Say what you will about Justin Bieber, he can sing a catchy tune, but it wasn't until I sang along with "What Do You Mean" on the car radio for the seventh time that I rewound the lyrics in my mind, tilted my head like my border collie does, and went, "Huh?"
When you nod your head yes
But you wanna say no
What do you mean?
When you don't want me to move
But you tell me to go
What do you mean?
Hey, Justin, protip: if she wants to say no, she means no. If she tells you to go, she means go now. When you follow that up with a warning, "Better make up your mind," we'd like to suggest that she already did.
I've counted four official videos from the Beebs for this song, but the most popular one is also the most troubling. Justin meets John Leguizamo (?!) in the dark and pays him a wad of cash to KIDNAP his girlfriend (the one giving him those troubling and difficult signs).
These nice fellows throw her in the back of a car, taking her God only knows where. (Oh, Justin, you may not know this but statistics for assault victims transported a secondary location are dismally low. At IMPACT, we train students to never comply with a demand to move to a secondary location.)
Cuddling with boo in the trunk
But never fear! It turns out they're tied up in a creepy warehouse (as if there's any other kind).
Here Justin saves the day and pressures her into jumping several stories into the dark, where they land on a fun bounce-house cushion. The girl is appropriately grateful, has fun at the skating party that bumps off, and, presumably, later gives Justin the reward she was so cruelly withholding earlier in the evening.
All this, for me?
To recap: Justin is told No but is confused. In order to convince her he means her no harm, he pays men to traumatize her in order to play her hero and look good in comparison. In a moment of intimacy, when she is most frightened, he asks her "Do you trust me?" With no other choice but certain death, she decides she has to.
Rape culture has never been so catchy.