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A ‘Tough Love’ Defense of Justin Bieber

Imagine one minute you were yourself with your normal life—in school, hanging out with your friends, talking to your family—and the next you were thrust into superstardom, ripped away from everyone and everything you held dear to work on your career, devoid of all privacy and swimming in millions.

That’s exactly what the newly-controversial pop star, Justin Bieber, has had to endure since being discovered on YouTube by now manager, Scooter Braun in 2008. Recently, the Biebs has been on a rampage of rash decisions from egging a neighbor’s home, to speeding down his own residential street, to hanging out with South American prostitutes to being arrested for "drag racing "while high and drunk. As a result, sales for Bieber’s fourth studio album, Journals have been disappointing to say the least. The album, lauded by critics as a surprisingly successful and underappreciated R&B project, failed to crack the top 40 charts in the UK and fell from its first week peak at #35 to #50 on the ARIA Album Chart.

His movie, Believe, which came out on Christmas Day did terribly. Critics blamed the lack of support on the fact that parents wanted to shield their children from Bieber the train wreck. And that’s not all.

An online petition calling to deport Bieber back to Canada recently garnered more than 100,000 signatures. That’s got to hurt.

Amid all the bashing and banning, Bieber has still managed to find support, especially from other celebrities.

Why?

It’s simple. What he’s doing is hard. Justin Bieber is a 19-year-old kid doing kiddish things. I know plenty of young men his age that drag race, drink and drive, smoke weed and even a few that have used pills. These are actions indicative of the experimental phase of young adulthood many of us are in now. The difference between my misguided male friends and my imaginary husband, Bieber, is fame. Bieber can’t do what “normal” kids do—even the normal kids that kind of go off once away from home.

He experiences an insurmountable lack of privacy. Biebs can’t even drive down the street without being photographed, geographically locked and speculated about. In defense of the Biebs after the flood of images poking fun at his arrest, singer Ariana Grande said, “I don’t think it’s funny anymore…He’s the most visible and yet isolated human being I’ve ever met.”  In the immortal words of Kanye West, “that right there could drive a sane man berserk.” And yet, it doesn’t stop there.

Even when he’s doing well, Bieber always has a faithful following of dedicated haters. A perfect example of this can be found on Bieber’s YouTube Channel. One of his first music videos, Baby, has had almost one billion views and almost twice as many “thumbs down” than “thumbs up.” Just three minutes from when I’m typing this piece, a YouTube user wrote “F*** Bieber” in the comments section.

I’m not justifying Justin’s behavior by any means. I am 100 percent against drinking and driving and I think egging people’s million dollar homes is just kind of ridiculous. Should he have been arrested? Sure! I would have been arrested had I been doing the things he was doing. My point is not to pacify Biebs. It’s to show that he is an average young adult under extraordinary. Many people his age operate as negligently as he does without the media pressure, fake friends bought by money and strenuous work associated with being an entertainer. All of that coupled with an untraditional setting of friends and opportunities is bound to bring a bit of self-destructive behavior, publicized or not. I just hope that we as a society stop judging celebrities so harshly and put ourselves or our loved ones in Bieber’s purple Supra sneakers.  

Layla is a senior magazine journalism student with a passion for politics, cultural events and of course, shopping, with aspirations of working as an on staff writer at a major magazine in NYC.Believe it or not, Layla enjoys working out (if you know her, you'd probably say not) but can't seem to find time for it this semester with her semi-hectic schedule (no excuse, she knows). She also loves shopping, getting out of the city, hanging out with friends, playing instruments and singing, and dancing even though she sucks at it!Follow her on twitter @laylajayla, on Instagram @baelay and on her blog at loafersnlipstick.tumblr.com!
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