I read a fascinating article a few months ago about the psychology (pathology?) of the fangirl called The Killer Crush, specifically related to the behaviour of (primarily) teen girls who develop intense feelings for notorious criminals, like James Holmes. They call themselves “Holmies”, or “Columbiners”. More recently, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has inspired a devoted following too. There’s even a cross section of Tsarnaev/One Direction supporters.
I was reminded of that piece yesterday when, after posting this article on One Direction’s Harry Styles, I was shouted down by a loud army of One Directioners who insisted I was wrong about Styles’s relationships with women because their truth is that he’s one half of what they call “Larry Stylinson” -- Harry Style and Louis Tomlinson, of One Direction, are actually secret lovers and their girlfriends and female hookups are just beards. It’s not unlike the Supernatural fans out there who’ve been insisting for years that Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are undercover boyfriends with fake wives to mask their hidden homosexuality. And they prefer it that way. They WANT this to be the reality. Very badly.
Is believing the alternative their way of rationalising the fact that they’ll never BE with their idols? If he can’t be with me, the only person he should be with is his man best friend...? What drives a girl to go to such lengths to find a conspiracy theory she can live with in order to avoid confronting the undeniable about her favourite boy band or the stars of her favourite tv show? Or a murderer. It’s too simple to say that she’s crazy or somehow lacking. The writer of The Killer Crush posits that part of the reward in this kind of obsession is being a part of a community of similar thinkers. Eventually, that sense of belonging becomes as fulfilling, if not more, than the pleasure derived from their fantasies.
If I were the Dean of the Faculty of Celebrity Studies at a liberal arts university somewhere in New England, we might have to devote an entire semester to The Fan. And not just the emotion of The Fan, but how The Fan is changing Celebrity -- from Twilight to Twitter, from content and creative to marketing and distribution, how is The Fan evolving the Celebrity Ecosystem?
Click here to read The Killer Crush.
Yours in gossip,