Lesbian fandom remakes the boy band

  • Jessica Pruett University of California, Irvine
Keywords: Fan community, Lesbian feminism, One Direction, Queer fandom, Tumblr

Abstract

Lesbians and other queer women are typically absent from theorizations of boy band fandom even though boy bands often have sizable lesbian fan bases. Lesbian fandom of the British–Irish boy band One Direction congregated primarily on Tumblr; this fandom constituted a queer community space that exposed the boy band as a site of lesbian erotic and creative energy. One manifestation of lesbian One Direction fandom was the drag king performance group known as Every Direction, which maintained an active Tumblr page in addition to performing live drag king renditions of popular One Direction songs. Interviews with the group's members, along with a content analysis of lesbian Tumblr fandom of One Direction, illuminate the significant creative output of this understudied fan community. This phenomenon is placed into conversation with the lesbian feminist–affiliated Women's Music Movement of the 1970s, which had a lasting impact on popular conceptions of lesbian musical preferences in the United States. I argue that lesbian One Direction fandom constitutes a contemporary queer political intervention that reworks lesbian feminist political tactics and priorities. This data acts as a record of the lesbian One Direction fan community that congregated on Tumblr during the band's heyday, as well as an intervention in scholarly theorizations of lesbian fans and fan practices.

Published
2020-09-15
Section
Theory