around them and when Zayn left the band back in March. I’ve met so many different friends just because we shared the one connection of being fans of the boys. I’ve laughed way too many times just watching random “Funniest One Direction Videos *insert year here*” videos on YouTube. This may make me sound crazy or stupid or however else you think, but it honestly hurts my heart that people would judge other people just because of an interest that they have.
We allow middle-aged men to dress up in weird make-up, organise parties, spend way too much money on tickets and obsess over sports teams, while we ridicule young adult females who also like to dress up in weird make-up, organise parties, spend way too much money on tickets and obsess over boy bands. Where’s the fairness in that?
The boys in One Direction are now currently between the ages of 21-23 (Louis turns 24 next month!), and they sing songs that they write themselves about sex, heartbreak, love, and their life experiences, and we still expect their fanbase to be 12-year-old girls. We belittle the fans and tell them that something that they either simply like or that even has possibly changed their lives is stupid, and we tell them that they must be mental, and we think we’re still kind human beings when these girls close in, shut off from the world, and are afraid to share their dreams and other interests, and who are we to judge others for what they like?
And not only have people ridiculed the fans, but people have ridiculed the boys.
When Zayn left the band because he craved normalcy and needed a break, people jumped in laughing that their life was way too easy to ever need a break. When the boys had to cancel a gig in Belfast a few weeks ago because Liam ended up in the hospital due to an anxiety attack, people were quick to tell the boys that they would never have anything to be anxious about. Louis becoming a father. Harry and his ex-girlfriends. The Niall, Ellie, and Ed love triangle. People joke that their lives are jokes and that they should kill themselves, which is never a topic to be spoken lightly about. And like the criticism against the fangirls, people also think all of this is okay.
I guess I’m here to say that it’s okay to like whatever you like, but it’s not okay to make fun of people for the things that you dislike. Whether it be about One Direction, Apple, cucumber water, or Broadway musicals, let your opinions stay opinions and never think of them as facts. Because you never know how something could make somebody else feel.
Also, five things:
- Though I’m glad they’re finally taking a break, because they so deserve one, I’m extremely sad and though they’ve promised, I really hope they come back.
- How can Harry Styles be so beautiful? I don’t get it.
- I will forever want to marry Niall Horan.
- I can’t believe Louis’s gonna be a father.
- One Direction’s newest album, Made in the AM, comes out this Friday. You should probably go buy it.