This is an editorial article, and therefore, represents the opinions of the writer.
Recently, One Direction fans, also known as Directioners, trended #LarryStylinson on Twitter to commemorate the relationship between Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles that they have theorized about for years.
Thousands of tweets surfaced from Directioners excitedly speaking of the bandmates, sharing video edits and compilations. A large number of fans responded positively to the hashtag, commenting how happy they were for the “couple.” However, people outside of the fanbase responded negatively to the whole ordeal, voicing their discomfort at seeing the large amount of fetishization and overall delusion that was being seen mostly by straight teenage girls.
“Right then why is this fetishy stuff trending in 2020,” said Twitter user @lgbtlupin. “I thought we knew better than to ship real people.”
Shipping, or wanting two individuals to be together, has always been a huge part of fan culture; from fanfiction to fanart, content can be found on every platform. However, when they involve real people, it can become very toxic and can potentially ruin relationships. Some Directioners are opposed to shipping because of this and do their best to shut down any toxicity.
“Why is #LarryStylinson trending?” said Twitter user @miraannet. “Y’all ruined their friendship over this.”
Other cases where shipping has gone too far involves K-pop fans on Twitter, specifically BTS fans, also known as ARMY. The two opposing ships, Vmin (members Taehyung and Jimin) and Taekook (members Taehyung and Jungkook), are always arguing on which one is real and which one is not, going as far as exhibiting “proof.” Usually when fans are called out on this type of behavior, they respond aggressively or simply ignore the fact that they are blatantly contributing to the fetishization of gay men.
“I tried calling out a het Wattpad ARMY for saying that they like reading BTS gay smuts,” said Twitter user @milfkoo69. “And they called me homophobic.”
Fans of any sort need to realize that gay men are not their “boy toys” or that they cannot forge a relationship between two real people. Sexualizing someone or using someone as a fetish for your sexual desires is not correct and it should not be as normalized as it is today. This is a problem that has been happening for a very long time, and it must be stopped before it reaches a worse stage.