By Anne T. Donahue
Yesterday, as you may not know if you weren’t glued to Twitter like I always am, Selena Gomez dropped her second single, “Look at Her Now,” a breakup jam that follows the far more serious, “Lose You to Love Me.”
And clearly, everybody here (me, at my computer and you, reading this on yours) has gone on to assume that these are each about Justin Bieber. And maybe even more specifically, about his relationship with wife Hailey Baldwin thanks to lyrics like, “In two months you replaced us like it was easy, made me think I deserved it in the thick of healing.”
Fans of Selena even went so far to accuse Baldwin of hitting back online after the model posted a screenshot of the song, “I’ll Kill You,” which sparked a frenzy that necessitated Baldwin saying, “Please stop with this nonsense.” As a result, Gomez also took to Instagram to ask her listeners to dial it down by explaining: “I am grateful for the response this song is getting. I’m so grateful. However, I do not stand for women tearing each other down.”
“I will never, ever be by that, so please be kind to everyone.”
And you know what? Cool. Cool and great, and may we all champion two famous women not getting publicly angry, nor throwing public shade. But also, and may I just say, that I love a feud? I love pettiness and I love knowing two people can’t really stand each other and I love cryptic messages and living vicariously through lives that are far more interesting than my own. I don’t believe in cruelty or bullying (those have no place in a decent feud), but I do believe in saying things like, “She and I? We’re not close” or “I just think we’re very different” and allowing those things to be interpreted as the listener sees fit.
Which I don’t think is a bad thing. I don’t think it’s bad not to like another person. I don’t think it’s bad to use your art to articulate your experiences in a way you couldn’t otherwise. I don’t think it’s bad to lay the truth on the table and stare your enemy in the face and say, “Your move.” I do think it’s bad to lose one’s mind in someone’s Instagram comments, and it’s bad to jump into another person’s drama because you think you’re on their side (but they do not know you, so it’s weird). I hate the idea of fandoms being given lowkey permission to fight for who they stan in ways that are violating and pointless because honestly, just stop.
But I love the idea of exercising one’s right not to like another person. I love the idea that, after her relationship with Justin, Selena Gomez used what she had to deliver her message. And I also love that, had Hailey Baldwin really been responding, she chose to do it in a way that can’t prove anything. (Though technically that song title should be taken as a threat if used against someone, so maybe another song or a linefrom that song would be good enough.) I love a feud, and with everything else going on in the world, I need a feud I can care about. I need to the stakes to be so low that it doesn’t matter, but high enough that I still click on the Us Weekly headline. And then I want us all to be like, “Justin Bieber?! Honestly?!” when we remember that this is the man who inspired several songs and a potential conflict. I want to end 2019 with a nothing-fight that doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t affect anybody in any real way. I want this because it’s fun and I like to observe and I am a messy bitch who lives for drama outside of my own, because that shit slows me down.
But other people’s harmless drama? Two famouses feuding? On Instagram? In this economy? This is the reprieve we all deserve.
And also, even if you are the most feminist, you are allowed to dislike another woman even if you are one. Amen.