Saturday, August 22, 2015

One Direction (and other): Why I Need Feminism

   Just this week, One Direction finally released the music video for their latest hit, "Drag Me Down". To say the entire thing was creative is an understatement; it includes robots, the boys running after a camera at rather awkward angles, and the ultimate point in which our favorite boy band is shot into space. Though I could write up an entire post about my love for the extravaganza that was the "Drag Me Down" video, there's actually a pretty big elephant in the room that comes with the attention the band is receiving, mainly from a male standpoint. Though most reactions towards DMD were positive and excited, there of course, had to be a chorus of "girls only listen to their music because they're hot" and though these things usually pop up with anything, there's an actual problem within saying this. Let's completely take everything we know about One Direction/ any biases against them and start from the beginning. "Drag Me Down" currently holds the title of #1 in 80 countries. EIGHTY. And this isn't even the first time something like this has happened- about all of their previous singles have hit first place on the iTunes charts without preorders. Going off of that, the British band have broken the Vevo records multiple times along with playing sold out or close to sold out shows every single night in the most well known venues on their world tour. So why don't they gain more respect? Why does a large portion of people still claim females who enjoy bands like One Direction are only there for the looks of the members? And no, it's actually not the performer's faults comments like this are usually put across, it's the demographic. One Direction's main audience is extremely versatile. Their listeners go from eight year old girls to college students. Mainly all female. This group of people is incredibly impressive- it's tough to land the pre-teen population already but also having young through older teens, and young adults (think recent college graduates) calling themselves directioners is almost considered impossible. A band that appeals to such drastically different age groups is usually something celebrated. But with their almost 97% fanbase of girls, One Direction is thought of as talentless because females can't possibly actually enjoy music, they must have a crush on one of the members to latch onto a band like this. Yes, it is very much true that most of their audience is attracted towards the boys but that's completely understandable; in a video done by Lacy Green, she describes "fangirling" or having a crush on a famous person as something completely normal and actually scientific in the minds of girls growing up (which fits most of 1D's fans). Another great point to bring up is these ladies' source of income. Being young, these directioners are mostly working minimum wage jobs or relying completely on their parents. They aren't giving up their paycheck or birthday present for the album or tickets to see four talentless boys. They enjoy the music and yes, the members but this behavior isn't driven from the pure attraction of Harry Styles. It's a love for the content this band creates and the way it makes them feel.
   Think of it as this: if One Direction's fanbase was mainly all male, their reputation and music would be taken much more seriously. The idea that the bands and artists that have a co-ed or mostly male audience are more respectable and talented is ridiculous. The statement, "girls only like One Direction because of their looks", also puts across the idea that all women are boy obsessed and can't appreciate something unless they find attractive value within the artist. When you turn it on it's head, the situation is actually pretty funny because of how large a double standard it is. For this year's Victoria's Secret fashion show, more men tuned in live than woman to watch supermodels walk across a runway in lingerie. Though Taylor Swift gave a pretty killer performance, it is easily argued that this male audience was there for the looks of the models. So why are guys allowed to literally just watch conventionally gorgeous women walk across a stage whereas girls can't enjoy a band with attractive members?
   It's sad to watch a band that has one of the most powerful fanbases and has put an influence on the demographic of teenagers (one of the hardest to hit ever) can't be taken seriously because directioners are mainly all female. It's even sadder that these fans are constantly having to prove themselves to guys (and even some women) for their taste in music because of being seen as "boy crazy". Though this post only covered One Direction specifically because of my own liking and experiences, this can be applied to any artist within the industry- these double standards hitting females are ridiculous.



  1. This post is very thought-provoking. I'm kind of ashamed to say that while for a short time when I was thirteen I like them a bit, after that I distanced myself from that entire fandom simply because "it's for young girls". Your post made me think about that, and kind of changed my mind. I watched the video and it wasn't bad. While they're not my favourite band, I can't hate them just because of their stereotypical audience :p


  2. I don't like the band but this is a great post. Really got me thinking as this had never really occurred to me. It really goes to show how feminism seeps into so many things!

    Paris x

  3. Yes, I completely agree with you! I've thought about this before. A lot of musicians and fans aren't taken seriously.