Being the sister of a “dedicated” (as she puts it) Belieber, I’ve been shown an insight into the world of Bieber that seems to only be reserved for his fans. I have learned an unprecedented amount about the Biebs and I am up-to-date (via my sister) about all his latest escapades. In light of the recent controversy he has stirred up involving Anne Frank, I feel compelled to make my final deductions on the Belieber community and on Bieber himself.
At first, Jada’s interest towards Bieber seemed benign. Celebrity crushes are normal for tweens and teens, after all. Little did I know, this love for the star would blow up to hugely underestimated proportions. It seems that Bieber exerts an influence on these impressionable young girls that turns some of them, quite frankly, into malicious, jealousy-ridden gossips. Once you have started to like Justin Bieber, you will be sucked into a world which only makes you more of a fan. I’ve yet to hear of a Bieber fan who just likes him a little—it’s either a fanatical devotee, apathetic or avid hater.
What I struggle to understand is how his Beliebers are so intensely devoted and dedicated to him. This has never happened with any other celebrity that I know of; what is it about the star that spellbinds the girls so? Is it to do with some sort of predetermined trait that makes the fans destined to be obsessed—an addictive personality, perhaps? Or does Bieber just get it right and hit the girls’ nerves in a way no other singer can? There has to be a reason for his massive influence over the Beliebers’ lives and his lightning-fast rise to fame. As a non-Belieber, I have no clue why he is as famous as he is.
Another thing I have noticed about the Belieber community is that they defend their idol til the end. Through controversy after controversy, the Beliebers are behind him justifying his every move. I think they do gloss over the real bad stuff that he’s done—that irreverent comment about Anne Frank is one prominent example. It angers and saddens me to see Twitter comments of people DEFENDING his actions, when really there is no justification for it. They claim that “if the comment was made in 2009 people would laugh it off” and if a different celebrity did it they wouldn’t be met with such hate. But I think that’s totally wrong: that comment would be offensive no matter who did it or when.
But Bieber, it can be argued, is just a teenager. He should be excused for all his stupid acts. Yes, that’s true, but since he is always in the public eye, he should at least take a bit more consideration into what he’s doing. People can shrug off little mistakes (I’m sure many people have forgiven and forgotten the weed-smoking incident), but a big “mistake” like that Anne Frank thing is not something that can be easily excused. Anyway, if he is trying to be a cool, adult popstar after the release of “Boyfriend”, surely his actions should reflect that too? Most adults would probably not even dream of writing anything as rude as that.
An interesting theory was posed following this event, and following his eventful trip to the UK: is this the beginning of the end for Bieber? Amidst the rude comments, the weed-smoking, the “worst” birthday party ever and the outburst at the paparazzi, people feel that Bieber is losing his way and causing his career to collapse. We can’t really equate the fifteen-year-old kid singing “Baby” with the quiffed, controversial adult swearing and lashing out at British paparazzi. Can the boy that became famous so many years ago really be the man that we see smoking pot at a party? For that reason, I think people are wondering whether Bieber’s youthful charm is being destroyed by fame and adulthood, and therefore his career is taking a fatal blow. If he wants to remain famous, I think he will have to shake off the remains of his “My World” days and replace them with a more developed, mature style.
But is he doing that already? Perhaps puberty has passed and he has now found his real self: a teen who wants to experiment with adult life (who actually is quite normal compared to others his age, I believe). Maybe he is maturing unconsciously, and he doesn’t mean to. But on the other hand, his latest songs tackling slightly older material and his late-night escapades could all be carefully orchestrated so he can make the transition to a proper, “adult” popstar. But it hasn’t gone to plan. Beliebers are still clinging onto the image of the twelve-year-old singer innocently uploading videos to YouTube, but I don’t think they realise that that is fading away, whether he means to or not. So maybe it’s not the beginning of the end of his career, it’s the end of his former self. Bieber is reinventing himself, but Beliebers, although they seem to see it, don’t really understand.
So what is the future for Justin Bieber? I think there are a few different outcomes. He could get into even more trouble than he already has, after the Anne Frank controversy, and end up like many child stars have: in rehab, in jail, a junkie, or trying to make a comeback. Alternatively, he could finish his mammoth tour, lay low for a while to mature and find himself, then come back with an explosively popular album which sets his career up for many years to come. Hopefully he does take the second path. Bieber needs a long break. I’m sure the stresses of the busy tour are contributing to his mistakes and he hasn’t found a good way to release all his tension. Or maybe he’s just going through the final stages of his teen years; being stupid, trying to have fun and discovering his true self. But when he’s so famous, everything he does is highly scrutinised and criticised by the media. I don’t think Justin Bieber can have normal youth fun—the slightly illegal and reckless fun, I mean. Whatever he gets up to WILL receive some negative backlash and he’s got to be a really strong guy to rise above it all. The question is, IS he strong enough to just shrug off all the hate? He could be affected and broken by it all and hiding it. It’s not unlikely.
But all of this is about Bieber himself. The Beliebers are another story altogether. They are misguided, I think, and become blind in their devotion to him. For example, after the Justin and Selena Gomez breakup, Beliebers were filled with an irrational and sudden hatred towards her, which seems uncalled for and completely mean. They think that because they know so much about Bieber, they can speak for him and know what he is thinking. It may sound odd, but I think they know less about Bieber than the non-Beliebers and apathetics. Most of them are adults, and they all know what it’s like to be his age. They know a LOT more about life than some tween tweeters. They know more than Bieber about life, too. I’m surprised his manager hasn’t recommended a break from public life—as a concerned adult worried about Bieber’s health and happiness.
So Beliebers should step back, take a look at the real world and reconsider their devotion. I’m sure Justin Bieber doesn’t take himself as seriously as they take him. Beliebers do need to change, because they DO give Bieber a bad name and probably turn a lot of people away from his music. He IS a singer, but many people do forget about that. The music should be the most important thing in Justin’s life, but the world is so consumed by his image, his actions and his reputation.
People—haters, apathetics AND Beliebers—need to lay off him for a while. Justin Bieber needs to take a long break, mature, discover his style, relax, and come back an artist. One that can be enjoyed by more than tween and teen girls. This media attention has done nothing good for him and true, the Anne Frank business was inexcusably irreverent, and it is disgraceful, but even respectable news sources have been writing about the Biebs a lot more than they have before. Is there nothing more interesting to write about than a negative article about the singer? I am not a Belieber—personally I’ve had enough talk about him from my sister and I don’t like his music—and I am not passionately defending him, but he needs to disappear from public view for a long while. For his own good.
And Beliebers need to tone it down drastically before anything bad happens. I actually worry about the extent of their fanaticism. My sister nearly passed out when she was the first to like one of his posts on Instagram. What would she have done if Justin Bieber retweeted one of her tweets, or replied to her? He has influenced their lives so much that all they can talk, do or think about is Bieber, and they practically drop dead whenever he is mentioned in everyday life. It’s an outlandish thought, but what if their devotion was taken TOO far, like the invented #cutforbieber trend illustrates? Very bad—potentially fatal—things could happen because Beliebers simply love the star so much. And that inhibits his life. What if he were to meet a girl and get married? How many hordes of girls would send death threats to, and go out to kill, Bieber’s new wife? They all think Justin is THEIRS, their boyfriend, and if he did marry, he would be well-hated by many Beliebers.
So I can’t say what the future holds for Justin Bieber, but I sincerely hope it turns out well. For Bieber, for Beliebers, and for the rest of the world. For now, he needs to take a vacation and return to music a changed, mature man.