When Justin Bieber: Never Say Never hit theaters in early 2011, I went to see the movie a mere six times. Surrounded by crowds of other purple-wearing, braces-clad tween Beliebers and their mothers, I cheered and laughed and sang along with the 3D Justin who reached his hand out of the screen to try and hold mine. When he made a heart with his hands, I made one with mine... I was one less lonely girl. It was the beginning of a love story that millions of other equally awkward, per-pubescent 13 year-olds were experiencing at the exact same time.
Fast-forward three years and I have matured out of my awkward stage, have straight teeth and have joined the ranks of every other New Yorker by wearing black. Justin Bieber, on the other hand, is wearing orange. That's right. Everyone's make-believe boyfriend was arrested for a DUI.
Justin Bieber is the most followed person on Twitter and has apparently created an authoritarian regime over his 49 million followers. His adherents respect, honor and retweet his every word and selfie, no matter how cocky, ridiculous or blurry. In the wake of his arrest, a worldwide trending topic on twitter was "#PrayForBieber." Thinking maybe he had announced he was dying of cancer via music video, I clicked on the hashtag only to find thousands of tweets from girls all over the world defending their idol's criminal activity. They lauded him for smiling in his mugshot, dissecting it as a message to all his fans that they should stay strong during hard times... I think he was smiling because of certain substances, but hey, you never know. Some blamed the media for his arrest, and others added the hashtag "#freejustin."
After reading these absurd and often grammatically incorrect outpourings of affection for Bieber, I couldn't help but notice the irony of his career. At age 19, he has made millions of dollars probably convincing girls that he is in fact in love with them and characterizing himself as the ideal boyfriend. So why is it that he continues to act in such a way that contradicts his money-making image? If I brought home Justin Bieber: the tattoo-covered, egg-throwing boy, wearing sagging pants and no shirt, now out of prison on $2,500 bail, to meet my parents as my boyfriend, and he wasn't an international celebrity, they would probably faint right there.
Yet I don't entirely blame Bieber, for he is like a spoiled child to whom no one ever said no. It is partly the fault of his rabid fan base, who crowded outside the Miami jail in which he was detained just for a glimpse of him. It has been proven to him time and time again over the last five or so years that no matter how badly he messes up, his fans will still keep running after him (literally). So he has learned that he can pull crazy and dangerous stunts without losing a cent. Many Beliebers are forgiving; never voicing any concerns. Justin Bieber has raised a generation of girls who have learned to be subservient to a boy. If he was actually their boyfriend and they were personally affected by his antics, would these girls stand up for themselves? What is it about Justin Bieber that has hypnotized 49 million girls?
I no longer wish to see shameless Justin Bieber propaganda for two hours straight, six times in one month. While I appreciate his catchy songs of the past, I do not idolize his behavior. I am proud to say I have broken free of the Belieber fandom. I hope others my age (and younger!) do too, before they are "#praying" for Justin after his drunk driving leads him to actually injure or even kill someone.
It scares me that I could very easily be one of these obsessed fans. I fit his ideal demographic. But while others continue to waste their time, energy and 140 characters worshiping Bieber, who seems to me (no offense) like a lost cause, I remember the good old days when his side swept hair and purple zip-up hoodie made my heart beat quickly inside my undeveloped chest.