This Buzzfeed article does a great job of gathering some of the most potent social media postings about Zayn Malik’s separation from One Direction. Some are funny, some are sad, some are really super dramatic.
But what aren’t funny are the comments on this article. In the comment section, older people and people who feel they’re “above” the boy band, bash on the young girls’ reactions to Zayn’s departing.
This is gross.
Okay, so yes. The world is not over. The apocalypse has not arrived. Death is not knocking on my door. But a very important figure in pop culture has just rocked the current face of entertainment.
Zayn Malik is one of the only Pakistani celebrities in all of Western pop culture. His presence in a popular boy band has been crucial and uplifting for many Muslims and people of color. The kid has an amazing voice and he’s put up with a ridiculous amount of shit over the course of the last 5 years. The fact that he has left One Direction is not a throw-away, frivolous event, but something that has connotations and deeper meaning across our popular culture.
That is what’s happening today. And I don’t care if you feel sad about it. It’s very possible that you do not and will not feel the repercussions of this event. This, however, does not mean you should disrespect those who do.
Here is something for your consideration:
When a sports team loses or an athlete is traded, people cry. They cry, they get angry, they scream at their TVs. Sound familiar? The only difference between this picture:
And this one:
Or this picture:
Is the gender and age of the crying parties.
The reaction to Zayn’s leaving One Direction is being laughed at, brushed off, and mocked because it is young girls who are presenting it. To dismiss the emotions of teenage girls is dangerous, antifeminist, and ignorant.
As for comments like this:
Sure, you’re right, Sara. They aren’t The Beatles. But they are The Beatles of our generation. They have roused the same enthusiasm, garnered the same fan base, and appealed to the same audience demographic as The Beatles did in their day.
To make the easy comparison, here’s a picture of The Beatles’ fans:
And here’s one of One Direction’s fans:
One Direction is a band that has had a positive and lasting effect on many people, has brought together friendships, and has helped many young girls to feel beautiful and part of something important. Do not dismiss the emotions and reactions to this event just because of who they’re coming from. No one is asking you to like or care about One Direction. Just don’t be a dick.