One Direction is undeniably adorable.
And, actually, they're also super homoerotic.
And their concerts are chock-full of them caressing each other and singing to each other:
They play it up for interviews:
And Liam Payne sports a pretty gay ensemble, acting as a choreographer who prances around in a pink headband.
And then there's that whole thing where Zayn is in drag.
Harry and Zayn have a lot of chemistry throughout.
And this also happens.
One Direction has been challenging our ideas of masculinity for a while. They are extremely non-threatening.
They seem more preoccupied with each other than with getting lots of girls to like them.
Justin Bieber, however, is promoted as sexier and more dangerous.
But One Direction gets their fans from being cute, and, often, un-manly.
And it's worked before -- The Beatles also engaged in the same sort of touchy, goofy camaraderie, although it was much more tame.
Their movies, which are still considered classics of some sort, are heartwarming to watch because they're full of these four boys simply playing with each other.
And they were similarly the opposite of macho:
And remember My Chemical Romance?
They know it works.
Their affection for each other, their gentleness, allows us to be charmed rather than intimidated. We become fascinated but not scared or disgusted, and it's (clearly) very effective.