*Justin Beiber was just 14 years old when he was discovered. With his adorable smile, humble attitude and “mop” styled hair adored by young girl’s everywhere, he was to become “the next big thing.” Well, for the last two years, Justin has won the hearts of children, tweens, teens, young people and many more up the age ladder.
While most other teenagers were gaming, toiling over which outfit to wear to school to keep their “cool” status and hoping that the girl or boy they like, likes them back, Justin has been singularly focused for the last two years on work. Hard work. It was just in 2009 that his debut single, “One Time” was released worldwide. The single hit its height in the top ten in Canada. The release of My World, followed in the fall of 2009, and was ultimately certified platinum in the United States. He’s been on fire ever since.
It is clear from the teenage female fans that it is Beiber or bust. While he has been criticized for his popularity, he is highly regarded by many and considered a “teen idol.” I have to admit that his boyish face and seemingly humble disposition makes him hard not to like. The ultimate confession is that I have his music on my iPod (don’t judge me).
Justin’s gift of himself and visibility to his fans is appearing to backfire. With each teenage girl believing that they could one day play the supporting role in Justin’s life, it was a blow to their hearts and egos when he was recently seen walking and kissing Selena Gomez, who is two years his senior. The fans took their pain to the ether and let loose posting death threats and other hurtful messages about Selena on Twitter and other blog sites.
Unfortunately, Justin’s commitment to his fans circled back to bite him in the bum. I think if the fans of other teen idols like Michael Jackson and David Cassidy could have tweeted when they were rumored to be dating, we may have seen similar behavior. What would cause these teenagers to act in such a manner? Outside of raging hormones, that is. I believe that Justin’s visibility without a “girl X” by his side for these last two years led young fans to believe he would always be available to them. Then, he chooses someone they do not approve of. She may not be the “wholesome” match for the Beibs that would have for him. Most importantly Selena is not them.
In addition and unfortunately, the internet is a great place for people to put their pain without any future guilt of watching the insult land on the eyes and hearts of the person it was directed towards. We watched this ugly scenario play out when Phoebe Prince in Massachusetts committed suicide in 2010 because of the relentless online bullying that was unleashed on her.
We have to get these teens out of the Land of Make Believe.
Monica Cost is communications strategist, brand manager and respected corporate and motivational speaker. She is the President and Founder of Evidently Assured, a brand & talent management firm. Email her at: [email protected]. Follow her via Twitter: @monicacost and Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost.