thoughts on justin bieber's eyebrow piercing
Biebs looks like he’s just discovered ska and is about to roll up a blunt.
Justin Bieber is constantly doing things that surprise us. Remember when he sang about sitting in front of a fire eating fondue (“swaggy”)? Then there was that instance where he got in legal trouble for throwing eggs his neighbour’s house. Even recently, after Donald Trump tweeted that he was involving himself in A$AP Rocky’s current incarceration in Sweden, the Biebs, rather smoothly, admonished the current President’s penchant for locking up migrant children in cages.
He's always keeping us on our toes. And now he's done it again. Although this time the surprise involves his face. More specifically, Biebs has got himself an eyebrow piercing.
I hear you: there’s nothing particularly revelatory about getting a piercing, right? Wrong! Especially when that piercing makes you look like you’re a 90s exchange student who wears his backpack on his front. But, before we get into all that, let’s take a closer look at the reveal photo shall we?
While beady-eyed Beliebers might have spotted that Justin had something on his eyebrow on an earlier photo (it looks like a dead pixel on my screen tbh), the Biebs later shared a close up of his new metallic appendage.
Dappled in sunlight, with his arm resting casually behind his head, JB tilts his head a little to the left. He boldly displays the two tiny metal balls that now sit on the top and bottom of his right eyebrow piercing. Perhaps the image is supposed to show the singer relaxed, sunbathing with the arrival of his new silvery friend. Instead, there’s an almost pained look in his eyes, as if he’s just been suckerpunched in the face. This isn’t aided by the addition of a grill, which Page Six helpfully explained was a custom piece by GoldTeethGod and “features three rows of chunky diamonds”. Regardless, all the picture is missing is a nice shiner.
Now, Justin Bieber isn’t really known for his fashion prowess. We can vividly remember when his looks involved drop-crotched pleather trousers and vests, leaving him looking like a wannabe biker wearing a diaper. Last year he adopted the scumbro look, an unsightly amalgamation of the college bro aesthetic and high-end streetwear. When Bieber grew out his hair in what can only have been an attempt at Big Lebowski cosplay (which GQ later dubbed dirtcore), he ended up looking like a greasy trucker.
However, since he shaved off his golden mullet in October, he seems to have been making somewhat of an effort to clean his act up. Thankfully, there haven’t been too many outings of his staple oversized basketball shorts, and I haven’t seen anything with a dropped crotch for a long time.But with the eyebrow piercing, it seems that any reformation Justin Bieber underwent in the last few months has been undone. In the piercing reveal picture, he looks like he’s just discovered ska and is about to roll up a blunt.
Once, not too long ago, there wasn’t anything wrong with eyebrow piercings. In the history of piercings, it is, in fact, a relatively recent invention. According to Piercing Mania, it was during the 1970s when this particular strain of body modification became prominent. It was an era of punk, brimming with anti-establishment ideologies and red hair.
However, the eyebrow piercing was soon bastardised. While scene kids and rockers kept the punk spirit alive, backpackers and sweaty teenagers in the late 90s and early 00s made those sporting one look like they’d just got separated from their tour group and been sequestered in Camden Market for two weeks.
Justin Bieber’s eyebrow piercing, with his wispy facial hair, generic good looks and an aura that gives off unwashed-at-a-festival vibes, definitely has the impression of someone backpacking through Europe and sharing their current pitstop on their dedicated travelling Instagram account. All that’s missing is a caption about how great the weather is in Rome and how he met some girls from Australia who are staying at his hostel.
The eyebrow piercing isn’t the apparel of popstars, even one with a penchant for scuzzy fashion choices. But there is something endearing about imagining Justin Bieber, reclining in his multi-million dollar mansion, listening to My Chemical Romance, his piercing a subtle but important nod to the emo kid he is inside.
Or maybe the piercing is a gateway for the Biebs, a way for him to experience some of those rash and impulsive youthful decisions we all make when we’re either in a foreign country or attempting to assert some sort of control over our lives as teenagers. As a child star and teen heartthrob, he was never given the anonymity to walk around a far off country in a pair of rotting espadrilles. Perhaps Bieber is sticking his hand into the hat of the past and pulling out some anti-establishment for himself.
In another image shared on his Instagram, a paparazzi picture taken from his right hand side, you can see the piercing from a new angle. In fact, Justin liked the picture so much, he shared it three times in three different tones. Paired with a flat-brimmed backwards baseball cap, his patchy facial hair and bronzed Californian tan, he’s a little reminiscent of Fred Durst. It’s an unwelcome throwback. But then given Justin Bieber’s history, perhaps that’s the point.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.