One Direction. Five ordinary lads who have achieved international stardom. There’s a part of me which feels sorry for them. I would imagine that Simon Cowell is a cruel and harsh taskmaster who runs the boys through the ringer, extracting every last pound and penny he possibly can. Then there’s another part of me which feels that the boys need a round of applause. Don’t get me wrong, Cowell is doing very well out of them, but then again, they’re doing pretty well for themselves (especially as they have shares in 5SOS – http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/2014-a-z-o-is-for-one-directions-secret-investment/133340/).
They use their talents (vocally and visually) to good effect and have achieved more money than I could ever dream of earning at their age. Then there’s the other part of me which is annoyed by them. They sing mediocre (yet catchy) songs and get shed loads of money for it (and that’s before we take into account all the merchandise and 1D paraphernalia attached – as tempting as that pink tinged box of 1D eau de toilette is, I’ll give it a miss thanks).
Yet there’s something more than just how much is in the old piggy bank here. Now, it should be no secret that there’s a little tinge of “sexual deviancy” amongst the boys. Looking in the darker recesses and abysses of the internet, we may find rumours of Harry Style’s bisexuality (well that’s okay because he still likes girls) or, heaven forbid, homosexuality. The latter conjecture is added to even more when it is rumoured he has had a fling with Radio 1’s morning delight Nick Grimshaw. Hold the press – surely not?!
But of course this is all hushed up. And why? Well, as Lord Cowelldemort has decreed in accordance with his PR Pop Eaters, if Harry were to come out as gay it would despoil the image of the band for all those teenage girls who kiss their poster of the fivesome before bed every night. (Erm, Cowell, hello, do you not think that the gap in the market that may appear if Harry did come out would not be filled *instantaneously* with tiara bearing, tight t-shirt wearing, ready-to-go and raring homosexuals? Duh.)
However, of late, there has been a new allegation for a different band member. Recently, the Twittersphere has absolutely exploded after a Vine was caught of Louis Tomlinson claiming that he was gay to his actual/apparent girlfriend Eleanor Calder. To give a little context – Louis had drunkenly initiated a conga line along with other band member Liam Payne and has multiple security guards around him. After being escorted away, whilst the audio is not clear, he is claimed to have said: ‘I’m gay, it’s pretty unfortunate isn’t it Eleanor?’.
There are two problems here – one with the comment itself and one with how Twitter (or rather, its users) has dealt with it. First, is why Louis views it as unfortunate. I’ve had people say to me in the past “oh, it’s such a shame that you’re gay because now we can’t go out” (bitch please, I’m actually homoromantic) or “it’s such a shame – so many ladies disappointed”. This is SO problematic – why ‘shame’?! If you like me that much why do you feel as though my sexuality prevents us from having a relationship which could be just as meaningful and fulfilling? Ah yes – we return to the importance that our society (unnecessarily and wrongfully) places on sex. Because I’m not sexually attracted to you, because I, as a man, am not sexually attracted to you, as a woman, it is viewed as a ‘shame’ and thus, by extension, ‘shameful’, pandering to a dialogue which seeks to malign the queer in favour of maintaining the status quo of the heteronormative. In Louis’ case, there is nothing unfortunate about being gay. So he claims to like guys – and? It propagates and promulgates a subversive and vile dialogue within society that needs to be eradicated. And being (supposedly) spouted from someone who has great influence on our youth, this is unacceptable.
The second point is the response from Twitter users. I am so heartened and pleased to see the second hashtag mentioned above. It shows, if anything, that attitudes to homosexuality are becoming increasingly positive. The first hashtag cited above, however, abhors me. Yes, it’s a quote of what he has allegedly said, but as that is the hashtag, the link, the *trend*, it does homosexuality (and the queer in its wider sense) no favours whatsoever.
So what does this Twitter storm in a blog of tea show us then? Well, it shows us something that we kind of already know. Attitudes towards homosexuality are changing for the better. Hallelujah. Yet there is still a large proportion of people out there who think that homosexuality is shameful in some way or unfortunate. And that makes me sad. And angry. But it also inspires me to do something about it – and that’s why I’ve written this blog post.