Selena Gomez's latest music video has been met with a mix of confusion and jokes about its surreal imagery, which includes the singer eating soap, among other things. But amidst all the commentary, this one tweet about Gomez's "Fetish" video seems to capture the true meaning behind this dark departure for the artist, and will make you see the bigger picture behind the shocking scenes. Jokes about Gomez eating soap are actually offensive, since "Fetish" is a song about addiction, first and foremost, and the startling ways it can manifest itself.
Twitter user @cyphermila nails the deeper message that some people seem to be missing when tweeting:
Mental health issues are important to Gomez. In 2016, the singer took a break to deal with side effects from her struggle with lupus, including anxiety and depression. It's clear both from the lyrics and the content of "Fetish" that it's a song about dealing with dangerous and obsessive behaviors. When faced with something you may not entirely understand or something that makes you uncomfortable, humor can be a coping mechanism. But it's important not to miss the larger message behind the video simply because it's easier to mock the sometimes-disturbing visuals than to truly let them sit with you.
selena made a mv about mental health and yall out here laughing and hating on her bc she ate soap— ً (@cyphermiIa) July 26, 2017
The lyrics focus on an unhealthy relationship, wherein love itself has become an addiction. Rather than show the toxic nature of the relationship through typical scenes of a couple falling apart or hurting one another, Gomez juxtaposes her words with obsessive acts of self-harm. It may look funny to see someone bite into a bar of soap, but it falls under a category of eating disorders known as pica. In fact, all of the behaviors Gomez includes in "Fetish" are real mental health issues some people deal with every day.
Frankly, "Fetish" is hard to watch. Being confronted with such frank depictions of mental illness in a music video is jarring, but there's nothing humorous about it. There's no doubt that this is much darker territory than you might expect from Gomez, but "Fetish" proves once again that the artist should be taken seriously. If you just listen to the lyrics, the song could be mistaken for a sultry, pop anthem — albeit one with a heavy theme — but through the weight of the video's content, Gomez makes a powerful statement about the many different ways mental health issues can affect people.
If discomfort and misunderstanding made you laugh at "Fetish" the first time you viewed the video, watch it again. Don't be afraid of looking past the surface to see the true meaning. There's nothing easy or funny about Gomez's latest effort, but there's power in it that could help viewers have a better understanding of the different ways obsessive behaviors can affect a person's life and well-being. Laughing may be the easiest response, but that doesn't mean it's the best one.