One Direction Fandom Is A Cute Little Cult- But It’s Still A Cult

Boy bands have always been a staple of Pop music culture. They come in numerous, eclectic forms, ranging from The Jackson 5, The Beatles, and The Bee Gees, to New Kids on The Block, Backstreet Boys, and NSYNC, and most recently, One Direction.

Flashback to 2010. Five boys came together on popular British TV show “The X Factor.” Even though they collectively finished in third place, England nor the rest of the world were ready for the mass hysteria of One Direction.

Watch: One Direction final performance in 2010 X Factor

In a sense, Harry Styles, Niall Horran, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik have been compared to a modern day Beatles. Not only are both from England, but they also stole the hearts of millions of girls when they transitioned overseas to America.

But why did these kids transition into fame instantly?

“The Internet is what made One Direction what they are today,” Kelly Brickey, One Direction fan and journalism student at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee said. “Online resources like Twitter and YouTube gave the boys a platform for fans to jump on the bandwagon. Even [the band] themselves have credited online fan presence for their success.”

The increase in popularity of social networking sites such as Twitter have skyrocketed conversations between fans from all over the world.

At any given moment, there is always at least something “One Direction” related trending. Some of the hashtags used range from, simply #OneDirection and #DirectionersRunTwitter, to more obscure fandom references like #BodyShotsWithHarry and #LiamWearsThongs.

“These days there’s more of an ability for fanship to manifest itself on social networks and other kinds of internet channels that point out just how intense fanship is,” Dr. Eric Weisbard, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Alabama said. “[Popularity] is something that we measured before through screams and people standing in Times Square, outside of MTV studios, and we can now measure it in more concrete ways.” Like social media.

Fast forwarding to 2015, One Direction fans, “Directioners” as they are called, had their worlds turned over: within a three month span, member Zayn Malik announced his departure from the band. Rumors then started forming about a potential hiatus.

In typical Boy Band fashion, sometimes the members “age out of the category” Weisbard said.

“They have been working nonstop for five years now,” Brickey said. “They may get a couple weeks here and there for themselves, but their dedication to their job is hardcore. They just need a break.”

So there you have it, girls love music more passionately than others. When they come together for a common purpose, fandoms form. A new language evolves between members which could be attributed to a cult. But something about these five boys from England has made a lasting impact on society and is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

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Cover Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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About the Author
Kinsey recently graduated from the University of Alabama. She enjoys music as an art form and a way of life. She can be found at a concert taking pictures or interviewing bands. She also indulges in coffee, soap operas, 90's cartoons.
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