I have been a fan of Justin Timberlake since I was three years old, so when he married Jessica Biel, I inevitably hated her.
Wait a minute. Why was it inevitable? Why was I supposed to hate her? What did she ever do to me other than be a woman who married a man? If I could make a list of every single thing I have ever been ashamed of, my attitude towards Jessica Biel when I was 16 years old would make the top of the list.
This is something that I dealt with and witnessed throughout my teenage years: Male celebrities, especially actors and singers, are idealized so much by the media. They are shown as handsome, funny, talented, and charming. The real inevitability in this situation is that young girls will grow attached to them and turn them into their own personal idols. This seems pretty harmless; after all, it is important to have a role model. Many male celebrities do great things for charities or the community, are kind people, and create great art. The real problem comes when young girls develop crushes or become infatuated with these celebrities.
A crush on somebody that one doesn’t know personally but sees daily can cross so many boundaries so quickly. It can turn into an obsession and causes people to become possessive of somebody who means a lot to them. This can also be blamed on the media since these men are marketed with sense of approachability or nearness so that fans will connect to them. Many people need to feel like the favorite male singers are writing songs for them, or that the actors could recite the romantic monologues to them.
This is all in good fun but what about when the male celebrities’ female significant others come into the picture?
Women are put up against women in so many ways that it even makes them hate women they will probably never know. A major component of feminism involves women supporting women, yet when fans let their jealousy get in the way, it turns into a twisted form of two women fighting over a man.
Of course, the chances of a fan and a celebrity’s significant other actually being in this love triangle situation are slim; however, instead of embracing how great the female significant other may be, she is vilifying her and putting the man first. How can young girls be expected to support the girls they know personally if they are already being taught to and expending energy to hate women they don’t know?
I was guilty of unreasonably hating the girlfriends and wives of my favorite celebrities for years. I was so jealous of them and had the feeling that they were snatching my favorite person away from me, when I never had them to begin with.
However, my perspective changed drastically when I saw the situation from the other side. I have been a fan of Selena Gomez since I was a little girl. When she made her relationship with Justin Bieber public, his female fans raged a war against her. They weren’t just throwing petty insults at her based on her looks, talent, or personality. Gomez got severe death threats from fans for simply dating a guy they all thought was cute! As somebody who looks up to her and uses her messages of grace and positivity to influence how I behave, I felt like I was being attacked. It got me thinking, and I put women I had thought negative things about, like Biel, in Gomez’s place. I thought about how much it hurt Biel, her fans, and her family when she was constantly harassed by angry young girls who only knew one side of her personality–the one she chooses to make public.
Seeing things from the female’s perspective opened my eyes. I began researching the female significant others, watching interviews, and getting familiar with their work. The result? I ended up loving these women!
Take Biel, for instance. Not only did I realize that she has a plethora of talent, but I found that she speaks out in support of sexual health education for women. I mindlessly hated her while she was out helping people like me!
She, and other women I once saw as “threatening,” became my new role models, and I also realized that I was looking up to too many male celebrities, when there were tons of females who I could relate to out there who have since taught me how to be a better woman.