On boy band fangirling in the age of Twitter

If you follow me on any of my social networking profiles, you should know that in about six days I will be seeing that silly European-manufactured boy band One Direction. My ticket cost me a stupid amount of money – an amount that I am far too embarrassed to divulge. Yes, my dedication surprises me just as much as it surprises you. Or maybe you aren’t surprised, given my deep love of *NSYNC (though the two pop acts should not be compared because *NSYNC is clearly on a completely different level). I don’t know what happened. After their Saturday Night Live performance, there was no turning back. I guess it was kind of something like this, but over the process of a couple of weeks.

This is all of the 1D stuff I’ve bought over the past couple of weeks. Don’t worry, I would  probably unfriend me, too.

Once I realized I was a fangirl, I decided to poke around the online fandom. I was glad to see some people around my own age who had also succumbed to the stupid charm of this boy band, but they were definitely in the minority. As expected, this fandom is mostly compiled of young tween/teenage girls. I found myself cringing when I read some of their usernames, but it was a bit endearing. They created “families” on Twitter and Tumblr and were building their own fan culture. As a Communication major who enjoys reading about media studies (with an emphasis on fan/audience studies) it was fascinating seeing how these Directioners interacted with each other.

But these interactions, while almost always embarrassing, weren’t always endearing. In fact, I soon learned that within this fan culture, many young fans were spreading some pretty misogynistic, racist, and homophobic things among their groups.  Continue reading “On boy band fangirling in the age of Twitter”