One Direction. They’re popular, they’re big (but not quite as big as they used to be), they’re successful, they’re chart toppers (8 at the last count), they’re on posters…but one thing the One Direction boys don’t appear to be are feminists. My case study shall be their number one song ‘Steal My Girl’ and for those of you feministically inclined alarm bells might already be ringing.
“Everybody wanna steal my girl, Everybody wanna take her heart away, Couple billion in the whole wide world, Find another one ‘cause she belongs to me.”
For something to be qualified as ‘able to be stolen’ it must first be considered property. Thus, Harry, Liam etc are suggesting that women are belongings. A proposition already championed in places such as the Bible, what with marriage traditionally being a ritual in which a woman became her husband’s chattel – an article of movable personal property or a slave. For young men of the 21st century to hold such reactionary views is deeply concerning. “Find another one” they sing as if said “girl” is some sort of Pokemon card that can be traded with carefree abandon.
“I don’t exist, If I don’t have her,” sings Louis, alluding to the feeling of deep, unconditional love. This might be touching if Louis’ existence did not depend on his ‘having’ (aka owning) total possession of his partner. Christian Gray anyone? “She knows, she knows, That I’m never gonna let another take her love from me now,” croons Harry. This, quite simply, is a threat. What if she doesn’t want to love you Harry? What if she doesn’t want another to ‘take’ her love and just wants to be independent? Meanwhile, we’re seeing love treated as a quantifiable, discrete entity that has to be given exclusively to one other person, for ever. Not much room for manoeuvre there.
“She belongs to me” completes the song, summing up the 1D’s views toward women. It seems they don’t want ‘their girls’ to have opinions especially with regards how or who they love. Looks like 1D have a few lessons to learn. We’ll just have to introduce them to some of pop’s more famous feminists including Miley Cyrus and Meghan Trainor. They can remind the boys that women, or any human for that matter, are not collectables and their organs are not for trafficking.
Now enjoy their video, starring Danny DeVito and a boatload of stereotypes.