How about we don’t pit women against each other over a man yet again?
In the aftermath of popular media’s latest example of pitting women against each other, let’s talk about Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber. In case you’re lucky enough to have not had this media firestorm cross your feed, let me catch you up.
Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber were an on-and-off again pop culture power couple from 2010 to 2018. Commonly referred to as “Jelena,” the couple was beloved by their separate (though mostly intersecting) young fanbases.
Both very successful young artists, they had a very public, difficult romance as they grew up together in the spotlight. However, six months after their final split, Justin announced his engagement to Hailey Baldwin.
Since then, Hailey has been labelled a mean, petty, obsessive, and crazed fangirl, while Selena has been picked apart all the same. Both women have had every social media post over-analyzed and have been accused of being shady towards the other.
Why, though? Why has the media hurled insult after insult at these women?
It all stems from two Instagram stories. Selena Gomez poked fun at herself over an Instagram story for accidentally over-laminating her eyebrows. Then, Kylie Jenner posted a close-up selfie captioned: “This was an accident??” followed by a screenshot of her and Hailey Bieber on FaceTime, showing only their eyebrows. This sparked outrage online and people quickly began to throw both Hailey and Selena in the ring.
Now, while there might be some validity to claims of Hailey Bieber being mean or petty towards her husband’s ex, it does not justify the onslaught of hate she’s received. Don’t get me wrong, when this drama initially surfaced, I was team Selena (who took a brief break from social media following this fiasco) all the way… that is until I saw just how awful people were treating Hailey, who took the brunt of it.
I myself got caught up in the TikTok edits and story after story, the rehashing of old posts that could’ve potentially been shade. But why is it that both Selena and Hailey were the ones being picked apart in the media? Aren’t we all forgetting the common denominator? Justin Bieber himself.
Now, Justin went through a notorious “bad boy” stage, collecting a fascinating range of crimes for his record. From drunk driving, resisting arrest and egging a neighbour’s house, to losing custody of an illegal pet monkey, it’s clear that he’s not the most mature partner to have. Obviously this is blatant immaturity, but easy to overlook in the grand scheme of things. What shouldn’t be overlooked though is Selena’s claim of emotional abuse. Selena admitted in an NPR interview that she was emotionally abused in her past relationship. “I think that it’s something that — I had to find a way to understand it as an adult,” she said.
Selena has spoken openly about her struggles with mental health since cutting her Revival tour short due to both medical and psychological reasons in 2016. She now runs a highly successful company, Rare Beauty, as well as being both an executive producer and lead actress in the hit show Only Murders In The Building. So, clearly she came out the other side for the better.
Hailey is also a success in her own right. Previous to her marriage, she had a booked and busy modelling career, working on campaigns for major labels like Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and more. She now owns her own skincare company Rhode and has recently premiered her new cooking show What’s In My Kitchen? So again, she is an independently successful woman being dragged down by her husband.
Also, a quick question: when was the last time Justin did anything noteworthy?
Hailey, however, is now the next victim to the “Peaches” singer’s immaturity, with video after video surfacing of Justin either being annoyed by or completely indifferent to his wife’s presence. For example, there’s a video of him closing a car door in her face as they both try to get out on the same side of the car. He may have matured, just not that much. When being asked by a fan what he does on a regular day he answered: “When I’m with my wife, we like to… You guys can guess what we do. It gets pretty crazy… that’s pretty much all we do,” revealing details of their intimate life.
Neither woman has openly attacked the other; still, we pit them against each other because of the one thing they have in common: a man.
Selena recently stepped in, posting to her Instagram story saying “Hailey Bieber reached out to me and let me know that she has been receiving death threats and such hateful negativity. This isn’t what I stand for. Nobody should have to experience hate of bullying.”
So, here we are, right after Women’s History Month, continuing to judge women because of their association with a man, instead of judging the man himself. So, if you ask me, I’d say I’m not team Selena or team Hailey, but rather team not absolving men of responsibility.