Beauty and a (Prison Sentence): A Case Study of Bieber and Reputation

Reputation is something most of us consider important. How people see us can determine what jobs we get, what friends we make, and how accepted into the throes of society we feel. When we make decisions in line with what we’d like our reputation to be, things are good. But what happens when we attempt to change our reputations?

Bieber really trying to roughen up his image

And America’s response

Enter the case study of the Biebs. Bieber has been a news sensation recently for his unbecoming behavior and run-ins with the law. His behavior recently has been a far cry from the baby-faced Bieber we’ve all come to know (and a weird amount of creepy moms have come to love). On first glance, this may seem to be a story headed the direction of other fallen child stars such as Amanda Bynes and Britney Spears, a story of media pressure which can be quickly explained away by the demands of being a child star. Many may cite his arrogant demeanor as evidence of an “above the law” mentality which makes him think his lawbreaking is acceptable.

I, however, think that his recent outbursts might point to something we can all relate to: reputation. Let’s face it, it’s hard to change our reputation. It’s easy to create one with one scandalous sexual encounter or one embarrassing moment, but it can take years to erase. It’s hard enough when you have to change the minds of the people around you, in your city or school. But how does one go about changing their reputation when they have billions of minds to change, too?

And herein lies the struggle of the Biebs. How do you get people to take you seriously when your face when a Barbie doll has been made of your likeness and your face gives you the appearance of being no older than twelve? How do you change the reputation of being America’s golden boy and get people to believe you’re finally growing up? You can’t just act like an adult; that takes too much time. People are going to keep cranking out notebooks with your face and hearts on them meanwhile. You have to do something crazy, something that is so out of the character of your reputation that people have to believe something is different. Apparently in the mind of the Biebs that equates to punching a limo driver. Hey, to each his own I guess. (Kidding.)

This problem isn’t unique to JB, of course. I think anyone who doesn’t live in a cave knows about Miley Cyrus’ sudden transformation from the remnants of Hannah Montana to America’s bad girl, and the same conclusion could be drawn about her. She probably believed a complete 180 was the only way to convince America that she’d changed and shake off her old reputation.

But in all seriousness, reputation often comes with expectations, and sometimes that can be suffocating. I in no way am saying that I advocate the behavior of Justin Bieber, or that I actually know what’s behind all of his recent madness, but I think that his situation presents a good opportunity for us to consider how reputation can sometimes control us. How do you break free of a reputation? Or do you ever?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below!


2 thoughts on “Beauty and a (Prison Sentence): A Case Study of Bieber and Reputation

  1. Thank you for commenting on my post! I agree that a lot of it is probably rebellion against the squeaky clean, Mom-approved, Leave-it-to-Beaveresque tween pop icon image that thrust him onto the world stage. I don’t suspect it would be long before that would become exhausting to maintain – particularly if deep down you never felt like that was you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed! I think there was only so long he could really keep it going, especially, as you said, if he never felt as if that was his image. It’s unfortunate that he’s broken that image by breaking the law, but it’s certainly interesting.

      Thanks for reading!



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