I am pissed. Pissed in the traditional sense (I have been drinking beer on a sofa all afternoon, in my knickers) but mostly in the American, angry sense. I’m in Brooklyn and drowning in jetlag and 30 degree heat, and it doesn’t take much to irk me – but I’m really fucking irked by the way that the media shitstorm has not calmed down and got reasonable after a MONTH. We’re still talking about the Kristen Stewart thing.
She’s not exactly media friendly. The movie that shot her into the celebrity stratosphere is a movie series beloved by tween and teen girls – not a demographic that is known for supporting and celebrating other women. Especially not women who are dating their most favourite sparkly vampiric porcelain skinned British crush man, R Patz. And she’s notoriously awkward. When I was a baby journo intern and she was a film star to be, I interviewed her and found the whole thing so tricky that I burst into tears immediately afterwards. (I speak a very archaic brand of British English, it was on a fuzzy phone line and she understood none of my questions). But she’s 22. She’s 22 and been with the same dude since she was 18 and she hooked up with an older, married colleague and now everyone hates her. Her boyfriend hates her, her colleague’s wife hates her – apparently even her family hates her. Left leaning liberal friends who are sound in mind and body and only read the Daily Mail side bar of doom in a “wry” way – they hate her too. Even though she’s never made them cry. Can we give the chick a break?
How can it be that the most reasonable people in the world are falling over themselves to call Kristen a harlot and a homewrecker, when Rupert “married with two kids and nearly twice Kristen’s age” Sands is getting perhaps ten to five per cent of the vitriol? In the first week following Kristen-and-Rupert-In-The-Back-Of-A-Mini-K-I-S-S-I-N-G-gate, I read EIGHT pieces on whether she’ll be able to salvage her career. Prognosis: Doubtful. Less has been written about Chris Brown “salvaging” his career in the last three years. The same Chris Brown who hospitalised his girlfriend. In fact, I think I’ve read more about Rihanna “sending out a bad message to fans” by “taking him back” than I’ve read about Chris Brown and how he should be stopped from making any music that isn’t Jailhouse Rock.
The ongoing Kristen saga has made me think about how feminism is faltering. I may dress like a WASP punk but I have the heart of a hippy, and I really just want us all to love each other and be kind to each other. Sure, you should yell at people for finishing the cheese and having bad driving manners. It’s fine to hate on people who describe themselves as “crazy and random!” or those who make faces when you reference reality shows and say “I don’t really watch TV. Only BBC4 and documentaries.” But women who hate on other women for “betraying the sisterhood”? NO! THAT IS THE MOST ANTI FEMINIST THING OF ALL!
I’m going to add to the Kristen conjecture by saying that I think that whatever happened between her and Rupert was born out of passion, not meanness. I think that one of them looked at the other and they both thought “I know this is completely wrong and inappropriate, but if I don’t feel your lips on mine soon my skin will fall off and I shall catch on fire.” I don’t think Kristen ever thought “how can I really upset that nice Liberty Ross and all the teenagers who fancy my boyfriend?”
We’ve all said we’d never cheat. We’ve probably all also said we’d never smoke a cigarette, have an abortion or bone a guy whose surname we didn’t know. If having and living by lofty principles makes you happy, that’s awesome. If it makes you feel superior to everyone who doesn’t and fails and makes mistakes and does the wrong thing occasionally, you can go and suck a big bag of dicks. I’ve cheated, and I’ve been cheated on, and it always ended up in sadness, hurt and complications – but it was never borne out of any of those things. As long as people fancy each other, people will cheat. It doesn’t make me sad or anxious about humanity.
You know what does make me sad and anxious about humanity? The way we judge each other. The way we criticize and condemn before we relate and empathise. And that’s what makes me worry about feminism and moving forward. I don’t want to be part of a sisterhood who will go full Hester Prynne on someone who snogs my boyfriend. I want to be part of a joyful, forgiving, broad, gin based kind of feminism that will not throw me out for my fuck ups. If after reading this you’re still going full Judge (that) Dredd (ful Kristen), I urge you to go out and get off with someone who makes you feel like you might catch on fire if you don’t kiss them.
@NotRollergirl is a freelance funnywoman and writerlady. She’s the women’s editor over on Sabotage Times (where she writes a ridiculously popular column on Made in Chelsea), she writes books, and she knows all the words to ABBA’s entire collection. Follow her on Twitter (recommended for daily giggles).