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Why is it so popular to find joy in One Direction fan's misery?


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I’m sure a lot of you reading this will already be aware of the rumours that flew regarding a certain boy band over the past 48 hours.

On Sunday night a very trusted (debatable) source, also known as The Sun, released a story hinting at the possible demise of One Direction. The UK’s biggest X Factor super group were said to be going in separate ways to pursue solo projects, following the departure of Zayn Malik back in March.

Cue standard ‘more than one direction’ jokes. Really? Yawn.

Of course, the internet reacted to the news, with overused play on words to express their joy of the split. At this point remember, it was still a rumour, but that was enough.

Numerous news outlets got hold of the tale, elaborated on it and sent it out further. Features were even made making an example of fan reactions, a source of comedy.

Confusion flew and conclusions were jumped to. Much to social media’s enjoyment, the main source of traffic.

Having since spoken out and confirmed time apart, though not a split, the question still has to be asked. Why is it so popular to find joy in One Direction fan’s misery?

There’s no denying the negative, embarrassing even, personas attached to the stereotypical ‘Directioner’. Fans of the group are thought to be pre-pubescent, worshipping, crazy, obsessive, over imaginative and pathetic.

This image is built from trolls online who emphasise everything to say the least, as well as unfair, biased reflections in the media.

Those characteristics may belong to some fans, but not to all.

There’s a guy walking around with fifteen Miley Cyrus tattoos, but are all ‘Smilers’ obsessed?

Somebody grabbed Taylor Swift’s leg whilst she was performing, but are all ‘Swifties’ crazy?

A girl once threw an iPhone at Ed Sheeran just so he’d ring her real phone to try and give it back, but are all ‘Sheerios’ dramatic?

There’s somebody who actually changed her name to ‘Mrs. Kanye Resa West’.

Thousands of people express their emotion towards their favourite band reportedly breaking up, but all ‘Directioners’ are weird? Pathetic? Hilarious?

One Direction fans by far have the most negative name. I’m not here to defend all fans, as one myself I know that sometimes individuals can seem crazed, that the attraction may not be understood. But surely this applies in all fandoms?

So why is it cool and popular to hate on One Direction fans?

Twitter blew up following the released statement from a ‘1D source’ who could be anybody, really. They said that the boys were planning to take a break for ‘at least a year’, though mentioned nothing about a split. Of course, this had to be interpreted into whatever would generate enough traffic.

Cue headlines.




Cue One Direction fans taking to Twitter to express their despair.

Twitter is used by millions of people, to tell us they’re at Turtle Bay having 2 for 1 cocktails. To let us know their thoughts about #MICLA or to tell the world how excited they are for ‘Leeds *beer emoji*’. It’s considered perfectly acceptable for users to rant about flat mates, take the piss out of people on The Lad Bible or throw some shade at their ex.

But for a fan to tweet about disappointment that their favourite band are breaking up? Unbearable. How dare they.

Many bands have split, and artists have quit music, this of course sparks emotions in their fan base. Regardless of whether it’s a mainstream artist, or the scale of their success, somebody somewhere will be saddened by the news.

Which is understandable as the music that we listen to and the people that made it, shapes us as people. No matter how ‘poppy’ or how ‘commercial’ you may think it is, music has power.

One Direction have power. They have been stable figures in popular culture for the past five years. Like it or lump it.

If the news of a split made you happy because you don’t like their music, then fine. If One Direction splitting up didn’t bother you, then fine. How has your day been affected?

There’s no need to target the fans.

Don’t ridicule them. Don’t twist their words. You paid no attention to them before, so why start trolling now? This is directed to everybody who sent laughing emojis back, who tweeted about their joy at the sadness, who used the word ‘pathetic’ unfairly.

To the people who made memes, who thanked God as though One Direction were a disease and a split would be a blessing. To the people who shopped over dramatic reactions to make fans seem crazy. Who basically took joy in other people’s misery. Other fandoms even tried to trend '#onedirectionisbreakingupparty' and got annoyed when One Direction fans went along with it and tried to lighten the mood. There's no way of winning. 

This didn’t happen with the split of My Chemical Romance, or Oasis. Crystal Castles’s fans were not targeted. How about Busted, even? Were they a media joke?

How about the disappointment when a footballer transfers teams? Or when an actor doesn’t want to carry on in a movie franchise? Is that okay to express sadness about?

Point is, bands and groups aren’t contracted to stay together forever. Nor should they have to. Though that’s not to say that the affect won’t have repercussions on their fans. Which is just a statement of how influential these people are.

With the impact of social media on our modern life, it’s easy for stories to get blown out of proportion. It’s easy to speak out, and it’s easy to add fuel to fire.

So while rumours of One Direction splitting up may have made your day even better, or the absolute worst. It’s important to look after each other and ask yourself, if your favourite band were splitting up, how would you want to be treated?

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