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September 17, 2020

Selena Gomez on the Value of Singleness

(Header image via YouTube)

YouTuber Nikkie de Taber (aka NikkieTutorials), hosted a virtual “Get Glam” interview (language) with Selena Gomez on September 6 to promote Selena’s new makeup line Rare Beauty. Selena is a prominent figure for Gen Z because of her previous role in Disney, her pop music career, and film production. In the interview, she tackles issues like beauty standards, sexuality, mental health, community, and her hope to bring people together through makeup and genuine relationships. 

NikkieTutorials has grown her makeup channel on YouTube since 2008, and now serves as a key member of the makeup community alongside big names like Jeffree Star, James Charles, RCLBeauty101, and Huda Beauty. She’s recently interviewed celebrities like Sofia Carson, Meghan Trainor, Lady Gaga, so it’s safe to say she has a substantial reach. 

Appearance vs reality 

One thing that hit close to home for Selena was the value she found in being single, although her music seems to contradict that at times. In her song “Boyfriend,” released on April 9 earlier this year, Selena gives the impression that she wants to be in a relationship:  

I want a boyfriend 

Tell me, are there any good ones left?

I keep finding wrong ones, but I want love

Again and again

From the outside, it’s easy for fans to assume Selena is lonely and needs someone in her life. But apparently this isn’t a true reflection of Selena’s personal feelings at all. In discussing the meaning behind the song, she says:

“It’s a lighthearted song about falling down and getting back up time and time again in love, but also knowing that you don’t need anyone other than yourself to be happy.”

When the song was written, Selena had been single for two years and felt that she wanted to experience love, but recognized that she didn’t need it. In the interview with NikkiTutorials, Selena talks about how she views relationships now that she’s been single for five years. 

“It’s just funny because I release things that say ‘I want a boyfriend.’ [When people mention] that, I’m like ‘No, I didn’t really mean it, though. Guys are a lot of work.’” 

But if she sings one thing but speaks another, how can we know if she’s being authentic or not? Well, we can’t. Maybe Selena felt pressured to include these lines because she thought it would help her sell more records, or maybe help her fit in better with the pop music landscape. Either way, many teens often wrestle with similar pressures to say and do things that run contrary to their character, especially when relationships are involved. But actually, as Selena goes on to say in her interview, time spent as a single person can be one of the best opportunities to integrate how we present ourselves with who we really are. 

Why singleness is actually a good thing

When Nikkie asked Selena “Is there anything else you would want to learn in life?” she replied: 

“Just getting more and more comfortable with myself. I’ve definitely spent years and years faking that I had to be a certain way for sure. The older I get the more that feeling goes away… I’ve been single for almost five years and I think this was so important to me. I wouldn’t take anything back.”

In many cases, assurance in our identity comes with personal growth and maturity. Often, our society puts a lot of pressure on having a significant other. Although being in a relationship can be wonderful, it’s not the be-all end-all of existence. For Selena, this realization allowed her to become more comfortable with herself and her journey as a single woman. 

Our culture presents romantic love as the most incredible, beautiful, and pleasurable type of love a person could ever experience. Most movies, even if they aren’t romances, have a romantic relationship as part of the storyline, as though a movie without a romantic relationship won’t hold people’s attention. Disney princess movies and shows like The Bachelor perpetuate the idea that relationships are crucial to a fulfilled life. And of course, social media can inadvertently lead us to feel as if our lives aren’t as fulfilling as those of our friends. 

What we appreciate about Selena’s stance on relationships is that she recognizes them as a good part of life, but not as the definition of a perfect life. In her time as a single woman, Selena successfully made music, produced two TV series, started a makeup line, and more. The point is, the mark of a successful life is not found in securing a significant other, although that’s often how it feels for our teens.

Biblical takeaways 

As Christians, we don’t need another person to make us complete because God is everything we need. Yet, many of us still gravitate toward a negative view of singleness. If someone is single with no prospect of change, it’s easy to see that person as less than what they could be. Despite this view, singleness is becoming more and more common in the younger generation. 

Selena shows us that sometimes we can actually understand ourselves better when romantic relationships aren’t distracting us. Ultimately, understanding ourselves and our faith before bringing in someone else can have a positive impact on our personal growth, as well as on the growth of our relationship, if one were to develop. 

If your teen is struggling with singleness, remind them that being “single” is not a defining term, even though it might feel that way when it seems everyone else has a boyfriend or girlfriend. Singleness is not simply a waiting room for marriage. The purpose of life, whether we are married or single, is to pursue, love, and obey Christ. Scripture tells us that He’s our shield and reward, the source of our deepest satisfaction, and the One who gives abundant life and joy. Do your teens believe that if God allows them to remain single forever, He can still provide them a good, desirable, and flourishing life?

It might be hard to accept this, but if we think we need to be in a romantic relationship to have a complete life, then we are revealing what is actually lord of our lives. We’re saying, “I will follow Christ as long as He gives me what I want [a significant other]. If I can’t, it’s not worth it.” We need to take Jesus seriously when He tells us to count the cost of following Him. Then we should ask ourselves if we agree with Paul in Philippians 3 when he says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” And yes, “all things” includes marriage, romance, and sex. When we evaluate these things within ourselves, we can better teach our kids to prioritize Jesus in their lives. 

Discussion questions 

  1. Did you watch NikkieTutorials’ interview with Selena Gomez? 
  2. What did you agree/disagree with in the interview? 
  3. Do you think celebrities should separate their personal lives from their professional lives? Why or why not? 
  4. Do you feel secure in your identity? Why or why not? 
  5. How does your sense of identity affect your faith? 
  6. Do you feel like you are transparent with others? Why or why not? 
  7. Do you think there is value in being single? Why or why not?  
  8. What do you think about Selena’s view of singleness? Why? 
  9. In what ways does God help us understand our identity?

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