A Cultural Reset: Why We Stopped Hating JoJo Siwa

By: Miranda Knowles

Although she is adored by younger audiences, Jojo Siwa was once the center of hatred among GenZ teenagers. With her energetic personality and youthful way of dressing, she received thousands of hate comments expressing their detestation towards her “toddler-like” demeanor. They attacked her for her hairline, voice, and “annoying” personality. Many of her haters did not understand why she was ever famous. Fast forward to today, these same teenagers have come to respect her. Instead of commenting that her sparkly outfits are “way too old” for her, they instead comment that they admire her uniqueness. So what changed?

Jojo Siwa began her stardom at the young age of nine-years-old on the hit series Dance Moms in 2013. After leaving in 2016, she began her own career when she signed a contract with Nickelodeon and released the hit single Boomerang, which was wildly successful. She appeared on a variety of Nickelodeon TV shows but ultimately enjoyed singing more than acting. In 2019, she performed nationwide for the D.R.E.A.M. Tour. Siwa became widely popular for her individuality and confidence which struck the hearts of her preteen audience.

When Siwa came out to the public as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, they began viewing her in a more positive light. She officially came out on January 20, 2021, when she posted a TikTok video in which she lip sang to Born This Way by Lady Gaga. She received almost 300k comments that supported her new membership in the LGBTQ+ community. These comments mostly consisted of positive feedback from her peers who admired her for being herself. Within the past few years, it has become much more culturally acceptable for people to be members of this community. She gained a lot more support and new fans as she became the symbol of uniqueness and made being yourself a trend. We need more celebrities like Siwa to bring self-acceptance to preteens and teens as they navigate this new era of expectations put on them.

In this day in age, they are expected to look far older than their actual age. Many became frustrated when Siwa would wear clothes that were not “in style”. Her onstage appearance typically matched the outfits she would wear offstage which angered her haters. More recently, she has begun wearing more accepted outfits among the teenage population. Don’t get me wrong, she definitely still adds her own flair to these outfits, but many began watching her grow up as she changed up her style. Not only has she changed her clothes, but she also changed her hairstyle. She went from wearing a tight side-ponytail (with the iconic bow) to letting her hair down and styling it. Between these two major changes, the public has become in awe of her glow up.

It became very apparent to the public that Jojo was growing up to be a beautiful and unique young woman when she collaborated with James Charles on a makeover Youtube video, where he completely transformed her from the typical pop star we were used to seeing into a model-like individual. Seeing Siwa with the same personality, but with a total makeover really captivated her audience. Instead of hating her for her differences, they began falling in love with her.

As she grew up, so did the people harassing her online. Her primary audience of haters were thirteen and fourteen-year-olds who were unsure of their own identities. Meanwhile, Siwa was ahead of the game in embracing her true self, which angered her peers. Now, those same people have become more secure in their own skin, and, therefore, less concerned about the way that others like Siwa expressed themselves.

Ultimately, Siwa became a symbol of individuality among all audiences. No matter how others felt about her, she continued to be herself.

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