Latinas, Let’s Discuss: Has Cyberbullying Gone Too Far? Selena Gomez Believes It Has

Latinas, Let’s Discuss: Has Cyberbullying Gone Too Far? Selena Gomez Believes It Has
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Selena Gomez recently became the most followed person on Instagram with 400 million (and counting) followers. Prior to breaking the social media platform, Gomez had taken a four-year-and-a-half hiatus from social media. The Mexican-descent star claimed that the break changed her life completely.  

However, she started slowly trickling back into social media by sharing sweet photos of her family, friends, and herself. Despite her conscious efforts to be unproblematic, she’s found herself at the core of a massive cyberbullying campaign against Hailey Bieber. 

The internet is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we have a seemingly infinite amount of information at our disposal – at all times. On the other hand, though, misinformation is also a key proponent in this up-and-coming technology era. And it doesn’t help that there are people from all over who actively add fuel to the fire.  

It is a known fact that Selena and her ex, Justin Bieber, have some of the most passionate fans in the industry. From their romantic story to the aftermath of their very public breakup, their fan base has been at the forefront of their lives. Of course, the addition of Hailey Bieber, formerly known as Hailey Baldwin, was not met in the most welcoming manner. Some see her as a roadblock that’s wedged between Justin and Selena, even if their relationship ended many moons ago. They’ve both also assured people they’ve moved on and have different realities than when they were together.  

In an attempt to bring peace to the situation, Gomez has spoken about the importance of being kind and mindful. She’s spoken about it on her social media and has based Rare Beauty’s (her brand) ethos around these values. Yet, it hasn’t been enough. A lot of her fan base continues to go for Hailey’s jugular whenever they get a chance.  

The cyberbullying that took place between Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber

Recently, people have been pinning a hateful and dangerous campaign around Hailey Bieber and Selena Gomez. 

Some people claim that Hailey is constantly mocking Gomez in a malicious manner. Social media users allegedly believe there is evidence of this behavior, but, at the end of the day, it continues to be allegations. It’s been over a month since they doubled down on this narrative, which was jumpstarted by an Instagram story Kylie Jenner and Hailey Bieber posted about their eyebrows. Selena’s die-hard fans took this as an attack considering Selena had posted about her eyebrows a few days before. (Yes, folks, eyebrows are the root of this issue.) This took place after Selena and Hailey posted a picture of them together at the Academy Museum Gala. 

Some of Selena’s fans, nonetheless, took it upon themselves to double down on their problematic claims. Videos dissecting Hailey’s behavior became a trending topic making the cyberbullying intensify. Cyberbullying transcended the technological space and also made it out in public. Justin Bieber was even attacked by people screaming Selena’s name at one of his recent shows. So much so that Hailey started receiving death threats. 

Naturally, Selena being Selena, jumped in to put a stop to this behavior.  

“Hailey Bieber reached out to me and let me know that she has been receiving death threats and such hateful negativity,” Selena wrote on her Instagram Stories. “This isn’t what I stand for. No one should have to experience hate or bullying.” 

“I’ve always advocated for kindness,” the Instagram Story read, “and really want this all to stop.” 

Credit: Instagram Story/ @selenagomez

It is evident that Gomez is disheartened by the situation. Sadly, many of her fans are losing sight of what genuine admiration for someone looks like.  

Nowadays, the extreme admiration and love for a public figure is often called “stan.” A stan is considered an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular public figure. But are stans going overboard? Gomez’s message is clear that she won’t stand alongside this type of stan-ship. There’s a fine line between being a stan and being hateful in an attempt to showcase your love. And that line can get blurred in a second.  

This is not the first time Gomez has reprimanded her fan base for bullying. She’s done so in the past and, for the most part, bullying tactics stop after she voices her discomfort.  

Hailey Bieber was appreciative of Selena’s message to her followers and posted about it on her own Instagram Stories.  

Credit: Instagram Story/ @haileybieber
Credit: Instagram Story/ @haileybieber

“I want to thank Selena for speaking out, as her and I have been discussing the last few weeks about how to move past this ongoing narrative between her and I,” Bieber shared to her Instagram Stories on March 24. “The last few weeks have been very hard for everyone involved and millions of people are seeing so much hate around this, which is extremely harmful.” 

She added, “While social media is an incredible way to connect and build community, moments like this only create extreme division instead of bringing people together.” 

Bieber ended her story by writing that things can always be taken out of context or constructed differently from what was intended. 

How to be a mindful fan

This mess derived from fan behavior that got out of control. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. The good news is that this is avoidable. All people have to do is learn how to be a mindful fan. Here are some quick tips: 

  • Remember that public figures are just like us 
  • Public figures appreciate your stan-ship, but they may not always acknowledge it  
  • Don’t romanticize them  
  • Accept the fact that you might never meet your idol 
  • Be humble and respectful of everything 
  • Don’t let your love for a public figure make you do things that can impact your life 

Let’s hope people can learn from this and understand that anything shared on social media can have consequences. Overall, cyberbullying or any type of bullying is never the answer.

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