The Justin Bieber paternity lawsuit scandal was one of those things I didn’t actually care about, but I knew all the sordid details because I work at The Frisky. So I’ve had time to develop somewhat strong opinions on the Biebs and his allegedly roving peen. From the get-go, I felt convinced that the alleged baby mama Mariah Yeater, age 20, who dismissed the lawsuit last week, made the whole thing up. How did I come to this conclusion? First of all, she claimed her ex-boyfriend was the father of the baby just last year and call me crazy, but her former lover seems like the more plausible impregnator in this scenario. Second of all, Mariah claimed that Justin lost his virginity to her in a bathroom at L.A.’s Staples Center after a concert. Yes, he is a 17-year-old boy, a demographic generally devoid of any seduction tactics whatsoever. But even losing his V-card in a toilet stall seemed too … crass? … to be believable.
Lastly, and most importantly, Justin Bieber has always just screamed “VIRGIN!” to me — underlined, in bold, with flashing lights. There’s no nicer way of saying it: the kid is just a dork. From his white-boy-from-Canada “gangsta” posturing, to his notoriously overprotective single mama and small army of handlers, to his conservative views on sexuality, it seemed a no-brainer to me this kid’s purity was unsullied. Yes, he’s been photographed fondling his possibly-still girlfriend Selena Gomez. But I genuinely believed Justin’s P has never been inside any woman’s V, ever.
Notice I said believed, past tense. Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched with interest how the paternity lawsuit scandal unfolded and noticed how Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, their respective teams, and all these “sources” who feed lines to the gossip columns suspiciously did not do the one thing I had expected to happen. They denied the paternity, of course, but never once did anyone say, “This can’t be true, Justin couldn’t have impregnated Mariah Yeater, because he is a virgin!”
Let me be clear: I don’t actually care whether Justin Bieber is a virgin or not — not in a creepy way and definitely not in a judgmental way, either. I don’t care whether Selena Gomez is a virgin, either. That’s not anyone else’s business but theirs. (They are 17- and 19-years-old, respectively, and old enough in my book to be sexually active if they want to be.) Rather, my focus here is the complete radio silence on the matter of Justin’s virginity in a way that we would never, never, NEVER experience if the pop star we were talking about were a girl. When it comes to our expectations of famous teen boys and girls and their sexuality, Justin Bieber is the beneficiary of a hell of a lot of male privilege.
Take Jamie Lynn Spears, for instance. Britney’s little sister got knocked up at 16 years old when she was starring on Nickelodeon’s TV show, “Zoey 101.” As far as I know, Jamie Lynn had never publicly claimed to be a virgin (unlike Britney). But especially because she appeared on Nick, Jamie Lynn was considered to be a “good girl.” She’s similar to Biebs in that Justin Bieber also has a “good” image and he is only a year older than Jamie Lynn was when she got pregnant. But where there were only a few ruffles with him, Jamie Lynn was thrust into the spotlight as the new face of teen pregnancy — before Bristol Palin , actually — and was the impetus for much handwringing over Oh Noes The Kids Is Having The Sex! Everyone had something to say about that trashy Spears family, their sexed-up daughters, and “why can’t their parents keep their girls under control?”
Miley Cyrus is another young female pop star whose sexuality has been scrutinized in a way that Justin Bieber’s isn’t. Back in 2008, Miley was telling Barbara Walters she was saving herself for marriage, while at the same time photos were coming out of her bra strap showing and kissing other girls at sleepover parties and she was posing in nothing but a bedsheet alongside her father in Vanity Fair at age 15. Yes, the hypocrisy couldn’t be ignored, but it seemed like every month there were new breathless (and at times creepy) stories about Miley’s supposed sex life. Her “risqué” photos only increased in intensity over the years; she had several high-profile boyfriends; and there were even rumors that Miley and a boyfriend were planning on moving in together. Again, I personally don’t care whether or not Miley is abstainent until marriage. I don’t care if she takes goofy pictures of herself with her girlfriends. (I did that at her age, too!) I actually think if she has done all the things she’s accused of doing, that makes her a pretty normal teenage girl! The fact that we’re all intimately familiar — and, for some of us, judgmental — regarding this teen girl’s sex life is problematic.
Granted, Miley Cyrus’ image was all chipmunk-cheeked innocence and then took a sudden — and distressing, for parents and pop culture watchers alike — turn for the tarty in her late teens. (If you object to the use of the word “tarty,” look at this picture and tell me it does not look, as Amelia put it, like “an old timey whore’s suite above a saloon.”) However, Justin’s image is pretty innocent, too, despite all the “gangsta” posturing and flirting with women of all ages. That’s why I’m perplexed by the radio silence. Wouldn’t that be all the more reason that his virginity — or lack thereof — would be scrutinized? Hasn’t Justin Beiber, as a celeb marketed to tween girls, been sexually neutral, unthreatening, and virginal from the get-go? It would have seemed totally logical to me — nay, I completely expected — for Bieber to play the virgin card to exonerate himself from Mariah Yeater’s allegations.
Instead … silence.
I’m not suggesting we pry into Justin and Selena’s sex life. Or that we pry into anyone’s sex life, for that matter. I am suggesting is that we apply the same “who gives a crap?” standards to young female stars that Justin enjoys; it’s not fair that girls like Miley and Jamie Lynn get whipped up in the teen girl sexual moral panic tornado while Justin hides in the basement. There’s been nary a comment about whether or not he is “too young,” “too slutty,” or “too whatever” to be having sex. All young celebs — regardless of their gender, regardless of their age, regardless of whether they are or are not having sex — should be so privileged.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.