According to New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde, One Direction is overrated. Not entirely unexpected, fans of the UK boy band (calling themselves “Directioners”) took insult on behalf of their royals: Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson. Once again, Directioners proved themselves a loyal bunch by attacking back.
Note to self: some things are better kept as “inside voice” and not on twitter. Although the boys of One Direction won’t diss back, the Directioners will fight 1D’s battles as if were their own.
Lorde’s comment triggered a frenzy on Twitter amongst Directioners. Although never proven, Lorde was accused by the teens on Twitter as saying that the boys from One Direction were “ugly”. This made 1D superfans fire back with insanely racist insults towards James Lowe, Lorde’s rumored boyfriend.
Most of the tweets simply call Lowe ugly and/or express bewilderment at Lorde and Lowe as a couple. Perhaps unable to comprehend that the appearance of interracial couples, the critics of Lorde and Lowe claimed that they don’t exactly “match”.
This revealed a major issue in our society, that people generally believe the defining factor of a successful relationship is conventional physical beauty. Jezebel’s Lindy West said it best:
When couples like Lorde and Lowe violate that tacit social contract (by, you know, just liking each other a lot while being different amounts of “hot”), the response is usually swift, bewildered, and thick with disgust.
Even the tweets that don’t specifically mention Lowe’s race, I suspect, are at least partially driven by our culture’s nasty stereotyping of Asian men as unsexy and sexless.
Beverly Parungao has a great article on this topic, When Asian men are seen as ‘undateable’.
Personally, Lorde’s boyfriend didn’t make my top-10 summer wish-fling list, but so what. In the end, personality still counts more than looks. And if it’s true that they’re dating, then let it be. If Lorde and Lowe can keep their heads held up high during this brutal cyberbullying, their relationship will only strengthen from there.
Our society has a twisted mindset towards celebrities’ relationships. Because tabloids and media often critique the personal relationships of stars, the public also feels it has permission to make nasty remarks about celebrity couples. There is and always will be this unrealistic expectation that celebrities need to be in a “socially desired” and “socially admired” relationship. Terms like “Hollywood Royalty” appear and the only way you can get a crown is if both individuals are “sexy” or “hot”.
Couples, like Lorde and Lowe, where both partners aren’t perceived to be on the same level of “hot”, get brutally attacked, often along the superficial factors such as their race and/or image.
Though interracial relationships have come a long way and are now more socially accepted than in the past (in Canada and the U.S. anyway), this still doesn’t mask the fact that interracial and inter-ethnic relationships are faced with an additional set of challenges. Close-minded people being one of them. And if your interracial relationship so happens to be is broadcasted all over the media, you can pretty much expect racist insults.
“Oh yah, you’re boyfriend is ugly,” is not a new comeback. It’s been on the playground for forever. Sadly, the racist version of this isn’t new either. Fortunately, not all teens are this superficial, but this recent teen frenzy did show us how deep the racist attitudes towards Asian men really are. As baakus on Jeszebel put it,
“Hey, welcome to the life of an Asian guy! If we’re not that attractive, then we might as well be leper morlocks. If we’re hot, then we’re deemed good enough to be considered as attractive as average white guys.”