Model Emma Ostilly quit Twitter this weekend.
That sentence probably doesn’t mean anything to you, unless you follow the love life of boybanders. Ostilly is reportedly dating Harry Styles, a member of the extremely popular British-Irish group One Direction.
Like Selena Gomez before her, Ostilly was sent some hateful tweets after paparazzi photos of Ostilly and Styles kissing were published online. According to Gossip Cop, this led her to leave the site all together.
Again we see, it’s hard to be a pop star’s rumored girlfriend.
For a guy like Styles this sort of devotion is a double-edged sword. Like Justin Bieber, One Direction needs an obsessive fan base to buy tickets and scream really loudly outside the “Today” show.
But, since the beginning of fandom, famous teens’ love lives are subjected to a huge amount of scrutiny, leaving them with almost no privacy. I mean, the poor Biebs can’t eat a Subway sandwich with his girl without being photographed.
Now in the age of the Internet, fans can anonymously call people like Ostilly terrible names without suffering any consequences.
Fellow One Directioner Louis Tomlison expressed his frustration with this phenomenon over the weekend when a Twitter trend about his ex-girlfriend popped up. He tweeted, “Truth of the matter is its actually not funny in the slightest. I'm reading through some horrible tweets very [ticked] off!”
But the nastiness isn’t reserved for actual love interests. A radio station secretary in Sydney recently told The Daily Telegraph that she received frightening Facebook messages after a member of One Direction asked for her number on air.
“By the end of the day it got a bit too scary,” Anna Crotti told The Daily Telegraph. “I didn't even want to walk home. It was so intense.”
Dr. Andrea Bonior — a psychologist, author of “The Friendship Fix” and a Washington Post Express columnist — told Celebritology via e-mail that “social media does seem to have desensitized us a bit to harsh, aggressive speech.”
“Essentially, the anonymity and immediacy of the Internet can take away the filters that people might otherwise have had in more direct forms of personal communication. So, it becomes a vicious cycle — the more incivility we see, the less sensitive we are to it, and the more we are likely to get caught up in the moment and join in ourselves,” Bonior, who has previously contributed to Celebritology, said. “Add that to the intensity of adolescent emotions — and the fact that people have immediate access to celebrities and their partners via Twitter like never before — and here come the fireworks!”
Still, like the people who didn’t know the sinking of the Titanic was a real event, we shouldn’t assume those who would say hateful things represent a majority of One Direction’s fans. While there is now a terrible Facebook group called “I Hate Emma Ostilly,” it only has 95 members. Considering that the group’s debut album sold 176,000 copies in its first week of release in the United States, I think we can say these people are the minority.
Indeed, others are urging their compatriots to chill out, lest they give the entire fanbase a bad name:
“If your a true directioner, you'll respect they need their time with friends/family/girlfriends, so respect this,” tweeted Sammy Stypahorlikson.