There is this thing I personally find funny about the fandom: that the majority of the fans accuses Larry Stylinson shippers – in case you don’t know, people shipping Harry and Louis as a couple – of ruining the fandom, ruining the friendship between the boys, and ruining the image of the fans in front of the media. I find it funny, really. Paradoxical, even, not to mention - yes - quite disturbing. And I’ll tell you why.
See, first of all, I’m not a native English speaker. I’m not a fan of One Direction either, to be honest, although I acknowledge their songs to be catchy and the boys charming enough to explain their worldwide success. Before you stop reading, I ask you to keep going, as I have no intention whatsoever to criticize One Direction. This post is not about them. I also ship Larry, just to be clear, but that’s beside the point too.
Since English is not my first language, the greatest part of my experience with the fandom is based on the Italian fanfictions I’ve come across, aside from Larry Stylinson’s – which I read in English. However, since Dark is, perhaps, basically the most popular ff about Harry Styles, I’ll assume that the trends I’ve noticed reflect the general trend the fandom on its whole.
Now, there is one thing about those fanfictions. It seems in fact that the majority of the works – based on heterosexual pairings – that get to be the most popular are the ones where Harry or one or more of the boys are portayed as borderline abusers. They casually meet their female counterpart, express sudden and “unexpected” interest towards her, and start chasing after her until she gives up any form of resistance and let them into her life not to mention into her body.
In Dark, which I loathed and found to be deeply insulting to any reader – not girl: reader - with a shred of common sense, we see almost everything from the point of view of Bo, the female protagonist. “Harry Styles” first meets her during a party. While they’re dancing, he prevents her from moving, then goes for her mobile phone, saves her number, gives her a love bite and finally concludes his assault with a smug “You’re mine now”. Because yes, this is an assault. He overlooks her will, her voice, her “no”, her pleading – “please stop” – and proceeds with doing the proverbial fuck he wants. She doesn’t want him to, and yet he keeps going, and we know it for a fact because – I think it needs to be stressed - IT’S FROM HER FUCKING EYES WE’RE SEEING THINGS HAPPENING. He stalks her, after that. He’s possessive, openly dangerous, keen to violence, stubborn and irascibile. She can’t have any kind of interaction with other guys without him turning into a fury. He treats her as she’s his, when she is really not. Their encounters swing from non/con to dub/con for a while before – surprise! – she realizes she’s in love with him, and he promises to change. And they have sex. Which results in him losing his mind for a while and semi-raping her during – I feel like highlighting it again - HER FIRST TIME. You know what he says to justify his behaviour? That his mind sometimes “disconnets” during sex, because, you know, he’s not used to lovemaking. He’s used to rough fucking, so he just starts acting like an animal enjoys the moment, what he’s being given, and doesn’t really restrain himself. Not kidding: go read the fanfiction.
All I could think, incidentally, was “I would disconnect your fucking dick from your body, you abusive prick,” but ehy. Maybe that’s just me.
Now, you might object that it’s an AU. That the author didn’t intend to portay the true Harry Styles (thanks God). See, you’re right. It’s not real. It’s fiction. Still, female, teenage fans find it appealing. Sexy. Hot. Am I the only one who sees the problem here?
The thing is, it’s not just AUs that have this type of characters. I’ve read fanfictions where the characters were the “true” One Direction, and still – for instance – they gang-raped the protagonist, who consequently developped a case of Stockholm Syndrom and fell in love with one or more of them. So, it’s not just Dark - it’s just an example, really -, it’s a trend. The rougher, the hotter. And yes, they’re obviously works of fiction, but underage teenage girls find them arousing. I’m not talking about BDSM-themes fanfictions where two consenting adults play specific roles; I’m talking about fanfiction that romanticize rape, violence and abusive relationships.
Now, finally, what do Larry Stylinson shippers have to do with this?
Well, they’re criticized for “ruining the fandom” and ruining - listen here – the friendship between Harry and Louis. I’ve read things like “It’s because of you that 1D may break up”, “It’s because of you that they – H & L – don’t interact anymore”, “You’re sick”, “You’re twisted”, “Stop saying that they’re gay, don’t you see you upset them?”,
Fist of all, I want to clarify this so we can all go on with our lives. SAYING THAT SOMEONE IS GAY IS NOT AN INSULT. BEING GAY OR LESBIAN IS NOT A FLAW. You still alive after this shocking news? Good.
Now, let me get this straight. You’re telling me that in a fandom where IN FANFICTIONS the 1D boys are often depicted as abusers, rapists and violent psychos, what’s actually ruining – or may ruin – the fucking image of the band is people (believing in and) writing about Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson being a couple? You’re telling me that, in works of fantasy of the same level, you generally consider more offensive and outrageous for someone to be portrayed as gay than to be depicted as someone who SEXUALLY ASSAULTS A GIRL IN THE FIRST CHAPTER OF THE STORY?
Because if you do, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you may think that Larry shippers actually have the power to destroy a band, when they really don’t. I’m sorry that you thing that they usually bombard them on Twitter with gay porn, when – generally – they really don’t. And, if they do, they sometimes tweet them random gay fanarts and allusive messages in the exact, same way non-Larry shippers tweet them awkward texts like omg id fuck you into oblivion ur so hot Harry!!!!! and endless spam. I’m sorry that, even if no one spends their fucking time on Twitter bombarding 1D with gay fanfictions about Harry getting buttfucked by Louis, you still think they still hurt them in some way. I’m sorry if you think that Harry, Louis, Zayn, Liam and Niall might find more detestable to see themselves involved in imaginary gay acts than to have their personas exploited for violent fictional characters.
I’m sorry that, even though Larry fanfiction are works of fantasy as much as the non-gay fanfictions you idolize, we still live in a society where it looks offensive to be called gay, but not to encourage rape culture and romanticize abusive relationships.