Fangirl Friday: Buzzfeed Pens An Open Letter To Directioners

I love One Direction, but I am not a Directioner. I have a few issues with Directioners, and the biggest one is that they seem to believe that they, and they alone, are responsible for creating the Boy Band fandom. To be fair, some Directioners were born after the nineties were a thing (just let that sink in for a second) so they don’t exactly remember the Boy Band Boom of that time. For disclosure, I was five when we clocked in the new millennium , so I don’t exactly remember too much of it either, but:

  • I have always loved *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys (I had their CDs in the ’90s. I don’t know why either)
  • My French teacher in year eight and nine loved Take That so much in the nineties that she would still cry when she started talking about them in 2009.
  • In my fandom studies, I have long explored fandoms of days gone by.
  • I do not pretend that the fandoms I belong to are the first to ever occur.

Louis Peitzman, a writer at Buzzfeed, has penned an open letter to One Direction fans from Backstreet Boys fans. 

It’s an interesting look at the difficulties of fandom in the pre-internet world, something the majority of fangirls never consider. He writes:

BSB rarely shared their innermost feelings with us, because they didn’t have Twitter accounts we could follow. Consider how you would feel if you had to go without that kind of relentless access to the boys of One Direction. We couldn’t beg the BSB guys for a follow, or ask them to retweet a message for their Brazilian fans. They were too far removed to touch — whether virtually or otherwise.

I’m a little bit older than the average 1D fan, and as such I do remember fandom before twitter. I don’t, however, remember fandom before social networking. While The Jonas Brothers didn’t get twitter until two entire years after I fell in love with them, they had a myspace account and would occasionally message lucky fans. It wasn’t as frequent or as instant, but it was still a way to reach out and be noticed. The dedication of fans before the internet far surpasses that of current fans because they had no way to actually contact the objects of their obsessions. They couldn’t share photos, or fanfic, or stories. They loved things not for the community that the internet provides, but because they just really, really loved the music and the boys. It’s the kind of dedication that deserves us to stand up and applaud. Most of the girls who devote their twitter to spamming Harry Styles with messages of “FOLLOW ME” would not have survived a day in the cut-throat world of the nineties.

Louis finishes his message:

I get that: Your passion for 1D runs deep. But for all of you who feel like you invented boy band fandom, and who are sure no one else has endured the pain of not being able to hold Zayn close and smell his hair — I’m asking for a little respect. We put in the hours and toiled hard for our boy bands. To reach BSB, we’d walk miles. Uphill. Both ways.

And for that I tip my hat to you, good sir.

frangipani princess xoxo

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