Happy almost-weekend, ears!

It’s Friday morning! I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty sluggish. And you know what gets me out of bed when I’m feeling sluggish? One Direction.

Sometimes, after I’m done dancing around my apartment, I feel bad about doing it to One Direction, yikes, some of their lyrics. So after I’m done listening I always say ten Hail Glorias.
Today, though, I encourage you to join me in playing some saccharine boy band pop, dancing at your desk, and then reading this really smart piece about why they might be “the first gay boy band,” by friend of the blog Rachel Hills:

No sooner had the band’s Kiss You video hit YouTube than a parody emerged with jokes about “gay leprechauns,” “dropping the soap,” and liking men’s butts. Hilarious, no?

But what distinguishes One Direction from their predecessors is that rather than trying to fight these stereotypes by gushing about women and being careful not to stand too closely together, they play up to them. They flirt. They roughhouse. They touch each other’s bottoms at concerts, and perform at gay nightclubs. They also have girlfriends. People may call them gay, but (most of the time, at least) they don’t give a toss. Because for the One Direction generation, being “gay” isn’t a bad thing.

In fact, amongst the demographic Harry, Liam, Louis, Zayn and Niall occupy, this kind of behaviour is common, says UK masculinities researcher, Eric Anderson. Anderson is the author of a 2010 study which found that 89 percent of 18- to 25-year-old self-identified heterosexual men had kissed another man on the lips – and in most cases, there was nothing sexual about it. “This is what young men of that age do in the UK,” Anderson says. “Touching, hugging, cuddling, and bum/testicle slapping are all ways you show your mates that you love them.”

You should read the whole thing. It’s really smart, and it’ll give you an excuse to blast that 1D aural coffee nice and loud. As if you needed one.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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