Justin Bieber — for years described as too fey, too gay, too meh — is proud of his hard-won body.
Newly defined and not at all inclined to hide it, the 19-year-old has worked for his taut physique and is clearly as delighted as his fans are with the relentless roll-out of ‘Buff Biebs’ Instagrams.
Generously sharing not one, but two, shirtless selfies on Monday — although they were taken at his Sunday (June 30) Denver show — the illustrated teen shows no signs of peaking just yet.
Doubtless there are those who won’t and don’t approve of what could be thought of as shameless narcissism.
But, another perspective is that Bieber is simply enjoying his youth and even perhaps knows that the window for tattooed torso-baring will one day close, and what is crazy, sexy, cool at 19 will wear thin, weird, and very possibly unsightly from say, 39 onward.
Well known for his love of all things tech, Bieber has been connecting with his ‘Beliebers’ on social media for years. First on YouTube where he became an Internet star and more so after he exploded onto the real world stage at 15, although he was discovered by manager Scooter Braun around two years before that.
Utilizing the platforms of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube VEVO channel, and Instagram, the pop star’s super-quick take to the latter’s new video feature was really just more of the same reaching out.
Sometimes the Canadian is light with it, dishing out shirtless goodies to his mostly young, female fans. At other times he uses new media to say something as he did back in March, posting waves of tweets and an Instagram that fired back at what he felt were unfair media criticisms of incidents that occurred during the London leg of his Believe world tour.
The “Baby” singer is growing up and making that time-honored, difficult transition from child star to adult. In his almost Truman show-like existence, exploring a fascination with his changing body and sharing it with millions probably feels very normal to him.
So far, it’s been a rum old 2013 for the teen star. After a widely reported break-up with Selena Gomez last December, Bieber told Billboard in their January cover story: “I’m not in the happiest place that I’ve ever been. I’m trying to get through what I’m going through.”
At that point the singer was already three months into his tour, kicked off inauspiciously on September 29, 2012 with a bad case of onstage blues. Fast forward through a string of on and off tour incidents — some of which are alleged — and he seems to have arrived on the other side of a steep learning curve in reflective but healthily, defiant form.
Juxtaposing shirtless Instagrams and 15-second mini-movies on one hand, to deeper observations on Twitter about the media, life, and knowing “who you are” on the other, it would appear Bieber is more complex than many previously thought.
Both he and Braun are “hoping the witch hunt” will end with the debut of his single “Heartbreaker” and the upcoming new album, when the Biebs will speak for himself about his unprecedented year via his music.
So, until then, fill your boots with the harmless pleasures of shirtless six-packs. Because this young man is about to get real serious, real soon.
[Image via Teen Vogue]