Do celebrities' fans take it too far?
The new bullies aren't big kids looking for lunch money, but pop music fans. There's no one quite as vicious as a fan girl. Are your kids safe from the hysteria-induced meanness?
Don't let the sobbing fool you. Those cheers and giddy tears of fan girls are easily replaced with rage. Mud-flinging from fandom is quickly becoming a global pastime. While you might originally think it's done by only young fan girls, that's not necessarily the case. Grown-ups have just as much fun with disparaging young fan girls as Beliebers and Directioners do tormenting each other. As mamas, big sisters and aunts, though, it's the hateful bullying between teenagers that has us most concerned.
We first noticed it in 2011 when the young and talented Esperanza Spalding won the Best New Artist Grammy and left Justin Bieber sitting high and dry. Instead of railing against the system or engaging in quiet protest, Beliebers took to Wikipedia and desecrated Spalding's page. She was even told to "go die in a hole." (A phrase that, for whatever reason, seems to pop up a lot.)
They're also heinous toward each other
Earlier this year, Beliebers latched onto tormenting a young Italian girl after she was chosen for Bieber's onstage OLLG (One Less Lonely Girl) ritual of singling out one girl and serenading her. Italian fans decided the girl was unworthy of the attention, hunted her down and began attacking her with hatefulness. One user, @weedphase, said, "giorgia antonucci IS THE F***ING NAME OF THE ITALIAN OLLG! THAT HATER WILL GET WHAT SHE DESERVES." Meanwhile, another Italian went into stalker mode, found her social media information and sent it out for backup.
Beliebers aren't the only fan girls with a penchant for being cruel. Those precious One Direction fans can act fairly intimidating, too.
Despite One Direction making a stance against bullying, their fans seem to know no bounds. Several months ago, when a friend of the band posted a picture of Harry Styles playfully kissing her head, her Twitter account was attacked with hateful messages ranging from nondescript hate to people calling her a slut.
And last year, fans found out that one member of the boy band, Zayn Malik, asked out a young radio station worker from Australia. Their fans took to Facebook and phones. By the end of the day, the girl, Anna Crotti, was terrified. She told the Daily Mail she called off the date after the fans had sufficiently frightened her.
Don't blame their meanness on puppy love
Fans of female pop stars are just as vicious. Back in September, when Lorde peaked at #1 on iTunes, the singer was happy but "Smilers" (Miley Cyrus fans) were not. One harsh critic even told the crooner to kill herself.
And Despite Lady Gaga's efforts to stop bullying and help her "little monsters" thrive in life, no matter how different they might be, they've been known to act fairly monstrous themselves. Last year, on TSwift's birthday, little monsters pounced on Swift with death wishes and hate. If only Gaga had called them her little angels. It should be mentioned that we actually couldn't find any instances of Swift's fans doing any bullying. Trust us. We tried.
Movie stars pull feisty fans, too
Think music fans are the only ones who take their fandom too far? Think again. Pretty much everyone hates Justin Bieber, including Paul Walker fans. When news of Walker's death surfaced, so did a ton of wishful thinking.
Is there an answer to all of this? Not an easy one. Most importantly, we need to teach our kids to show respect and love, not hate. And, because we already know even cyberbullying can lead to tragically fatal results, we need to make kids aware that their worth is not gauged by a group of bullies on the internet, even if they think some of those bullies are their friends because they like the same music. Pulling tweens off social media would also drastically improve the situation, but we're not cruel enough to suggest that.