by Cora Quigley
By now I’m sure everyone has heard of the drama that is the Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson break up. In spite of how much you may not even care, it’s there. Everywhere you look it’s hard to avoid the scandalous and probably made up details of the affair between K-Stew and her Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders. It has been almost a month already since the news broke and the speculation surrounding her is relentless; the vilification of the woman is endless. Also, I’m unsure if the Twihards devastated screams of “ROBSTEN, NOOOO!” will ever end, quite frankly. While it can be easy to cackle at the sheer amount of melodrama surrounding the situation (and boy, have I cackled!), it is interesting to note how much Kristen is bearing the brunt of the blame in this whole situation. Of course, what she did was terrible, no doubt about it. However the ratio of articles out there screaming about what a whore Kristen is far outweigh the amount written about Rupert Sanders and what a horrible husband and father he has been, and how as someone twenty years Kristen’s senior should have known better. Kristen’s career seems to be taking the fall too, not only has she been dropped from upcoming film ‘Cali’, but she seems to have been dropped from the sequel to Snow White, despite the fact that Sanders will no longer be directing. It is now simply a spin off focusing on the Huntsman. This isn’t the first time that sexist double standards have arisen in Hollywood, and surely won’t be the last. Women who engage in illicit affairs have been vilified long before Kristen, what follows are just a handful of examples.
Bergman’s treatment following the exposition of her affair with director and married, Roberto Rossellini, is probably the most extreme example of this double standard in Hollywood. After it was revealed that the (also very married) Swedish star had fallen pregnant, outrage travelled like wildfire as far as the US senate who voted to have her exiled for her heinous sluttery. Yes, exiled. This forced her to stay in Europe until 1956.
Following her affair with Russell Crowe on the set of the 2000 film ‘Proof of Life’, Meg Ryan’s career took a nosedive as well as the destruction of her girl-next- door image and her reputation in the general media. Here we have another clear case of the woman bearing the brunt of the criticism in a situation that involves more than one guilty party. Even after Meg Ryan revealed that her ex-husband, Dennis Quaid, had often strayed during their marriage her reputation has never quite been salvaged, likewise her career as an A-list actress.
Who doesn’t know about the epic shit storm that was the beginning of Brangelina? Even after 7 years, the gossip rags are incessant in their shit stirring. More often than not they portray Jennifer Aniston as the angelic woman scorned and Angelina as the sultry home wrecker, despite the fact that Angelina and Brad deny that they even had an affair whilst he was married to Jennifer. Apparently Angelina and Jennifer are engaged in some sort of quarrel all the time, you know, ‘cuz bitches be crazy. Brad Pitt apparently has no part in any of this, he’s just some passive victim of circumstance. And let us not forget about Angelina’s continual jealous rages! Girl has got issues (allegedly).
Famous actors whose careers and reputations were relatively untouched by illicit affairs include Jack Nicholson, Woody Allen and Hugh Grant. Sure, there was somewhat of a kerfuffle when the news first broke, but can you imagine a woman in a similar position to Woody Allen having the same kind of prolific career following a scandal such as running off with their spouse’s adopted child? I’m not so sure I can.
So, what is the reason for such a double standard? Well quite frankly it is the old age problem of sexism, Hollywood may not be shipping their scarlet women to Europe anymore, but the misogyny is still there but in a far more subtle way. The disparagement of Kristen Stewart also comes from a place where she is seen as interchangeable with the character of Bella Swan who she portrays in the ‘Twilight’ series. The books and movies have been criticised before for its promotion of its archaic roles for women and abusive relationships and also everything mentioned here. Like Bella, Kristen is expected to be pure and dedicate herself fully to the needs of her partner. Let’s face it; the standards for your average Hollywood couple aren’t much different. While there’s still a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude when it comes to a male sex scandal, if a woman behaves in a similar manner it’s seen as horrific and just plain unnatural. The consequences of Kristen’s behaviour were twofold; it will be interesting to see how long she will be paying for it with her career.