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Aug. 16th, 2013

So misumaru who lives in the UK, posted this morning about a storm brewing on Twitter there among fans of One Direction. Apparently, there was some documentary that aired on a TV channel over there that had driven some girls to suicide. Now, Directioners don’t exactly have a reputation for being the most stable fans on the face of the planet – see the earlier incident of them tweeting death threats to GQ staffers because of an unflattering article. But I decided to do some looking into what caused the ruckus. (Because, dude? SUICIDES?)

The documentary in question was not about the band itself, but about its fandom. They went out and found the most extreme Directioners they could – stalkers who try to force themselves into the band’s lives however they can, people who compare connecting with the band on Twitter to a religious experience, who liken being in the fandom to a drug addiction, who have sent death threats to their girlfriends, etc. And there was also a segment on extreme tinhats – people who believe their yaoi ships are real – except it seemed to present the tins as representative of yaoi fandom as a whole. So, of course, the mainstream media reporting on this misrepresented why fans ship – “Better they be going out with another guy than with a true female rival.”

As for the alleged suicides, the most credible report I’ve seen claimed one girl dead, one in the hospital, one unaccounted for, and that they were people interviewed for the film who were misrepresented in the final edit to look like complete basket cases. (I’m taking that with a huge grain of salt, though, since it seems to have originated in the Twitterverse.)

Unsurprisingly, the fans have reacted with rage, clogging Twitter with the hashtag #thisisnotus to say they were sane, really! Except some of them did not help their cause at all, threatening violence to the people who appeared in the doc and the filmmakers. (The band, meanwhile, denounced the doc and expressed open support for their fans).

Honestly, I don’t know what to think of all this. There is nothing I hate more than “Look at those weirdos!” portrayals of fandom in the media. It’s taken a long time for geekery to gain credibility because of that kind of thing, and music fandoms are still trying to gain it – real person fanfiction is still taboo among much of “mainstream fandom.” It especially disturbs me that this doc completely misrepresented shipping and slash, selling the idea that people slash not because it’s fun or because boy A would look hot with boy B (even though we know it’s not going to happen), but because fangirls can’t stand the idea of their bias with a woman who isn’t them.

But, on the other hand . . . it’s the Directioners. I know that every fandom has its sane core and its lunatic fringe, but in their case, the fringe is REALLY lunatic, genuinely scary and, quite possibly, much larger than the fringes of other fandoms. (Or at least much LOUDER). They’re the kind of fans that give all of fandom a bad name. It’s been said they make the Gaze fandom at its worst look sane and rational – and sadly, it’s the truth. If the filmmakers wanted to look for Fandom At Its Worst, they wouldn’t have to look very far with that crew.

So I really am torn between “Argh, this is horrible for fandom” and “They had it coming.” I just wish the media (and, so far, this brushfire seems confined to British media, all the links I found seemed to go to UK sites) would realize that this kind of behavior is confined to one small group and present it as such, and that most fans are interested mainly in building community with other fans and being creative, not stalking and threatening people.

EDIT: One UK newspaper writer called the filmmakers on their BS and misleading tactics.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
misumaru
Aug. 16th, 2013 04:45 pm (UTC)
Meanwhile, none of these girls had boyfriends.

...ok, I was going to write a more detailed comment, but instead I'm going to be sitting here in a corner, fuming. And what, exactly, is wrong with not having a boyfriend? Plus I happen to know that there's MANY people in fandom that are in a relationship! *growls*
ldybastet
Aug. 16th, 2013 05:02 pm (UTC)
But acknowledging that wouldn't make for a sensational story! It has to be outrageous, you know. Can't let people think that among the nutters, there's also normal, everyday people! They used to write scary articles about the Potter fandom when I was in that... and all of them always had the same slant, especially when bringing up slash. "Look at those perverted women! They apparently have a sexuality and they... like porn! How quaint and weird! Let's all laugh at them, those desperate, lonely women!" *le sigh* (also, they even caused at least one person to lose her job, due to publishing her very unique name) God, I hate media sometimes!
misumaru
Aug. 16th, 2013 11:33 pm (UTC)
We have desires? OMG, how utterly horrifying! Lock up your sons!

...remind how we've progressed from Victorian attitudes, exactly? :/

Anyway, that's awful about the person that lost her job! I'm going to guess that the person that wrote the article that caused her to get fired had no negative repercussions at all?
puss_nd_boots
Aug. 16th, 2013 05:49 pm (UTC)
Like LadyB said - it wouldn't fit the preconceived notion they went into this documentary with. They had a story in their heads, and were going to shape their documentary until it conformed to that story. They wanted to show all the Directioners as crazy cat ladies in the making - so they deliberately sought out ones that fit that profile and then asked them leading questions to get the answers they wanted (i.e., "What would life be like if you married Harry?") If they found anything in their footage that suggested these girls might actually like someone at school, or that they were in a same-sex relationship (because, of course, you don't have to have a BOYfriend to be in a relationship), they pushed the "delete" button. One newspaper writer did end up calling the filmmakers on their BS: http://www.dailystar.co.uk/columnists/mike-ward/332682/Crazy-About-One-Direction-was-horrible-mean-spirited-TV-which-set-out-to-humiliate

Edited at 2013-08-16 05:50 pm (UTC)
misumaru
Aug. 16th, 2013 11:30 pm (UTC)
Ok, it amazes me that the lone voice of reasons appears to be the Daily Star, of all things - that paper is true trash! O_o But yeah, it's obvious that they didn't care about making a balanced documentary, no-one does when they decide to talk about fandom. It's always "Look at the crazies, aren't they sad? LOL!". *sigh*
lunapastilha
Aug. 16th, 2013 06:05 pm (UTC)
Ok I am trying to be bias in this subject...but...but...i keep wondering how can a band, which does n´t write their own lyrics, which sings things with out sense can provoke such a commotion?! I am saying this not because they are pop, but i compare them with the Bibier punk, and how the kids are blind and stupid to follow some one that spill on fans, says that if rape happens it´s for a reason and other stupid shits. I was once into pop too, but in my time (and I am not that old) the pop was made with sense not this. and it was Kurt Cobain and other grunge bands that led to suicide not pop!!
and other thing that piss me off it´s the fact that they call us crazy for travelling around the globe to see Gazette, the one´s that write their own Lyrics and music.
puss_nd_boots
Aug. 16th, 2013 07:29 pm (UTC)
I've never been into the whole singing-and-dancing-boys-who-don't-write-their-own-music thing (that's the main reason I haven't gotten into K-pop). I can kind of understand why very young girls would be into that sort of thing, though - they're not thinking too deeply about what they're seeing and hearing, they're just enjoying the pretty sights and ear-candy sounds. What I can't understand is why they take it seriously enough that they think it's worth threatening people for. And please, don't get me started on Bieber - and, for that matter, Miley Cyrus. They both seem to think that acting like a jackass = being a grownup. It doesn't mean you're mature. In fact, it means quite the opposite.

People who call us crazy for being willing to travel overseas to see the GazettE are tarring us with the same brush as those Directioners and Beliebers (and Twihards, too - they explode just as hard as the Directioners if you insult their beloved books). They're not taking one thing into consideration: We're not HURTING anyone. We're not going over there to stalk the GazettE. We're going over there for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. (Hey, in my case, the trip is about more than GazettE. I plan to go to Oktoberfest and see Bavaria while I'm in Munich).
lunapastilha
Aug. 24th, 2013 10:26 pm (UTC)
When i was younger i used to listen to Pop, but at those times, pop was New kids on the block, Bsb and Westlife, and they were n´t bad at all!! but nowadays, what the fuck?! the pop songs are so stupid and with no sense at all!! And twilight...it so frustating. Believe me when I say that You and Alexkina are so much better writers than that "child" that wrote those books. At least your stories have what in my country we call " Head and foots", which means it has a connection from the beginning through the end and you can write stories that let us addicted and willing for more (common every time i see something in the Visual key world i always think " how will Boots describe this"). And even speaking about other writers (Special female writers), what about Juliiet Marriel Books they are so perfect to turn into a movie, and Marion Zimmer Bradley (her "Mists of Avalon" movie adaptation was such a blasphemy for her fans) and Lean Hearn with Otori Tale´s. It really frustrating when good writers are left to the side just because their books make you think!!

About Gazette, I´m a bit stressed....The day of the concert seems sooo sooo soo far away I am dying already. Unfortunately me and my friends will stay in France for 4 days, one to arrive, other so sleep outside the concert hall (we are vips but we want the front row) and other to rest and bye bye France!!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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