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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Learning to let go of Selena Gomez

emily yue.jpg

Opinion editor Emily Yue.

Last year was difficult to say the least, but there were a few beacons of positivity that kept me afloat in the constant media storm of conflict. I took a Capstone course that reaffirmed my passion for the field of photojournalism, I turned 21 years old, my family got a new puppy and Selena Gomez released “Bad Liar,” the definitive song of the summer.

"Bad Liar" is the undeniably zesty hit that Billboard deemed the best song of 2017. The music video, drenched in gorgeous 70s sepia tones, follows Gomez as a high school student with a crush on her gym teacher, who, get this, is having an affair with her dad. All the main characters, get this, are played cheekily by Gomez herself. There’s an earnestness to the song that compliments Gomez’s successful public persona as a force of positivity. Gomez is Instagram’s number one followed account, the first to reach 100 million followers “by grace through faith.”

All this to say, up until recently, I identified as a Selena Gomez stan, or super-fan. I’ve never casually referred to myself as a Selenator, but I did throw a party in honor of her birthday this summer, and the pictures I printed out of her iconic fashion moments still decorate a wall of our living room. 

But 2018 will be a year of letting go and learning — and part of that, for me at least, means letting go of one my idols. 

Yes, it sometimes feels like I grew up alongside Gomez. I watched her on "Barney & Friends" and "Wizards of Waverly Place" and treasured her guest appearances on "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" and "Hannah Montana." I loved her tomboy attitude in "Princess Protection Program" and her rebellious (yet still gentle-hearted) performance in "Another Cinderella Story." 

Selena Gomez’s name was in the news earlier this week because she unfollowed nearly 300 Instagram accounts overnight. Some of these accounts were fellow celebrities, and perhaps former friends (like Demi Lovato, who also starred in "Princess Protection Program"). 

Gomez is clearly going through a revival period. She’s letting go of certain things: her relationship with the Weeknd, her friendship with Demi and her child star roots. But she’s also reclaiming parts of her past that others find controversial: her relationship with Justin Bieber, her friendship with Taylor Swift and her inexplicably flourishing music career (we've all heard her sing live). 

I can’t support an actress who auditioned five times for a lead role in Woody Allen’s upcoming film before successfully winning the part. I can’t support an advocate for mental health who executive produced the problematic and irresponsible portrayal of suicide in the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” which was renewed for a second season. I can’t support an advocate for women who uncritically supports Taylor Swift, the golden-haired princess of white feminism. 

I wrote the majority of this column while I was waiting at the Chapel Hill DMV to renew my license. I guess I'm going through a revival period, too. And it doesn’t have to include Selena Gomez. 

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