The media stoning of Kristen Stewart, of Twilight fame, has been going on for about four weeks now. About a month ago, she was pictured having a fling, which she called a “momentary indiscretion,” with the married director of Snow White and the Huntsman, Rupert Sanders. What she did was wrong, she apologized, and it seems as though she’s been in hiding for a few weeks. She’s been branded a “slut,” a “whore,” and a “trampire” mostly by women, but also by a couple famous men. It’s all very disheartening to watch. Time and again, we get a chance, as a society, to prove we’re not petty and spiteful and we fail miserably.
Who is this young woman who could garner all of this attention over a common misstep? The first time I came across Kristen was in Panic Room (2002), with Jodie Foster, directed by David Fincher. I thought to myself that this kid has a natural talent and I hope to see her again. Fast forward to 2008, a best-selling young adult novel, named Twilight, gets adapted into a movie and Kristen Stewart becomes a household name, with millions of adoring fans and an equally adored co-star in Robert Pattinson.
Underneath all of the adoration was something sinister – obsession. These books and the couple within, Isabella Swan and Edward Cullen, have touched a chord with millions of adult women and young girls. The story of first love that eventually becomes eternal love is a very sentimental one. Needless to say, most of us don’t marry our first loves and those of us that do end up divorced, in many cases. Therefore, living this fantasy through Isabella, or “Bella,” made for hours of vicarious thrills and it sparked our imagination. There are hundreds of thousands of fan fiction stories based on the Twilight books and movies. Some amateur authors have even gone on to be best-sellers in their own right with stories inspired by this fictional romance.
Robert Pattinson embodied that perfect first-love and for many women he became Edward Cullen. They failed to separate the actor from the character. So, when he chose Kristen Stewart to give his devotion to off-screen, many women turned against her. They began to attack everything from the way she breathes, to her acting. She was never good enough for their flesh and blood Edward Cullen. She wasn’t “classy” enough; she flipped the paparazzi off and she slouched.
Unfortunately, the woman who didn’t deserve him in the first place, in their minds, cheated on him.
“How dare she?”
“How could she?”
“Isn’t she grateful?”
Those are the words coming from parts of the fandom that are either obsessed with Robert or obsessed with their relationship. Sure, there are some who are genuinely disappointed in her for sleeping with a married man, but I don’t think that’s what’s fueling the hate bomb. What makes them so angry is that she “threw away” something that they wanted. It didn’t matter that they were lusting after her boyfriend, or even that they were married and/or old enough to be his mother. She was “ungrateful” and the media latched onto the hate and ran with it. After all, all they care about are ratings, magazine sells, and internet clicks. They don’t really care about “the victims,” or they wouldn’t have ever released those pictures to the world.
I realized that I was overly invested in Kristen Stewart’s life when I became mad at the backlash. It felt like it was happening to me. Granted, there are many things about Kristen that I relate to, i.e. her social awkwardness, her desire to be her real self all of the time, her passion for her work. I’ve become less awkward as I’ve gotten older, but I can definitely relate to her. The reason why gossip sells is the same reason why fantasy fiction does so well; people don’t want to deal with their own issues. So, I’ll wait patiently for the next Kristen Stewart movie (I love her acting), let her have a personal life, and deal with my own issues. As a fan, I think that’s the least I can do.
Amy Theus is 39-year-old woman from the Southwest, with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and an MBA, who writes as a hobby.