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One Direction fandom heaps sexist backlash on one of their own at AMAs

Woman Smiling

She was a major fanfic writer, but now the fandom hates her.

A member of the One Direction fandom stole the show at last night’s American Music Awards (AMAs), but not for the reason you might expect.

Anna Todd is a Directioner who shot to fame when her hit Wattpad 1D fanfic “After” scored a major publishing deal. Last night, she was the trending target of ridicule as One Direction fans took to social media to attack her appearance at the AMAs. The most common criticisms from her fellow fans included threats of violence and body-shaming.

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On Wattpad, the “After” series scored millions of readers, but despite ample amounts of advance publicity buzz, so far sales have been abysmal. Four weeks after publication, the first book currently clocks in at below #10,000 on the Amazon bestsellers list. 

The lack of support for the fic-turned-novel series is perhaps due to the contentious subject of profiting from fanfiction. This is a controversial issue in the best of cases, but in the case of “After,” what complicated matters was that, in its unpublished fic form, the story centered around 1D member Harry Styles. “After,” often-compared to Fifty Shades of Grey because of its romanticization of domestic abuse, apparently alienated fans who felt Todd first mischaracterized Styles, then exploited that characterization in order to profit from fandom.

Still, despite “After’s” lackluster performance, Todd snagged a red-carpet appearance at the American Music Awards alongside One Direction themselves. This left plenty of openings for the 1D fandom to get vicious and snarky in their attacks on Todd—and they did. 

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Many of the tweets used typical Directioner-speak—namely, sarcasm and violence.

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Some tweets held a nasty undercurrent of sexism, as fans lined up to shame Todd for her appearance:

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The mostly-female One Direction fandom has a problematic history of hurling misogynist abuse. While Directioners’ hyperbolic language can be a form of empowerment when it’s directed at the media and other shamers of teenage girls, these fans are also experts at redirecting that violence back at fellow fangirls.

In Anna Todd’s case, her transition from celebrated fangirl to published professional appears to removed her from fan culture and made her a target for scorn. 

Still, there were plenty of fans lining up to caution each other not to let their anger at Todd turn sexist:

Todd herself was excited about the evening, tweeting pictures from the ceremony and brushing off the hate.

But the evening made one thing clear: when it comes to fandom drama, Directioners deserve an award.

Photo via free_2_luv/Twitter

Aja Romano

Aja Romano

Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.