Selena and Hailey: an ongoing *alleged* feud
The media revels in a dispute between two female celebrities, especially when it is centered around a man - think of the Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston feud.
#TeamSelena or #TeamHailey: the impact of the media
It is worth noting that the reignition of the Selena and Hailey feud was sparked by mere speculations (Instagram stories and Tiktok videos interpreted as “throwing shade”). This was enough to start an attack on their character, appearances, and respective brands. Comparatively, men are not subjected to this kind of scrutiny and are usually not discussed in the media unless it is regarding a serious topic. The critiques that women are faced with further extend to their entrepreneurial journey and the success of their businesses, whereas the problem initially lies with their romantic relationships. The nature of this narrative stems from underlying and internalized misogyny rooted in patriarchal values. There exists a prevalent notion in society that places women in competition with one another where they compare themselves, compete with and tear each other down. Furthermore, ideas of worthiness often exist through beauty ideals and male validation.
Lowering a woman’s worth has become second nature to the public who was quick to feel entitled to weigh in on the topic. The tabloid drama turned into a competition of who is the better woman. Official brand accounts have even participated in this “debate” to express which side they are on (#TeamSelena or #TeamHailey). The media plays a role in this matter by perpetuating the female rivalry narrative by continuing to openly judge women harshly and pitting them against each other. This situation further raises the issue of beauty ideals. The public feels comfortable comparing and shaming the two women’s appearances as though they are relevant to the discussion at hand.
The backlash from the feud has also reached the beauty industry, namely with regards to Rare Beauty (Selena Gomez’s brand) and Rhode Skin (Hailey Bieber’s brand). People have started to show their support through the beauty brands, such as deciding to no longer use their Rhode products or by going out and buying Rare Beauty items. In fact, Google Trends data shows that there was a 575% global increase in searches for Rare Beauty products. The brand’s TikTok and Instagram accounts have also gained more than 500,000 followers on both platforms. (1) With celebrity brands, the person’s personal life becomes a reflection of the brand and directly affects its reputation. As the personal is attached to the professional, controversies cannot be dissociated from the business that is tied to a specific name. In recent times, it is clear that the values promoted by a beauty brand are significant to consumers, as they will encourage and support businesses that are aligned with their own. Rare Beauty has seen a rise in popularity as the face of the brand, Selena Gomez, embodies authenticity, natural beauty, kindness, and moving with grace.
Credit: Rare Beauty and Rhode Skin
The situation at hand with these women illustrates that female competition can originate from the belief that there is only one place for a woman at the table. This idea holds all women back when we can all be included. Women can co-exist and succeed in their own ways, if we make space for all of them to thrive. As we fall prey to beliefs that are ingrained in societal norms and behaviors, it is essential to remember to unite as a group instead of being divided, because in the end, nobody benefits from this.