Zayn Malik, yes that guy formerly of One Direction, is being touted as something more than just a basic pop star.
That wasn’t the first time Zayn experienced this type of xenophobia in his career. In 2012, after The Telegraph declared that One Direction’s success hinged on the fact they were “clean cut, wholesome, whiter-than-white,” (which in itself is problematic), Zayn was accused of pimping Islam on people’s children through “boy band Jihad” by blogger Debbie Schlussel. In another stinging move, earlier this year, Bill Maher gleefully joked about the supposed likeness between him and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber. To most, these jokes are innocuous, but they are indicative of something far more nefarious: the synecdochic treatment of a marginalized people, a single person plucked to represent the entire group. No matter their fame, Muslim men are treated as second-class citizens.
The question becomes how a 22 year old deals with the complex emotions swirling around his own fame.
But it’s obvious that Zayn doesn’t want to be defined by his Muslim leanings or his Softboy ideals; he just wants to be a person who exists in his own impersonal limbo. He wants the chance to figure himself out, outside of the world that had been shaped for him; he wants “to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.” With his residue of softness, there is an irrevocable desire for truth and integrity: “I just need to be me now, because I’ve had enough.”
It’s an interesting exploration of a difficult subject. Read more on Medium.com here.