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Image / Agenda / Image Writes

Forget Bieber v Gomez, we should be lifting women up, not tearing them down


By Sarah Finnan
24th Mar 2023

IG: @selenagomez

Forget Bieber v Gomez, we should be lifting women up, not tearing them down

The online obsessed with all things Selena Gomez, Hailey Bieber and their supposed “feud” seems like it's never going to die down… but why are we pitting women against each other when we should be focusing on lifting each other up instead? 

There’s a complex dynamic to the relationship between Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber, one that has been well documented online – be that in TikTok videos, in long convoluted Twitter threads or in clickbait tabloid articles. Rumours about whether they do or don’t hate each other have always existed, most of them fuelled by the sole fact that one of them used to date Justin Bieber and the other is now married to him. Seems like a fairly fraught connection to hinge a fixation on if you ask me, but here we are.

The latest development? Selena posted to her Instagram story to let her followers know that Hailey had reached out to her, and that she condemns the negativity being hurled in her direction. Her exact words were: “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. No one should have to experience hate or bullying. I’ve always advocated for kindness and really want this all to stop,” the black screen frame read.

By far Gomez’s most forceful acknowledgement and response to the ongoing discourse surrounding her and her so-called arch nemesis, the singer, actress, producer, and now most followed woman on Instagram also reportedly followed Hailey on Instagram as a mark of her support.

Last September, Hailey tried to put the “feud” speculation to rest once and for all, when she told Call Her Daddy podcast host, Alex Cooper, that it was “all love” between her and Gomez. In October, the two posed for photos together at an event and it seemed like all really was well. But things took a turn again recently when a now-viral TikTok video claims Kylie Jenner made fun of Selena Gomez’s eyebrows and somehow, Hailey Bieber was in on it. 

Let’s debrief:

This all started when Gomez posted a video to her Instagram stories about her newly laminated brows. The end result wasn’t exactly what she anticipated and the singer jokingly told fans that getting her eyebrows done had not gone to plan. Hours later, Jenner supposedly posted a selfie with the text “That was an accident?” over her brows. Suspicious or coincidental? That depends on who you ask, but many think the former given that Gomez had surpassed Jenner as the most-followed woman on Instagram (with over 380 million followers). 

In the next story, Jenner posted a close-up of Hailey’s eyebrows, with another selfie of herself in the corner… which, naturally, led fans to believe that Kylie was stirring the pot and this was further “proof” of ongoing beef between Bieber and Gomez. 

@devotedly.yoursI could be reaching, but it definitely feels like Kylie Jenner’s IG stories were towards Selena Gomez. Especially the screenshot of her facetime call with Hailey Bieber. This feels very HS? original sound – Nuha

Jenner later addressed the speculation, commenting on the viral video that the public’s theories were a stretch. “This is reaching. No shade towards Selena ever and I didn’t see her eyebrow posts! U guys are making something out of nothing. This is silly.”  Gomez later responded to Kylie’s comment, writing, “Agreed. It’s all unnecessary. I’m a fan of Kylie!”

Selena subsequently told fans that she would be taking a break from social media for a little while, but that was short-lived and she reactivated her TikTok just hours later.

@duckcopycat0 Esto es Hailey ? Bieber??? #haileybieber #taylorswift #obssessed #selenator #selenators #jelena #haileycopycat #exposing #rarebeautyblush #jaileyisfake #taylena #haileyisobsessedwithselena #haileyduck #kyliejenner #haileycopyselena #rarebeauty #swiftie #cardigantrend #haileycopysel #selenagomez #selenator #cancelhaileybieber #exposinghaileybaldwin #taylorsversion #haileyduckwin ? Karma – Taylor Swift

Hailey has kept mute on the situation, but the controversy continues to follow her and a resurfaced clip of her allegedly dissing Taylor Swift (Selena Gomez’s bestie) has only added further fuel to the fire. Comments under her new Vogue Australia cover shoot have been turned off on Instagram, but many of the Aussie magazine’s most recent posts have been flooded with the hashtag “#cancelhaileybieber” in response to the drama.  

It seems that Selena and JB stans simply can’t let their relationship go – they dated on and off for almost eight years before Justin proposed to Hailey in 2018 (four months after he and Gomez called it quits for good). 

On the other end of the spectrum, we have former Friends co-stars (and actual, real-life friends) Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow who show that there’s much to be said for women supporting women. Accompanying Cox to receive her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the trio were as united as ever, joined by Laura Dern and Cox’s daughter for the milestone occasion.

“We’re very honoured to be here today to speak on your behalf as your co-workers, your friends, and your family – your sisters,” Aniston said in a joint speech with Kudrow at the event. “And that’s happened since we’ve known you for a very long time.” “It’s been that way since we met almost 30 years ago,” Kudrow agreed.  

“She hated poker. Like, loathed it from the bottom of her heart. But she played with us ’cause she wanted to bond with us,” Aniston shared of how their friendship first began on set way back when. 

“Courteney, we just want to say that we are deeply, deeply proud to know you. You are the definition of a truly beautiful, talented, and, what’s most important, a truly good and decent human being… Thank you for enriching our lives personally,” Kudrow continued, with Aniston adding that she is “one of the funniest human beings on the planet earth.” 

Back in February, we saw Jamie Lee Curtis and Michelle Yeoh proving they’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders when they both nabbed SAG awards for their roles in Everything Everywhere All At Once – Yeoh making history as the first Asian woman to win Best Female Actor in a Leading Role with Jamie Lee picking up the gold for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role. It was actually Yeoh’s casting in the film that convinced Curtis to accept her own part in the “weird” film. “Michelle Yeoh, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you,” she enthused. 

Didn’t anybody ever tell you that it’s nice to be nice? If that’s not incentive enough, research shows that women who support women are actually more successful too. There is power in the sisterhood, as Victoria Stokes writes in this article. According to Anna Friedman, a podcaster and journalist responsible for coining the phrase ‘Shine Theory’, powerful women are more successful when they collaborate rather than compete. 

“When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful, and professionally accomplished, befriend her. Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.” Which makes complete sense.

The internet has been pitting Hailey and Selena (and now Kylie) against each other for years now, but it’s a tired saga.  Instead of refreshing our TikTok feeds for the latest in Bieber v Gomez, we should be celebrating the Michelle Yeohs and Jennifer Anistons of the world. We should be lifting women up, not tearing them down – that’s when power turns into impact and we start making real change.

Feature image via @selenagomez