Why Are So Many Grown-Ass Men Obsessed With Zayn Malik?

As the ex-Directioner releases Pillow Talk, The Debrief reports on a Malik's Men, the unlikely new fandom.

Why Are So Many Grown-Ass Men Obsessed With Zayn Malik?

by Jess Commons |
Published on

'Happy Zayn Malik single release day!' Nope, this was not a tweet from an overexcited teen who woke up to find that the ex-Directioner's single Pillow Talk was finally out. Instead, this was an unprompted text from a wholly together, grown-up, 28-year-old man, sent to his similarly stable and together 29-year-old girlfriend. Meet the unlikely new fandom for 2016; Malik's Men.

Over the last few months, as One Direction have waned and ex-member Zayn Malik has been on the rise, there's been a niche but growing interest in the 23-year-old singer, specifically from twenty-something men who, previous to Zayn's attempt at Timberlaking, couldn't name but one member of One Direction, except for Harry Styles.

Now though, there's an army of 'Malik's Men' walking amongst us. Perhaps you've noticed one of your male friends nodding admirably over your shoulder as you scroll through Zayn's Instagram or, perhaps it was your usually celeb-illiterate boyfriend who first alerted you to the fact that 'hot new couple' Zayn Malik and supermodel Gigi Hadid were supposedly house hunting in New York a few months back. Either way, Millenial men are into Zayn in a big way.

So, what is the big draw to the unassuming popstar from Bradford? In the Huffington Post this week, writer Daniel Welsh penned a very well argued ode to Zayn, 'Scouring the current pop scene, it's clearly the women who are ruling the show.' He writes, before lamenting that the guys just 'aren't cutting it at the moment', citing Sam Smith's 'pouting' and Ed Sheeran's unlikely popstar look as examples. 'Zayn is the first guy to come along in a long time, who actually seems as though he gets what it takes to be a properly decent, worldwide popstar.' He says. 'He's been linked with Gigi Hadid, one of the most famous young women in America right now. And, perhaps most crucially of all, he's already had an array of really good hairstyles, in the space of a few short months. If that's not the signs of a man who "gets it", show me what is.'


There seems to be an overriding feeling amongst Malik's Men that Zayn exudes an air of normalcy. 'He doesn't look as dickish as the rest of them.' Says Alistair, 28. 'You could have a pint and he'd be cool with that. I couldn't imagine ringing up Harry and him being like "Sound, I'll meet you at Wetherspoons in 20"'. Sam, 23, agrees. 'Zayn Malik has somehow - after half a decade of being in the most famous band on Earth - managed to remain an intact, normal-ish bloke.'

To us girls, well versed in the rags-to-riches aesthetic journey individuals must take once they become popstars, and looking at Zayn's expensive clothes, well-manicured eyebrows, deliberate and well-placed tattoos, 'normal' isn't the word that springs to mind but it's clear from these comments that Millienial men have found in the popstar a certain level of relatibility. He is a kindred spirit to act as their representative in the female-focussed celebrity world. One Direction, although male, were clearly marketed at girls. On the other hand Zayn, in his new guise, is in control of his new direction and seems unconcerned with capitalising on the cash-rich teenage girl market. In crass terms; he's less of a sell out. 'I just respect him for leaving a crappy, poppy boy band and doing his own thing. He's his own man you know... not a sheep,' says Joe, 27. Ben, 28, agrees; 'He looked like he hated it but put on a smile. Then he left just to smoke weed and roll around which is hilarious.'

Perhaps Millenial men champion Zayn because they themselves feel compromised in their daily lives. Generation Y are struggling to keep up with Generation X; rising house prices, a changing job landscape and a shift in what consititutes a 'normal' family set-up means that many of us are struggling to understand just what it means to be 'make it' in 2016. Unable to take the traditional route of settling down and having children by a pre-approved age has left many of us panicking, settling to live by the ethos 'fake it till you make it', ie. pretending you've got a handle on everything that's happening in your life until you finally get to a point where everything slots into place. Which is exactly what Zayn did. After gritting his teeth through five years of performing pre-choreographed dance routines to maniacal fans, making music he wasn't particularly proud of, he's now finally in control of his own destiny.

Of course all of this is pure speculation. Millenial men might just think Zayn looks cool, something there's plenty of evidence for too. 'His white hair is amazing' says Ben. Olly, 25, goes one step further. 'He always looks fucking cool.' He says. 'No matter what he is doing.'

There's also, obviously, the small matter of Zayn's much-envied supermodel girlfriend, Gigi Hadid, who, despite hailing from the exotic and far off climes of Los Angeles, has been pictured wearing a Bradford City FC top; courtesy of her new boyfriend. 'I mean he got his girlfriend to wear a City shirt,' Says Joe, 25. 'Hero, absolute hero.'

For whatever reason, the popstar has struck a chord with Millenial men. Something that's nice to see, and, if we're being honest, is faintly adorable. Lusting after celebrities is something women have been encouraged to do their whole lives so watching Malik's Men get in on the game is a satisfying pasttime. Especially since Zayn seems like such a nice enough chap. Says Sam, 'He just wants to buy nice clothes, smoke a little weed, date a model and not have to worry about 14 year old girls breaking into his house and killing him with selfies.' See? Normal.

Zayn's new fandom is firmly in place.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

Zayn Malik Gives Candid Interview. Talks About Perrie and Liam.

Zayn Malik ‘Fully Liberated’ By New Music

Zayn Malik’s Dating Gigi Hadid, Mate Of Taylor, Enemy Of Harry

Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_commons

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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