The Vagenda

The One Direction Mystery

I had to write about this. It’s been bothering me for some time now. I am talking about the proliferation, nay, ubiquity, of the saccharine and impossibly young teen boy band One Direction (them off X-Factor) in the pages of women’s magazines. Focus especially falls on member Harry Styles, tween heartthrob who, according to Glamour, oozes charm like hot butter from a jacket potato’ (they follow this statement up with ‘we went there’ in parenthesis. As though they had made some kind of boundary pushing joke. Went where, exactly? To the visa checkpoint on the borders of Paedophile-land?) 
As anyone who listened to us on Radio 4 knows, Magazines are in outright denial about the average age of their readership. Glamour and Cosmo would never admit publicly that they are probably read, in the main part, by teenage girls. It would mean disaster for their advertisers. Yet their repeated insistence on lusting after “hawt” boyband members One Direction indicates otherwise. Without wanting to appear conservative, there is something a little disturbing about an office full of women in their mid-to-late-thirties perving over a teenage boy. And I’d feel the same were the situation reversed into some old man/Lolita type fantasy wherein staff at GQ sit around in their bullet grey offices going “PHWOAR. I WOULD” about Dakota Fanning (they don’t FYI- all are gay. JOKE.)
In other words, Glamour and Grazia and all those other poor excuses for reading material seem to think that they are encouraging equal-opportunity perving, when actually both scenarios are creepy and age-inappropriate. Also embarrassing. No 18 year old wants to to be lusted over by a load of cackling mag hags. It just isn’t cool, is it? But then when did Grazia and Glamour ever try to be cool?
But that still doesn’t answer the question: why the obsession? It’s a Columbo-sized mystery. Unless, that is, you consider the Simon Cowell’s PR squad powerhouse. So maybe these women don’t actually fancy One Direction at all. In which case, they’re sell-outs, not letches. It’s always one or the other. 

6 thoughts on “The One Direction Mystery

  1. Loved listening to you on Radio 4. Well done. It was rather frustrating when they were saying that you should simply ‘write an alternative.’ But what i love about you is that you are challenging the media viewpoint of women, no simply being polite and writing something else. As feminists we need to start standing up and calling out these viewpoints that are, in essence, perpetuating the patriarchal dogma, and keeping women ‘in their place.’

  2. “there is something a little disturbing about an office full of women in their mid-to-late-thirties perving over a teenage boy” and “when actually both scenarios are creepy and age-inappropriate.”

    are they ? My experience is that, as I get older, older women fall into the attractive age range, but younger ones don’t fall out, they just become very improbable. I suppose it’s a matter of instinct informed by age – and that it’s much the same for women ? Beware of slipping into ageism! (hint: I am 58)

  3. Also, did you see today’s news that One Direction are the first Brit band in history to debut at number one on the US chart? Louise Court and her Humberta Humbertas must be gasping in ecstasy as we speak.

  4. something has just occurred to me – where are mid-teen *girl* bands ? I mean, obviously I pay close attention to The Saturdays’ releases, but they’re all obviously adult…

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