Twilight star Kristen Stewart is experiencing first hand the perils of fame. And worse: being a famous woman.
If you've been disconnected from the pop-culture portion of the Internet for the last few weeks, here's the deal: Kristen had an affair with her married Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders.
And hey, look at that: The way we structed that sentence — putting the focus on Kristen having an affair — is exactly why Kristen is reportedly pissed off.
TMZ reported today that sources close to Kristen say the star is upset that the media and public are directing most of their outrage at her. According to TMZ, Kristen is worried that her reputation has been irreparably damaged by the affair, while Rupert Sanders has gotten off relatively scott free.
There's no question that Kristen has gotten more hate from the public than Rupert, and there's equally no question that it's backwards. Yes, she cheated on Robert Pattinson, which is not admirable. But Rupert Sanders cheated on his wife and the mother of his two children. She destroyed a relationship. He destroyed his own family.
So why the disproportionate levels of criticism?
We think there's a two-pronged explanation. As Jodie Foster pointed out in a beautifully penned open letter, the amount of scrutiny modern stars are put under is beyond ridiculous. In many ways, Kristen is paying the price of fame. Rupert Sanders is married, he is much older, and he was in a position of power over her as director, but none of that matters as much as the fact that Kristen Stewart's name is recognizable and his is not.
Kristen already had a fanbase that now has to reconcile themselves with their idol's mistakes; she also already had a legion of people who disliked her work and were more than happy to see her fail. No one cares when some random director cheats, unless it's with one of Hollywood's hottest "it" girls.
But the sad fact of the matter is that the explanation isn't as simple as that. There's another, more insidious layer to the hate. Hollywood, the media, the world holds women to a different standard than men.
It's why more anger was thrown at Angelina than Brad Pitt when he and Jennifer Aniston split. It's why women who sleep around are likely to be labeled as "sluts" while men who do it are just "playboys." It's why Kristen has to be worried about her reputation when guys like Chris Brown (assaulted Rihanna), Charlie Sheen (assaulted his wife, had a public meltdown), and Roman Polanski (sexually assaulted a minor) are welcomed back into the Hollywood fold with surprising ease.
Of course, we have a feeling that Kristen will survive this bump in the road. Her career is far from over, and one day the world will look back on this and wonder why they cared so much.
But for now, it's worth thinking about why Kristen is getting raked over the coals, and Rupert is just the random jerk she cheated with.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaMartin47.
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