When all is quiet on the One Direction front (you know, aside from break up rumors, baby drama, and a never-ending parade of lingerie models), someone always seems to take it upon themselves to stir up a little craziness in the fandom. Today, it is a recent graduate from Cornell University writing for PopMatters.com.
Kaitlyn Tiffany probably had no idea the wrath she would unleash when PopMatters published her story ‘We’re Not Groupies, We’re Band-Aids: How the Fans Loved and Destroyed One Direction.’ But criticizing a large group of fans for “demanding a lot—five albums, four tours, three movies, a Christmas special, an eight-hour livestream, 15 music videos” when none of those numbers are, in fact, the fans’ doing at all, sure does open you up to backlash. (We wonder if Enraging a Fandom 101 was offered at Cornell.)
One Direction fans are sick and tired of being vilified as a group as young, clueless girls who spend their days fantasizing about weddings and honeymoons with Harry, Louis, Liam, Niall or Zayn. For the author to portray herself as a true fan who “fell in love with an image of boyish perfection and unadulterated joy” and then turn around and say “the girls who made One Direction also made sure they would never be artists in their own right” is as misleading as it is cruel. Why not mention the fact that One Direction fans have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities in the name of the boys? Or that they turned one of the band’s songs into a fan-released single? Or that they’ve worked so hard to make their concerts an LGBTQA+ safe space? Why make them look like the evil machine that drove One Direction to their breaking point when it was in fact their 5-album original contract and the record and management company overlords that pushed them this hard?
No fan saw the boys on the stairs and said, ‘I demand an album and a tour every single year. Work them until they hate it.’
The responses to the article on the website are as hurt and angry as you’d expect. “I’m tired of being put inside the bag of ‘screaming girl who follows One Direction everywhere they go and cries every time they appear somewhere,'” one person writes. “I’m tired of the media blaming this on us.” Another commenter adds, “One Direction’s music sells to girls. Yes, we’re all aware. At no point did we kid ourselves into thinking they don’t have an image to uphold. But how does that make girls liable for the contractual obligations of the band?”
A person calling themself a fan and then turning on fans to blame them for One Direction’s demanding past five years is an argument that falls apart at the seams. They clearly miss the part where the four remaining band members love what they do, and they clearly see the boys’ upcoming break as a punishment to fans rather than earned time off. The author is just as ensnared in the media-created idea that female fans of boy bands are silly and naive if she thinks they won’t see the issues in her claims.