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Justin Bieber is the Real Villain: Why I Think the Hailey vs. Selena Debate Reeks of Misogyny

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

I am someone who is very entertained by pop culture drama. I know it can be so toxic; but at the same time, the way it is portrayed is so interesting. From the Don’t Worry Darling feud with Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde, and Florence Pugh all the way back to the “Sister Squad” breakup with Emma Chamberlain, the Dolan Twins, and James Charles. I can confidently say I have been following pop culture drama for as long as I’ve had social media. And, of course, since I love to follow pop culture drama, I have been all over the Hailey Bieber vs. Selena Gomez debate.

This “Hailey vs. Selena” debate is something I feel has been going on since Selena and Justin broke up for the third time in 2018. Honestly, I can remember being a kid and being obsessed with Selena and Justin’s relationship. They were both childhood icons: Selena having been in Wizards of Waverly Place and Justin being a tween-girl heartthrob. In my opinion, it was natural for people, especially young kids, to be obsessed with them staying together. To be quite honest, I think this plays a large role in why people just can’t seem to let “Jelena” go.

Hailey Baldwin (now Bieber) started dating Justin again shortly after he and Selena broke up for the final time, and the pair got married in September 2018, four months after reuniting and two months after going public. Hey, true love has no timeline, right? However, this seemingly rushed marriage has sparked a rivalry ever since.

Although the Selena vs. Hailey feud was seemingly put to rest after Hailey appeared on an episode of the podcast Call Her Daddy in 2022, the drama has amped up very recently after a video Selena posted of her eyebrows. Kylie Jenner and Hailey Bieber seemingly responded to the post with a mimicked photo poking fun at Gomez. Hours later, a video of Hailey being mean to Taylor Swift resurfaced, to which Selena replied “So sorry, my best friend is and continues to be one of the best in the game”. Yikes. Selena has since announced she is taking a break from social media and Hailey denies the “eyebrow feud post” had anything to do with Selena despite losing a lot of followers.

There has always been a lot of hate directed toward Hailey Bieber for dating Justin. I see it online all the time and have for a while: people claim she doesn’t really do anything important, and she’s a nepotism baby (which is honestly just true, but I’m not sure how it applies to the whole Justin thing). People also say she’s ugly, she’s a copycat of Selena, and literally everything else under the sun. And yes, while Hailey isn’t the perfect person and has an iffy past, most of the hate is targeted at her based on her relationship with Justin.

Justin Bieber has never been a good boyfriend. Selena Gomez has opened up about Justin being emotionally abusive through both her songwriting and interviews. Justin himself has admitted he was reckless in their relationship, not to mention there was always some new cheating allegation during the time they dated. Considering what Justin did to Selena, why do people want Jelena back together so badly? And why do people keep pitting Hailey and Selena against one another instead of just calling Justin out?

While I did say I love pop culture drama earlier, I also mentioned I think it is interesting how it is portrayed. This is a key part of my view on pop culture drama and why I always take it with a grain of salt; it’s disappointing how I can always find hints of misogyny layered in. Notice how a lot of the drama in pop culture is centered around women? This isn’t a coincidence. The internet is always finding a new girl to gang up on, and this month’s lucky winner just happens to be Hailey Bieber.

It’s rumored that Justin treats Hailey poorly too. There are dozens of videos of him being rude to her, slamming doors in her face, ditching her in public, and generally just being a d-bag. While Hailey does have her faults, so does Selena. They aren’t the problem here. The man who has been known to cheat and joked about his marriage being arranged. He has been known to emotionally abuse his partners and hasn’t stepped in to defend his wife against internet harassment whatsoever.

While there has been some shady behavior happening in this Hailey vs. Selena feud, I think the internet is wasting its time on trivial matters. There is no real winner in this debate. Maybe Hailey made fun of Selena recently, maybe she didn’t. What I really think we should be focusing on is why Justin treats these girls the way he does, and why we aren’t focusing on his behavior instead.

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Megan Allen

U Mass Amherst '25

Megan is a junior at UMass Amherst, double majoring in Community Education & Social Change and Psychology. Outside of writing, Megan enjoys reading, taking a fitness class, and drinking an iced chai with oat milk. She is so excited to be a part of Her Campus this semester!