Last night, The Sun reported some potentially devastating news: One Direction would be "disbanding" come March 2016, taking a break to focus on their own projects and take a well deserved break from the madness of the past few years.
As with all things tabloid, there hasn't been a 100% confirmation regarding the band's decision to take a break (in fact, the band's publicist has declined to comment on any speculation). However, last night Directioners were, understandably, getting rather emotional about the whole thing. Was this true? What was next? Would anyone from the band actually acknowledge it?
Like a lot of conversations relating to One Direction, fandoms and, well, teenagers, the 'adult' Twitter sphere was quick to respond with vitriol and condescension.
one direction have split up, roll on all the heartbroken teenage girls writing endless tweets about how they can't move on with their lives— sally cinnamonn (@jaydealexandra_) August 23, 2015
I'm currently laughing at a teenage girl who's devastated at One Direction's upcoming split. Global therapy for hysterical girls needed lol— Jasmine Dotiwala (@jasminedotiwala) August 23, 2015
One Direction to split up... Cue dumb teenage girls crying— Nathan Reid (@nathanreid13) August 23, 2015
Some people were even cracking jokes about teenage girls attempting suicide and self-harm (which we won't be sharing here because it's pretty disgusting).
Really, this is not a new phenomenon; fans have always reacted strongly to their favourite band's 'taking a break'. We can still remember the day that the Spice Girls called it quits (we still have nightmares).
Yet, when it comes to fandoms, especially those which centre around pop music, there is a certain air of snobbery from the 'cool' general public. Yes One Direction right be selling out stadiums all over the world and shifting millions of copies of their albums, but to many, because they're a group predominantly favoured by teenage girls, they're considered less culturally significant.
While we all know that the One Direction fandom can, at times, be a bit OTT, there's no reason to dismiss a very real emotion surrounding a very real moment as teenage hysteria or meaningless Twitter chat.
Pop blogger Gone To DeadLock wrote this morning about how teenage girls are often subjected to belittling comments and how, really, they should be respected for their feelings and passion.
She wrote: "Teenage girl[s] that develop a passion about something, whether that be a pop music group or otherwise, and is able to express that passion on the internet and feel okay to say that she is sad about it is someone that should be respected, not laughed at."
She continued to say that teenagers, especially teenage girls, are aware that adults find their interests mundane and irrelevant.
Similarly, YouTuber Nerdy And Quirky has spoken openly about why people need to "Stop Being So Sh!tty to Teenage Girls" in relation to fan culture. She notes that "what teenage girls are so obsessed over is a feeling of belonging".
To be honest, we think they both have a point.
At PopBuzz we're totally aware that our passion for pop music, YouTubers and the Internet may be looked down on by some as meaningless chatter; what do we know about culture and artistic merit? One of our bugbears surrounds popstars that are dismissed as talentless because they are popstars. Yes, this still happens in 2015.
We understand that, in the grand scheme of world affairs, a boy band going on hiatus might not be considered the biggest deal, but everything is relative, right? This is a band who have touched millions of people and, for some, changed their lives forever.
Being a young person in the Western World can be a lonely and isolated time, one full of self-doubt, stress and serious social anxiety. The fact that five (then four) boys from the UK could unite people and create communities IRL and online for people to discuss their passions seems pretty important to us. Also, One Direction has spawned some seriously amazing artwork, fan-fiction (kinda) and, of course, memes.
For five years, One Direction have been a massive part of a lot of people's lives. The fact that the UK's biggest export and a genuine cultural phenomenon might be disbanding is a big f*cking deal. It'll impact and affect a lot of people, us included. Fandoms are real and they're not just something boring people can dismiss on Twitter as insignificant or infantile.
Also, remember when this happened?
Before you laugh at 1D fans crying at split rumours, remember 1m 'adults' signed the Clarkson petition. And drove a tank to the BBC offices.— Matt Locke (@matlock) August 23, 2015
While no one really knows what's going on with One Direction, remember that your feelings about the band are legitimate and they matter. We're here if you need us.
*Weeps for 1000 years*