By Jasmin Jani
Artwork by Guneet Hanjra
Celebrity Hailey Bieber sparks the discussion on nepotism as she steps into the public eye wearing the "nepo baby" title.
On January 6 in Los Angeles, American model Hailey Bieber was seen wearing a T-shirt that had the slogan “nepo baby” written on it. The phrase is short for nepotism baby, which is a slang term to describe a famous child of a successful person in the entertainment industry. Bieber’s self-proclamation of the slogan is in reference to her father, the very well-known actor, producer and director, Stephen Baldwin.
Social media is predominantly supportive of Bieber’s bold statement with people using slang such as “slay” or saying she is “real for that” to describe her choice to wear the T-shirt. However, some users are also ridiculing her choice to flaunt her father’s success. Some attribute the harsh critique as a result of media's impact.
“I do think social media has made bullying of celebrities a lot worse because of all the websites saying this celebrity did this, this celebrity did that,” seventh grader Gauri Nair said. “It’s okay that she is wearing the shirt, there are a bunch of people saying that she shouldn’t accept the title, but they’re the ones who gave it to her.”
“Celebrities are normal people trying to accomplish their goals. There is always something on the news about doing or saying something minor that would be looked over if it was a regular person,” seventh grader Leah John said.
Students at New Hyde Park explore the nuances behind what it means to be born to famous parents and where one can draw the line between hard work and exploitation.
“I feel that some nepo babies do deserve their success because they work hard, while others just use their parents' skill and fame to get where they are,” eighth grader Hedia Ninan said.
“I think that while she probably meant no harm by it, the term ‘nepo baby’ is a buzzword and a very sensitive topic for some,” junior Kaitlyn Bell said. “Considering Hailey Beiber’s influential status, as well as that some think that she has double nepotism privilege, there is not a doubt in my mind that wearing that shirt was very insensitive, but I do think that the whole situation is overhyped.”
The general public is split on if Hailey Bieber’s T-shirt was a powerful statement or a negative title to accept. However, it appears that people agree that Bieber is coming to terms with her “nepo baby” title.