I wouldn't be telling you anything new by informing you of Zayn Malik's departure from the world famous One Direction. However, what has come to my attention is the return of self harming fans.
It certainly is a return, for a very similar thing happened in 2013 when it was discovered that Justin Bieber smoked weed. In response, fans were urged to cut themselves as a way of getting Justin Bieber to break such a habit. In this case, the self harming is supposed to be an attempt to get the singer to change his mind and not live the life he wants to live. For others, it's a way of proving just how devoted a fan they are and how they are more of a fan than anyone else because they are willing to do such a thing to themselves.
What is concerning about this is how self harming is starting to become fashionable amongst youngsters. Teenagers are harming themselves and posting photographs of the results on the internet, showing off what they have done. But in reality, self harming is a very serious issue related to illnesses such as depression. There are sufferers who hide both their physical and emotional scars from the world and try to struggle on through their personal problems alone.
How will they feel upon seeing how One Direction fans use what, for them is a coping mechanism for a serious illness, as an accessory?
Anger - yes. But fear also. Fear because self harm can be a cry for help for those who struggle to voice their emotional pain. But that meaning may be lost now that things such as this are occurring. They may fear that self harming may not be taken seriously anymore, that their silent cries for help will be seen as a silly symbol of devotion to a boy band.
It is worrying that this is at the stage of becoming a trend. Fans are trying to take control of artists through acts of protest that demean those who self harm because they generally need help.
So where has this trend come from? Did it happen when Robbie Williams left Take That? Did it happen when other bands such as NSync broke up? Not at all, but in the modern world, technology has advanced to a stage where obsession can thrive. You can listen to your favourite boy band on the radio, your iPod, your MP3 or CD player. You can watch them on YouTube, on television and on your phone or tablet. And finally you can follow them. Not just on tours, but on every social networking website available. Dare I mention the endless trail of merchandise that is available to acquire? Fans can live and breathe One Direction twenty-four hours a day if they wanted to. And they probably do. Which is what has lead to this downwards spiral of those who should be figures of support. They are now control figures that are going to extreme measures to get their way.
This situation is very dangerous. According to SelfharmUk, there was already a vast increase in figures with regards to members of the public self harming, 'In 2014, figures were published suggesting a 70% increase in 10-14 year olds attending A&E for self-harm related reasons over the preceding 2 years.'
If situations like this are not controlled and allowed to proceed, that figure will continue to rise.
It would be amazing if artists started a self harming awareness campaign. It would certainly reach out to the fans who have been convinced into acting in such a way. However, I honestly doubt such a thing would happen. If anything, the artists would have probably been advised to keep quiet, not respond neither positively nor negatively and just wait the problem out.
The remaining responsibility relies on social media sites removing content that encourages such behaviour, parents discussing sensitive topics such as this with their children and most importantly the fans themselves. The fans need to be responsible enough to look at these websites and ask themselves what it really proves. Would Zayn Malik really want his fans physically harmed? Do you want him to carry on living a life he isn't enjoying anymore for your own needs when you can listen to him or watch him online whenever you want?