The It Girls, Going at It

Why does the media feel the need to pin influential women against each other?


Female rivalry is frequently driven by the superfluous idea that there is not enough space for several successful women in an industry, and it has become increasingly obvious with the Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber drama—who have a history of being villainized due to their similarities: men, makeup and acting.

Eyebrows were the instigator of this particular Gomez-Bieber feud. After years of comparisons, drama, breakups and songs, a photo of Gomez’s eyebrows were allegedly mocked by Bieber and Kylie Jenner on an Instagram story—which caused a spiral of media speculation. In the span of less than two weeks Bieber lost over a million followers on Instagram as Gomez gained 12.8 million followers making her the most-followed woman on Instagram; fans and bystanders almost uniformly sided with Gomez.

 The media has repeatedly pinned influential women against each other. Over the past decade, we’ve seen it with Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter and most recently, Hailey Bieber and Selena Gomez. Many times the drama that is stirred up overshadows the accomplishments of successful women in pop culture who have all made multi million dollar brands for themselves. 

In light of all the drama, Gomez has removed her account from the app in an effort to decrease the hate towards Bieber. Despite her absence, the hashtag ‘team Selena’ has reached over 1.1 billion people although the majority of the videos under the hashtag are echo chambers tearing down Bieber, who was idolized the week before for her “glazed” nails and perfect skin. Cancel culture is nothing new, and Bieber proved that when 1 million people unfollowed her due to speculation.

When a video of Bieber making fun of Taylor Swift resurfaced, fans hoped to prove Beiber to be the ‘mean girl’, Gomez broke her silence by tweeting “So sorry, my best friend is and continues to be one of the best in the game,”. Fans of Swift quickly sided with Gomez, spiking the increase that got her to the 12.8 million.

Gomez spoke out in a Vanity Fair interview that Tik Tok feels “ less hostile [than other social media]”. Although Tik Tok users have not taken it lightly on Bieber, with interesting insults, notably comparing Bieber to an ear. This insult was particularly confusing considering Bieber was deemed the “It Girl” just a week prior.

Women Supporting Women is a term that has gained popularity in the past year, Alex Elle a philosophy author shared on an Instagram post,

 “We can still glow and be great in the light of someone else’s success and triumphs” which encompasses the goal of Women Supporting Women.  

In actuality, the movement lacks support and acknowledgment of women’s successes, instead emphasizing support through difficult decisions and relationship troubles. Until we as a society create a space that allows for women to excel together, there will continue to be an increasingly competitive nature.