Outrage Over One Direction
By: Maaryah Malik
Article that this is primarily based on is located here. (You don’t have to read it, but the piece will make more sense if you do.)
Terrorist jokes. Not funny. Thinking that teenage girls have no brains. Also not funny. Jon Stewart, popular comedian who often crosses boundaries but is generally amusing, made a joke about One Direction in relation to terrorists. To say the least, fans were mad. Then the Washington Post came out with an article about how ridiculous teenage girls are. The statement on The Daily Show, as explained by the Washington Post was, “’Just as you were talking,’ quipped correspondent Jessica Williams, ‘a new terrorist group formed with one member each from ISIS, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, One Direction and the Zetas drug cartel.’” This was viewed as a criticism of Zayn Malik, member of One Direction, one of the most prominent Muslim figures in popular culture. The Washington Post decided it would be great to make fun of the teenage girl fans enraged with this affair.
Honestly, I’m angry about the fact that this article states that teenage girls are absurd for being concerned about Islamophobia, especially when it is directed at an important person in their lives. I’m angrier because teenage girls, some of the smartest and hard-working aged people that I’ve ever met, are not taken seriously because they like a certain boy band. The Washington Post directly states, “Much like Al Qaeda and ISIS, One Direction inspires extreme devotion among its followers.” Apparently the woman who wrote this article thought it was appropriate to compare a fan base made up of mostly high school and college-aged girls to fatal groups of terrorists that have killed thousands upon thousands of people. Oh yes, teenage girls devoted to a group of musicians and concerned about insults directed to those musicians are certainly comparable to mass murderers whose sole objective is to obliterate groups of people. No one questions it, because that’s just what teenage girls do, right?
When grown men scream at the TV screen when their favorite football team loses, why does no one question it or see it as anything but standard? Yet when teenage girls cry at concerts, they are suddenly seen as intellectually and emotionally inferior. Adults have looked at me as some sort of joke because I like this band a lot. The Washington Post article states, “’Screaming is a way to control a situation,’ Michelle Janning, a professor of sociology at Whitman college, told Richards at the time. ‘When you’re a kid, and a girl, you don’t have control. Young people don’t have a loud voice in society, so screaming in this kind of space is a way to have a voice. Literally.’”
Not only is this article sexist, it also neglects to address the real issue about why people are mad, a serious issue of innocent Muslims constantly being called terrorists. The fact that such reliable and supposedly credible sources cannot take teenage girls seriously and overlook the main problem itself shows a deeper and underlying issue in our media and stereotypes that have been set out. Every single devoted One Direction fan I know is a hard worker and is legitimately concerned with issues, such as Islamophobia.
Many of the “crazed” adolescent girls quoted in the article were actually victims of Islamophobia themselves, but the article deliberately only used the parts that made them sound “insane.” So yes, teenage girls were losing it because a popular figure made an Islamophobic joke about someone they cared about, and they’re going even crazier because many ignorant people will not listen to their opinions because of their music taste.