Why It’s Not Okay to Make Fun of One Direction Fans Mourning Zayn Malik
On Wednesday, March 25, Zayn Malik officially left One Direction, and for fans of the British-Irish boy band, the world practically imploded. The internet flooded with oceans of tears from 1D fans in mourning, many of them weeping in six-second Vines, sobbing in Twitter pics, and trying desperately to make sense of such a heartbreaking and shocking loss. While some people simply couldn't grasp the devastation, others found the fans' heartbreak amusing or even "disgusting," judging the fans, trolling them or even flat-out bullying them.
But you know what? That's wrong — and here's why.
It is a genuine loss on many different levels.
While Zayn didn't actually die (we're thankful for small miracles here), there is a reason why the hashtags #RIPZayn and #RIPOneDirection were zipping their way around Twitter on Wednesday. Zayn leaving One Direction is practically like a death. While Harry, Louis, Liam and Niall still plan to continue on as a four-piece, the band as we knew it (5/5) no longer exists and may never exist again. And for the millions of fans who worshiped the group or followed them on tour or praised 1D for saving their lives, that loss is incredibly real. And it's not just the loss of Zayn and the only incarnation of the group we've ever known, it's also the loss of a huge chapter in many fans' lives. Above all else, it is the loss of a loved one. And no one can argue that losing something of that magnitude is anything but immensely difficult.
The emotion is real.
Um, can we please take a second to commend One Direction fans for feeling so passionate about something that the absence of it hurts like hell? If you ask us, it's a hell of a lot better to have access to such genuine emotion than to go around feeling apathetic about everything in life. And the outpouring of such sadness following Zayn's departure just goes to show the world how important this band is to so many. To the fans, Zayn leaving One Direction isn't any less of a tragedy than the Beatles breaking up, and we're willing to bet that had the internet existed during that time, the fan reactions would be at the same level of hysteria.
People mourn in different ways.
Want to know why teens posted videos of themselves crying? Yes, maybe a small percentage were hoping to go viral a la Chris Crocker in his "Leave Britney Alone!" video, but we're willing to bet that all they wanted to do was feel connected to their fandom fam and share their sadness with people who adored the band in the same capacity as they did. Not to mention that actually talking about feelings is a pretty healthy way of dealing with such loss. And if that's how they cope, who are we to judge?
Bullying is never okay.
While some fans coped by poking fun at themselves or by laughing just so they didn't cry, there's a big difference between this:
And articles like "Fangirls Will Be Fangirls," which berates fans for posting their reactions to social media while also assuming that since they're upset about a boy band, they can't possibly have any knowledge about world events.
"Girls too young to know the difference between ISIS and Ice Cube have posted videos and pictures of themselves sobbing and bemoaning Zayn’s absence to platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and, of course, Twitter. It’s actually kind of disgusting," the author states. "I understand the intrigue celebrities can cause for us common folk, especially the young’uns, but when the well being of children lies in the structure of a boy band, I feel like parents should be a little concerned with how their children are learning to prioritize what’s happening in the world."
To make fun of people, to talk down to people, to bully people, subtly or not, in any capacity, is wrong. And just because the rest of the world seems to think that the majority of One Direction fans are young, impressionable tween girls, that doesn't automatically give them a free pass to laugh at people's pain. You'd think that since many assume all the fans to be so young — when in reality, yeah, there are plenty of us in our late twenties and even older — that maybe they wouldn't want to intentionally hurt kids. Cyberbullying is more prevalent than ever, and people often forget that there are actual humans on the other side of that screen, individuals who could be hurt by cruel words.
Just because One Direction fans are insanely vocal about their devastation, it does not give the rest of the world the right to be condescending.
So take your time to mourn, Directioners. Because we are right there with you. <3
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