you and your love affair with karaoke

What Would Harry Do? (Imagine where Harry reads the 5SOS Rolling Stone article and then rants to you about misogyny)

You open the door to find Harry sprawled out on the couch, limbs splayed in a ridiculous manner under an old blanket, and you’re just about to mock him when he lets out a frustrated sigh. “They’ve fucked it all up, (Y/N), and I’m not quite sure what to make of it.”
“What’re you on about?” you ask him, before noticing the Rolling Stone magazine in his hands. “Oh! Are you reading the article about Calum and them? How is it?”
“They sound really entitled and misogynistic, and I’m just not sure what’s going to come of it.”
“What do you mean? Give me something to go off of, here!”
Harry somehow disentangles himself from the ratty afghan and stands, and you can tell that he’s about to read you the entire thing, punctuated by exasperated hand gestures and emphatic pauses. “Don’t worry,” he smirks, seeing on your face that you’re preparing for a full-on reenactment. “I’ll summarize.”
He cocks his eyebrows and strolls to the kitchen door, only to walk back into the living room: “the scene opens. Luke shows up late to an interview in his underwear.” Harry angrily imitates Luke, “‘ugh…sorry I showed up late to this interview in my own house. I’m soooooooo hungover.’”
“Ok…so it’s not in the best taste,” you start, trying to give the boys the benefit of the doubt.
“but NOW,” Harry continues, “we have Calum pouring bourbon into his coke like a middle aged alcoholic, and then they just proceed to shit on everyone at the American Music Awards, internet personalities, Nick Jonas, and like all of their fans.”

“Yikes,” you mutter after fully processing the gravity of what you’ve just heard. You can’t really help the boys out of that mess.

“The worst is when they talk about the fans, though… (Y/N), it kills me to hear them equate the increasing ratio of guys to girls at their shows to some measure of growing success. They talk about how they’re not a ‘real’ band if only girls like them!”

You can’t believe that the boys would be so cavalier about their female fans, especially after gaining so much fame from their tour with One Direction. Though you’ve seen Harry struggle with having a large proportion of young girls in his fan base, you’ve also seen how seriously Harry takes that responsibility. He may not censor the content of his interviews, and he sometimes switches out lyrics for some inappropriate choice words during tours, but he actively tries to respect women, and conveys that with his words and actions.

“And Michael, poor Michael. First, his depression is relegated to 4 sentences before basically portraying partying as a healthy way to deal with mental illness! And then they talk about how fucking flaky he is, which basically equates flakiness to depression and portrays it as a character flaw rather than him just doing his best to cope with a literal illness.”

Despite this horrible turn of events, you smile to yourself. After years of hearing you wax poetic about the stigmatization of mental illness in media, Harry’s taken it upon himself to champion yet another worthy cause.

He waves the magazine around angrily, continuing: “And then, when you think it can’t get any worse, THEY DRAG NIALL INTO THEIR MESS! They talk about how they partied with Niall at all hours of the morning, and about how Josh from Twenty One Pilots got Michael a fleshlight for his birthday. We get it, you’re young and crazy and horny and whatever, but be careful how you paint that shit…”

“In their defense, Haz, Rolling Stone seems out for blood,” you counter, noting the inflammatory nature of the article. “They don’t exactly censor themselves in conversation, and they’re pretty new to all of this.”

“That’s definitely fair, (Y/N), but they’re essentially validating all of the bullshit that we’ve dealt with for the past 5 years! They’ve just fucked it up for all of us- I work so hard to combat society’s idea of me as a womanizer, and then these little shits have to brag about sleeping with two women in one night? We’ve toured with them! We’re associated with them! I’m not so much worried about our reputation as how our fans will take all of this. I just don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

“Synopsis: partying is super cool, women are walking vaginas to be objectified at our will, women aren’t actually people, depression is a character flaw… Luke’s a dick, Calum’s an alcoholic, I don’t even know what Ashton’s doing, and Michael just seems sad about it all.”

“There was good stuff, but it was all just overshadowed by that initial bullshit. They lauded Ashton for being so protective of Michael, and some other stuff is ok, but they barely say anything nice about their fans. Their fans, who are really going to internalize all of this problematic shit about women and partying and mental illness.”

“Haz, I know you’re mad, and you’re right, but they didn’t write the article. They definitely fucked up, but just think about all of the things that you’ve said that have been taken out of context! Every time you pat Louis on the back, people conspire about your secret, gay love affair! After the carpool karaoke video, fans SWORE that James would replace Zayn as the fifth member of One Direction before sacking the hiatus and going on a surprise tour.”

Harry’s eyes go dark at the mention of James, which is definitely different from the usual mischievous gleam. “Fucking James, JAMES! I forgot about James! Apparently he made fun of Michael and got him really upset when they were filming their promo. I just can’t tell what of that is true and what of it is Rolling Stone trying to make a mess.”

“Calum and Luke are only 19, and I know that isn’t an excuse, but they’re entitled to their mistakes. Remember when Louis and Zayn made a video of themselves smoking a joint? That wasn’t the best move, either, but you’ve forgiven them, and so have your fans.”

“I know that you’re right, I just really need some time. I’ll forgive them, and so will their fans, but something needs to be done. About them, or Rolling Stone, or something? It’s just not ok to talk about people like that!” He slumps down to the ground and leans his head on your lap in a huff.

You work through his tangled curls with your hands, tracing soothing circles into his scalp. “It’s ok, Haz.”
“Why can’t people just be good to one another?” he murmurs into your lap, shifting his head to look up at you expectantly.
“All you can do is keep being good, love. Sometimes, that’s all you can do.”
He closes his eyes in response, pressing your hand to his cheek. “That’s all I want to do. Just, make good music and make people happy.”
“You’re doing that. Seriously! That’s what One Direction does for people!”
He opens his eyes, and the mischievous spark is back. “If that’s what boy bands do, then fuck it. I’m in a boy band, and proud of it!”