A One Night Stand With One Direction

A one night stand with One Direction might sound like a dream come true for some (or many) but the lyrics to their song Perfect provide a multitude of reasons why it would be better to stay at home. You have been warned, by the 1D lads themselves.

Celebrity’s a funny thing right – I mean, all the 1D boys have to do is sing quite well and look conventionally quite good and we’ll do the rest: we’ll ascribe them all sorts of qualities that they may or may not have (honour, loyalty, intelligence), we’ll venerate them and we might even let them get away with the metaphorical equivalent of murder. But the 1D guys are good enough to acknowledge this, they know that with platinum selling records and their faces plastered on billboards and posters they are basically the 21st century equivalent of gods. They know our culture worships celebrity, especially if those celebrities sing pop songs, that’s why they come with a warning.

Thus, Perfect – “I might never be your knight in shining armour, I might never be the one you take home to mother, and I might never be the one who brings you flowers” – OK, ditch the fairytale fantasies these guys aren’t going to faff around with chocolates and wine (seriously, why would they waste the cash when all they’ve got to do is wink and hundreds will rush to their beds). “And if you like midnight driving with the windows down [hmm, sounds a little dangerous], And if you like going places we can’t even pronounce [Worcestershire perhaps, or Billericay]…I might never be the hands you put your heart in [yup, no blood sacrifices or organ donations necessary, they’re not pagan gods after all] Or the arms that hold you any time you want them [they’re being explicit here – they don’t do affection]…And if you like cameras flashing every time we go out [WARNING – one night of bliss with 1D = being all over the internet forever, something their career thrives off but yours might not], and if you’re looking for someone to write your break-up songs about [probable dig at Taylor Swift here from Harry Styles – further warning, don’t be an independent, successful woman who plans on standing up for herself].” So they make it pretty clear what they don’t do – affection, respect and safe driving – but what do they do?

They do like causing trouble in hotel rooms and the video shows them needlessly chucking their luggage at elevators and kicking footballs around the hotel lobby – what about the other guests!? They do like a secret little rendezvous, although it won’t be so secret if the paparazzi have anything to do with it. And they can do some loving “from time to time”, emphasis on the infrequency. So, yeah, basically 1D are promising one awesome night of passion and maybe the occasional quickie afterwards. “Girl, I hope you’re sure, what you’re looking for, cause I’m not good at making promises” – so you have been warned from the horses’ mouths themselves – succumb to their coiffed  celebrity charm and you might end up on the front of a tabloid and mocked in a subsequent number 1 hit. But one thing you most certainly will not get is a second chance. Thanks guys but I’m afraid I’m a “Not Attending” for tonight.

The Wrong Direction

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.