For ten years, I have been a fan of One Direction, and for ten years men have told me that I am not. I spent much of my twenties listening as men explained that I actually liked the idea of One Direction, as they insisted we talk about this “logically.” You can’t love One Direction, guys would tell me. Their music is not good. And, sure, “What Makes You Beautiful” is very stupid, and maybe actively bad for the culture, telling women they’re only beautiful if they’re also plagued by self-confidence issues. I liked it anyway. I loved to walk around Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City (where the artists live) listening to One Direction. It made me feel transgressive and powerful, in the way I think tattoos used to make people feel.
In 2022, men have come around. Not to be like “I invented Harry Styles, and also the concept of pop music,” but Harry released a new album last weekend, and everybody loves it. All it took was ten years of unremitting bops and beautiful shirts. Read more at GQ.