Selena Gomez is dating producer Benny Blanco. She confirmed yesterday in the comments of several different Instagram accounts that they are indeed a couple, and that they’ve been together for six months.
What’s news isn’t that she has a boyfriend, the news is how she was interacting with people on social media about her boyfriend. You can read about all the various exchanges she was having with randoms on IG here. Like it wasn’t enough for her to just pop in on a celebrity gossip account responding “Facts” to their report that she and Benny are together, she kept on going back and forth with fans who reacted negatively to the news.
The backstory here is that Benny has worked with Justin Bieber and seemed to shade her in 2020 when he commented that “Justin is not one of those cookie-cutter pop artists. You know, they’re like, ‘This is my new single, and here’s my makeup line’”… which Selena kinda acknowledges by laughing it off, before declaring that “he’s still better than anyone I’ve ever been with. Facts.”
She continues to defend him when her fans insist on either not believing that she’s with him or questioning why she’s dating him. And here again is the weird parasocial dynamic at play – it’s one thing to be a fan of someone, it’s another to think you get to have a say in who they love. But then again, by participating in this back-and-forth and engaging with her fans who are criticising her for her romantic choice, is Selena somehow enabling this behaviour?
I find it troubling, because in her case especially, she has shared on multiple occasions that social media isn’t always healthy for her. She even posted yesterday in her many exchanges with fans that she’s taking yet another break from Instagram now that she’s popped in to tell them about her relationship. This is what’s so f-cked up about coming to fame in her generation – building that intimacy with the fandom online is such a big key to success…but then the need to maintain that connection is to keep fueling it, which can become so toxic. In one breath she’s posting about how her fans saved her life while they're telling her that she must defend her life. From them? From whom?
She tells them that she’s the happiest she’s ever been and hopes that they can be happy for her, while they’re popping off in the comments that they hate the person who’s making her happy. It’s a disturbing situation, and maybe that’s just my age showing, but I worry for her, even though I have no right to.
From my vantage point, though, I don’t know that it’s all that healthy. And this is supposed to be a wonderful occasion – she’s in love, she has someone beside her who she says supports her, we’re not supposed to be having such a f-cking bummer of a conversation. But all of this feels so strange and maybe even a little sad. Is it just me?
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Selena Gomez shares new photo with boyfriend Benny Blanco after confirming relationship. pic.twitter.com/TF1FaIGFuG— Pop Base (@PopBase) December 7, 2023