What’s Fueling Our Collective Obsession With Selena Gomez?

There are many an issue that keep me up at night (and by “up at night” I mean until my self-designated bedtime of 11pm). For one, why won’t Dick Wolf give us at least one episode of Law & Order: SVU that features a shirtless Carisi? I’ve only been aggressively tweeting this suggestion at him for the last six seasons. Or, like, will I die alone? Then, of course, there’s also why the hell is everyone so obsessed with Selena Gomez?  

Lately it feels like I can’t go one day without reading a headline about Selena Gomez. Whether it’s to psychoanalyze in minute detail each and every line of her new music or to report on the more hard-hitting stuff in her life, like her Instagram comments, the girl is f*cking everywhere. Her fame feels all-consuming, almost rabid, and on the same scale as mega celebrities like Beyoncé and Jennifer Aniston. Sometimes I feel like just uttering the words “Selena Gomez” on the internet sends people into a blood frenzy of speculation and gossip. The obsession with her is next level and her fans are beyond loyal. Case in point: she’s one of the world’s most followed people on Instagram, despite the fact that she hasn’t released a new album since 2015 and she’s not afraid to go dark on social media every few months. 

The rabidness of her fan base feels a bit unwarranted. Now, don’t get it twisted, I am one of these rabid fans. I’ve been a huge fan of Selena’s ever since she was on Wizards of Waverly Place (RIP) and, quite frankly, carried the entire goddamn show. I still, to this day, go about vocally voicing at parties that if I could switch lives with anyone it would be Selena Gomez. And I say that with a straight face and everything!! But even I’m confused by her fame. I mean, what is she really famous for? Yeah, she publicly makes out with Justin Bieber once every four years, but that’s about how long it takes her to put out a new single too. I was under the impression that her fan base included me and any other person born in the 90s who got way too excited about Disney+. So, how does she stay so relevant? She’s sporadic at best with releasing new music, comes in and out of the public eye, and her last acting gig took place when side bangs and chunky belts were still in style. To put things into perspective, Brenda Song has the exact same resume, and you don’t see people salivating at the mouth to publish a story on who she’s feuding with on IG. 

So what is it that makes her so goddamn popular? Sweetest Betch You’ll Ever Meet and I have discussed this issue AT LENGTH over Gchat at work (yes, we want to get fired, we’re begging for it actually). She’s of the mind that Selena’s rabid fan base has an underlying foundation of pity built into it, like how the media always writes her as the wronged woman in the Justin-Hailey Saga (kind of like how the media did to Jennifer Aniston about… everybody she was ever with). But, then again, these are also things Sweetest Betch has said about her coworker’s child whenever she visits the office and begs for quarters for the vending machine. I get what she’s saying, though: people love to root for a scorned woman, and no one has been burned more than Selena Gomez. Still, you’d think pity can only go so far. So, I want to break down Selena Gomez’s appeal one factor at a time.

Her Squad

I think part of Selena’s appeal is the way she flaunts her female friendships. If you take one look at her IG, you’ll see countless images of Selena with her friends—and not just the famous ones, either! (Though, for someone who claims to value her privacy, she certainly isn’t afraid to tout her high-profile relationships either *cough* Taylor Swift *cough, cough*). It gives people the impression that anyone can be a part of her squad. Like, that girl who starred in The Cutting Edge 4: Fire & Ice who gave Selena her spare kidney, or me a random fan who keeps flooding her DMs with positive affirmations she found on Pinterest. 

And the way she showcases these friendships is honestly masterful. This is a girl who has ditched every friend she ever made any time Justin Bieber decides to slide back into her DMs, and we’re to believe she’s this self-partnered, girl power, feminist icon? Look, I love Selena, but do I think she would ditch girls night in a heartbeat if an ex texted her “hey”? You bet your ass I do. But, again, this is what makes her so relatable. Who among us hasn’t skipped out early during a girls night out just to meet up with a guy whose idea of romance is splitting the Uber pool? And despite her apparent flakiness with friendships, her girls still back her up, still welcome her back with open arms after a messy breakup. Seeing that kind of loyalty in her girl squad inspires loyalty in her fans.

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And lastly, my actual #1 @courtneyjbarry you are an incredible woman. The way you handle life’s most confusing moments is indescribable and graceful. You are moved by the littlest stories to the most heartbreaking ones, you will give someone your perfume if they say you smell nice, you are freaking hilarious and always stand firm in your faith, a loving sister, an amazing friend and a beautiful daughter. You are the definition of FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made baby! #1

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She Leaves You Wanting More

Another part of her allure is the way she handles social media at the most high profile of times. Remember when she broke up with The Weeknd and started publicly hanging out with Justin Bieber like it was no big thing? Or that time we found out she was hospitalized and almost died? Or that time Justin Bieber GOT MARRIED to Hailey Baldwin two months after he and Selena broke up? Instead of posting cryptic IG stories about deserving more (I see you, Khloé Kardashian) or testing Instagram’s nipple visibility policy with thirst traps (I see YOU, Kylie Jenner) she just like, lived her life. She posted normal pics with friends at dinner or in sweat pants hanging at home, or she posted nothing at all. I remember thinking when the news broke about Justin and Hailey dating, “where is your feminine rage?” and, “blink once if you need me to key his car!!” Instead, she handled the situation by saying nothing at all. It’s like when someone leaves you on read—it makes you that much more interested in them. 

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Another year down.. Thank you for all the bday love. I couldn’t be more appreciative of you and my best friends for celebrating with me. I love you guys like crazy! God bless!

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She Seems Real AF

selena gomez

I think what really draws people to Selena Gomez more than anything else is that she seems really down-to-earth. She’s been open about her struggles with mental health and her body image. She’s just as likely to post a thirst trap pic as one of her pounding pasta. She’s not afraid to be vulnerable to the public, either. Let’s not forget that one time, fresh off of one her breakups with Justin Bieber, she started crying in the middle of her 2014 AMAs performance. Crying in public over an ex (or just a Ship bro who didn’t follow me back on IG) is sort of my thing, and I’m sorry but HOW CAN YOU NOT RELATE TO THAT. 

So, there you have it: the allure of Selena Gomez as best as I can describe it. One day when I’m explaining this to my grandkids I can point to these three reasons as a valid excuse for following @JelenaGoals well into my 20s. I’m going to go with that, or I’m just going to assume her fan base is comprised entirely of Russian bots. It’s anyone’s guess!

Images: Shutterstock.com; Giphy (1); @selenagomez /Instagram (3)

UPDATED: The Extremely Stupid Reason Selena Gomez And Bella Hadid Are Feuding

Sometimes, celebrity feuds are messy, knock-down, drag-out wars. Other times, they’re so subtle that you almost miss them completely. This latest bit of drama between Selena Gomez and Bella Hadid falls into the latter camp, with the feud being so subtle I almost couldn’t figure out WTF was going on at first. That’s because it involved an Instagram follow, a comment, and a dirty delete. Grab your microscopes, everybody, because this sh*t that went down between Selena Gomez and Bella Hadid on Instagram is what we in the business call “minute and inconsequential.” But I’ve got nothing to do today (that’s a lie), so I’ll explain this entire scenario. As for why you should care about it, I’m sorry, I can’t explain that.

In order to understand why anyone would even take note of what Selena Gomez may or may not comment on Bella Hadid’s Instagram, you first have to understand the history of their friendship. Or, I guess I should say, lack thereof. Sources tell InTouch that Selena Gomez and Bella Hadid were never really friends per se, but they obviously knew of each other because they both A) are super famous and B) dated The Weeknd. Hating your boyfriend’s ex, simply because she used to date him? It’s a tale as old as time. In January 2017, when Bella learned that Selena was dating The Weeknd, she unfollowed her on Instagram. In March 2017, Selena and The Weeknd both unfollowed Bella Hadid in turn, which really has got to make me wonder what those two did for fun during their relationship. Like, they really sat around and mutually decided to unfollow Abel’s ex on Instagram? Couldn’t you just like, go for a walk instead?

But things seemed to have cooled down between Selena Gomez and Bella Hadid in May, when Bella liked an Instagram picture of Selena. I know, I know, this is all so stupid, why do I waste my time thinking about these people? I can’t say. It’s an asinine job, but somebody’s got to do it.

Well, the cold war between Bella and Selena started up again last night, when Bella posted a picture of herself. Selena Gomez commented “stunning” with the heart eyes emoji, and the next thing we knew, Bella deleted the pic. Fans quickly speculated that she deleted the photo because Selena had commented on it. While certainly possible, that would be extremely weird. If anything, wouldn’t you just delete Selena’s comment? Maybe the post just wasn’t getting good engagement… or maybe Bella didn’t realize Instagram is taking away likes. Or maybe she really is that bizarrely petty. I don’t know the girl, so I can’t say! (If it were me, then you could definitely say she’s just that bizarrely petty.)

This all became actual news when a Selena Gomez fan account posted Bella’s then-deleted picture and called attention to the dirty delete, writing, “She’s all about supporting women. You all just can’t take it nicely. Btw Ms Hadid deleted the post.” Or, put in a way that makes actual sense that you don’t have to re-read three times, “Selena Gomez is all about supporting women, Bella Hadid just can’t take a compliment and deleted the post.” Or maybe “you all” refers to people who may have commented on Selena’s initial comment? It’s hard to tell, and we’ll never know now that the original post with the comment has been deleted.

 

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Felt relevant. #CommentsByCelebs

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Selena Gomez commented “That sucks” with a sad face, and that’s it. That’s the drama. Selena Gomez tried to comment something nice on one of Bella Hadid’s Instagrams, so Bella responded by deleting the entire post. Lmao. I kind of love the ruthlessness of it all. It’s like, “my enemy commented on my post, so I’m gonna throw the whole post away—that will teach her to compliment me!” What a ridiculous power move.

UPDATE: It seems like I was probably right, and Bella Hadid didn’t delete her photo just because Selena Gomez commented on it. In a new Instagram caption (god, why can’t these people just release a statement through their publicist), Selena put the rumors to rest… sort of. In a comment on a pic Elle posted about the not-feud feud, Selena said, “NO. I shouldn’t of spoken without knowing the truth. I’m sorry. Please don’t be hurtful. She is a wonderful person and it is all a misunderstanding.”

 

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Update* (slide 2 for reference) #CommentsByCelebs

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Soooo I was probably right in that Bella deleted the original picture because it got bad engagement, or maybe she didn’t have the rights to post it, or something. Probably completely unrelated to Selena Gomez. Well, this has been a fun exercise in jumping to conclusions! Now, if you need me, I need to figure out what it means when Instagram said 15 minutes ago that someone was online two hours ago, and now it jumped to two days ago.

Images: commentsbycelebs / Instagram