Zayn Malik: People ‘expect’ to hear women (not men) talk about anxiety issues

Kourtney Kardashian at the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons, Cilve Davis Party in LA

Zayn Malik is still around. I would argue that Zayn seems to be the most successful One Direction guy, post-1D. Part of that success is, frankly, because he’s Gigi Hadid’s boyfriend. I know, I know, the 1Ders are going to yell at me for that. But I stand by it. While tweens and maybe teens felt strongly about Zayn before Gigi, it was Zayn’s relationship with Gigi that took him next-level, from tween-fans to adult fans. It changed the nature of his fanbase and how he’s covered in the media. All of which to say… I don’t mind when Zayn and Gigi mention each other in interviews. They’re young and in love. Let them have their fun! Anyway, Zayn sat down for a profile in this past weekend’s The Sunday Times Style, and Zayn said words about Gigi, his anxiety issues and his eating disorder. Some highlights:

On Gigi: “I call her Gee, she calls me Zee,. There’s some other nicknames too, but I’ll keep those private.”

He surprised her for Paris Fashion Week. “She didn’t know I was coming. I went up to the suite to knock on the door…But my number had changed to European on her phone, so it wasn’t much of a surprise in the end. She played along with it, though.”

Talking publicly about anxiety: “People saw strength in that, and they didn’t seem to expect it from a guy, but they expect it from a female, which to me is crazy. We’re all human. People are often afraid to admit difficulties, but I don’t believe that there should be a struggle with anything that’s the truth.”

An issue with eating: “It wasn’t specifically an eating disorder… It was a control thing. Every area of my life was so regimented and controlled [the boys in 1D would sometimes have to go straight from playing a stadium to recording new material in the evening], it was the one area where I could say, ‘No, I’m not eating that.’ Once I got over the control, the eating just came back into place, super naturally. Not supernaturally! Just really naturally. I came back to the UK and spent some time with my mum and got some TLC, and she cooked me food and I got back in touch, mentally, with a lot of the things I’d lost.”

Working on his second album: “They always say the second album is difficult, but so far I’m really happy with this one,” he says of the untitled effort due out later this year. “There are real signs of growth and development. Hopefully, as a human being, I’m growing too, in my knowledge and perception.”

[From Billboard & People]

Gee and Zee? That’s sort of cute. I was expecting more, and now I want to know their private nicknames for each other. I also thought this was an interesting comment: “People saw strength in that, and they didn’t seem to expect it from a guy, but they expect it from a female, which to me is crazy.” That’s very true – it’s unusual for a man to come out and talk about emotional and psychological stress, anxiety and depression. We do expect it more from a woman. Although I’ll say this too – when men do come forward, their psychological admissions are treated more respectfully in the press most of the time and frankly, men’s words are given more authority overall. Which isn’t to say that’s on Zayn – it’s interesting to me that he would even point out the double standard being applied to him, honestly.

Gigi Hadid & Zayn Malik Out For Dinner In Paris

Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

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26 Responses to “Zayn Malik: People ‘expect’ to hear women (not men) talk about anxiety issues”

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  1. QQ says:

    UM “it was Zayn’s relationship with Gigi that took him next-level, from tween-fans to adult fans. It changed the nature of his fanbase and how he’s covered in the media.” – Nope It was his Cd actually being Lots of Bops and high key amazing that changed how he is Covered and got him me and almost all my adult ass friends to get into his music.. the face kept us there though… and for people in the gossip business is not like they weren’t talking about him with the shady deal with the ex gf.. come on now! That said I very much like what he said about anxiety, is good for young men to have the option to be vulnerable/neurotic without getting any type of crap for it

    • Asiyah says:

      YES! It may not have been a huge commercial hit but I was very impressed with his album. For a guy who was singing the type of music he was singing with 1D (I won’t knock it, they had some catchy stuff) I found his first shot at a solo album to be good.

      I also like what he said about anxiety and agree with him. Especially as a man of color, it’s difficult to even admit to anxiety, let alone talk about it. I’m not Pakistani but I’m Dominican and it’s practically the same attitude: men don’t get anxiety, and when women do, it should all be cured by a boyfriend. Reminds me of a meme I saw the other day about what it’s like to tell your Latino parents about anxiety and it was a guy hugging a wall lol. I laugh because I totally relate. My Iraqi husband does too.

      • QQ says:

        100% Cosign to everything you said.. to me his music left me impressed cause who knew he had them chops and that POV that stuff is all very deliberate non meandering *I’m looking at Drake and his fellow 22+ tracks album releasers!*

        AND YES TO TELLING LATINA MOM A MENTAL HEALTH BASED ISSUE!, ANY ISSUE! so yeah both his culture and mine and yours a prime isn’t placed on that or speaking about it, much less one so young, cause let’s face it, Children? for my Old Country parents.. As a matter of fact I leave you with what philosophy we were parented: Children talk when Hens pee ( Plot twist : Hens don’t Pee)

      • Asiyah says:

        Muchacha, that saying always cracked me up. I’d say well they poop and pee simultaneously and keep on talking LOL

    • Adriana says:

      I totally agree. I got into him after seeing him on Fallon when he sang It’s You, afterwards I bought his CD and really liked it. And many people I know did too.
      Gigi’s number of IG followers doubled during the year that followed their hook up. She’s the person with the highest IG follower increase in 2016. So let’s not pretend she didn’t also benefit from their relationship.

      • QQ says:

        Adriana with the Receipts!… in fact doesn’t he have little social media activity himself/doesnt post about her like that.. so who benefited from who here?…

    • Veronica says:

      I think his relationship with Hadid definitely helped shift his image from “boybander” to “adult male singer” in a way that might have required more PR effort otherwise, but his album is really good. I still have a lot of the songs on my iPhone playlist.

  2. Nicole says:

    Its good he’s speaking out but I find him and Gigi incredibly vapid and idiotic so….

    and I guess he is the most famous but its not because of his music which lets be real has not been the hits they expected. I’ll wait to see if Harry’s acting career takes off

    • TheOtherOne says:

      Thank you. He is reaching overexposure for being everything BUT a musician. He is designing a clothing line, writing a book, but when are you actually performing?? Ugh.

      • Adriana says:

        He’s got a new song out with PARTYNEXTDOOR this week or next week. And a new album this year.
        He’s diversifying in fashion and possibly TV because he was unable to perform due to anxiety. So he can make money and keep making music while getting treatment for it.

      • Veronica says:

        In fairness, that’s where most of the money is professionally. Most album sale revenue goes to the record company – hence why the big names almost always have a massive advertisement portfolio.

  3. Janet says:

    Gigi did not give him that boost that enabled him to gain a new adult fanbase. Personally, it was the moment i heard Pillow Talk and was pleasantly surprised at the RnB feel of it when i was expecting some pop-boy band type of music. And the rest of the album was an easy listen too. Don’t try to take away from his hard work and talent.

  4. Alleycat says:

    To be fair, the rest of the 1D boys haven’t released a solo album yet. I find Zayn and Gigi so cringe, because they literally talk about each other in every damn interview, and it’s always about vapid stuff. It’s hard not to think that they’re only with each other because they’re both attractive and they get free press when they’re together.

  5. INeedANap says:

    He uses “guys” but then uses “females”. Referring to human women solely by the biological descriptor for our sex will never not be gross and disrespectful. Dismissed.

  6. Veronica says:

    He sounds a little more mature here than some of his previous work, so maybe he’s settling into his role a little better? I always feel like young men front arrogance to hide insecurity.

    On a side note, dramatic or otherwise, they are one VERY good looking couple.

  7. Shijel says:

    This guy’s got a lot of ‘bro douche’ to unfold and iron out, but it seems that he isn’t a complete moron. And honey…. at least restrictive type eating disorders ARE a control thing. Source: this woman over here with a history of anorexia and later binge eating disorder. It blows.

    • Nina says:

      I’m a former anorexic turned BED-er, too. BED isn’t something that gets talked about much with regards to mainstream coverage of EDs, unfortunately.

  8. Adam says:

    I have a male friend suffering from depression who went to his GP for treatment (in Ireland). He told me his GP didn’t want to give him drug treatment, he more or less told him to soldier on, that he didn’t really need it. His GP was from an older generation, luckily things are changing. And as Zayn says “it’s crazy to me”, because suicide rates are higher among younger men.

  9. me says:

    No please don’t give Gigi credit for Zayn’s popularity. He was the fav member of 1D for many girls. His solo album (which was good) made him a solo star. He was dating someone else when that all happened. So nope, Gigi does not get a pat on the shoulder for Zayn still being talked about. His talent and looks are what keep him around.

    • Mika says:

      I know right. If going out with Gigi was enough, Joe Jonas and Cody Simpson would’ve been bigger. His looks, talent and being the ex member of the biggest boy band contributed a lot more than she did.

  10. LittleTiny says:

    I didn’t like Zayn while he was with One Direction but I have to admit I don’t mind him now. He’s becoming a little more interesting.

  11. Bubbles says:

    I think what he said was insightful and mature for a young man of his age. No shade here.