Low-rise is back, The Hills is rebooted, and Vine-reiteration Tik Tok is flooded with videos of young women transforming themselves into ‘Y2K girls’ in mere seconds. If you’re still unconvinced, or in the unlikely event you don’t follow one of the legions of Instagram accounts dedicated to nostalgically documenting the previous decade, Justin Bieber’s new eyebrow piercing is here to offer a PSA: we’re re-living the early 2000s.
Oh yes. A clear advocate for the Jackass-era (i.e. SoCal skater bro with a trust fund and coke problem) with his personal style, Bieber took his baggy shorts-aesthetic one step further with some new bling. Taking to Instagram the pop star showcased diamond grills on his bottom teeth and, of course, a vertical studded brow.
This is not just any eyebrow piercing, it’s Fergie: the solo act. It’s Avril Lavigne inventing punk. Hell, it’s a pre-problematic casting-Scarlett Johanssen. In the words of Jaden Smith, who commented on Bieber’s post: “Oh okay baby lookin good.”
Eyebrow piercings were allegedly invented—like all discoveries—via DIY experimentation when the punk movement began gaining traction in the late 70s, before experiencing a rolling renaissance of sorts from the late ’90s onwards. It’s difficult to pinpoint when they peaked in popularity, but an influx of celebrities began embracing the trend around the mid 00s, when facial modification signified an edginess for (often) privileged white teens from the Coasts.
And for stars, obscure face piercings meant rebellion from the squeaky clean, cookie-cutter All-American image of the millennium entertainers. In 2004, we were facing a second term for Bush, Britney Spears was marrying her back-up dancer on a whim in Vegas chapel—then only several years from brutally altering her own appearance—Christina Aguilera had her labret (between chin and lower lip pierced), as well as a stud in her nose. Rising singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse had a monroe.
The eyebrow piercing, an apparent favorite of those hoping to communicate a couldn’t-care-less, ‘fuck authority’ attitude, is perhaps making a comeback for that same reason. Shia LaBeouf, former star of Disney smash-hit series Even Stevens as well as the popular Transfomers franchise, now has one. He also wore an “I’m Not Famous Anymore” paper bag over his head and grew a raggedy ponytail. And now, so too does Justin Bieber, teen heart-throb and international pop star who also lost a monkey, peed in a bucket and wrote an album about being sorry. The message is clear: I’m done.
It’s Trump’s America, after all.