By: Grace Wennerberg
March 21st, 2023
The notorious pop star couple Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez captured the hearts of thousands of fans when they debuted their public relationship in 2012. Despite only officially dating for a year, their on again off again relationship was a hot topic in the tabloids up until 2017 when the couple called it quits.
In the midst of their messy long-running relationship, Bieber had multiple flings with socialite and model Hailey Baldwin, which created a love triangle between the three celebrities. When Bieber and Baldwin abruptly tied the knot in 2018, “Jelena” superfans were not ready to let the iconic celebrity relationship they once knew and loved come to an end.
After being married for a couple of years, Justin and Hailey seemed to be in a happy marriage and “Jelena” was no longer in the tabloids. Only days after the start of 2023, drama between Hailey and Selena started circulating the internet.
It all started with Gomez posting a TikTok mimicking a popular audio saying “My name…My name is Bella Hadid” captioning the video “I wish I was as pretty as Bella Hadid.” Gomez then posted another TikTok shortly after showing her over-laminated eyebrows poking fun at her appearance.
The same day, just three hours later, socialite Kylie Jenner, posted a screenshot of her on facetime with Hailey showcasing their eyebrows that appeared to be laminated. The Instagram story of the two socialite friends captioned “This was an accident?????” was interpreted as a jab at Gomez, as she was just online laughing about her laminated brows.
A day after Jenner and Hailey Bieber were accused of shading Gomez, Jenner lost over one million Instagram followers. With Jenner’s plummet in followers, Gomez reclaimed her title of the most followed woman on Instagram with 401 million followers.
Shortly after this achievement, Gomez announced that she would be taking a break from social media in a TikTok saying “I love who I am, and yeah, I’m going to be taking a second from social media ’cause this is a little silly,” she told her fans. “And I’m 30, I’m too old for this. But I love you guys so much and I will see you guys sooner than later.”
Fans of Gomez quickly jumped online to back up the music star while simultaneously dragging Baldwin for being a “mean girl”. The drama provoked Selena fans to take a deep dive into Baldwin’s past, and of course the love triangle that captivated millions of fans in the 2010s.
Videos of Baldwin’s past rude behavior and stalker-like infatuation with both Bieber and Gomez flooded the internet birthing #TeamSelena. The majority of social media users have been siding with Gomez and ridiculing Bieber and Baldwin’s marriage.
Gomez and Baldwin’s personal lives have been exposed amidst the internet drama. As Baldwin continues getting dragged through the media, one key player in the love triangle has stayed silent.
Justin Bieber, whose name hardly appears in the media as the scandal unfolds, has not publicly defended his wife. Bieber’s radio silence has only caused Gomez fans to rekindle rumors of “Jelena,” escalating the Instagram beef.
It may seem like Justin Bieber has been exempt from the spotlight on Gomez and Baldwin because celebrity love triangle gossip has been around for decades. From Princess Diana, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowls to Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, these relationships may have been in different decades, but they all have one thing in common. In every public love triangle, there are typically two women “fighting” over the same man and one woman is painted as “the other woman” while the man is left out of the tabloids.
Perhaps this modern day depiction of women in the media stems from the long history of objectifying women. Especially in films, female characters are often created for the male gaze. Whether it is a Disney character with a perfect hourglass figure playing the sidekick or a photoshopped celebrity, females are not fairly depicted in the media.
Actress Greena Davis shared her perspective as a woman in the entertainment industry and how she feels compared to her male counterparts.
In an interview with Forbes, Davis stated, “That’s what the media, entertainment, and advertising have tended to portray. There have been far fewer opportunities for females and other groups to play different characters.
Instead, the woman has often been the girlfriend or the wife of the lead character. This was sending a message to everyone in society that women had less value”
The media’s long standing unrealistic and sexist portrayal of women has shaped the way society talks about female individuals. While male celebrities are seen as dominant, powerful and uninvolved in drama, female celebrities are seen as inferior and often deemed problematic when Hollywood scandals erupt.
As the internet continues to swirl with Gomez and Baldwin drama, Bieber remains unscathed. It is undoubtedly tempting to become invested in the glamorous lives of celebrities.
It’s often entertaining to watch their seemingly unattainable lives from afar, but exposing the personal lives of Gomez and Baldwin only furthers the notion of the “other woman” and antagonizes women in the media. When the next Hollywood scandal unfolds, remember to humanize celebrities, especially women.
Grace Wennerberg is a junior studying professional and public writing with a minor in graphic design, and aspires to work as a writer and designer in the fashion industry. In her free time, Grace enjoys twirling baton, binge watching “That 70s show,” and visiting her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.