Dear KStew: I don't mean to be sexist, but...
Last week a woman named Jenny Erikson posted an article on The Stir about actress Kristen Stewart with a headline claiming that she “will never get Rob back dressed like this.” Below was a photo of Stewart walking down the street in casual clothes—skinny jeans, gray t-shirt, denim jacket, and a baseball cap—and the opening sentence “Not that a woman should ever have to look a certain way for a man to like her, but come on.” Simultaneously sexist and contradictory—always a winning combination.
Erikson spends the post criticizing Stewart quite literally from head to toe, noting her “unflattering” clothes and lack of both mascara and a smile. While wardrobe opinions are highly subjective (and really, the joke is on Erikson, because most of K-Stew’s outfits are aggressively appreciated by queer girls across the galaxy), the smile comment may be in even poorer taste. Stewart is a loud and proud feminist, a damn good actor, and only makes tabloid and magazine headlines during her “breakups” with Pattinson—and yet the Internet continues to heckle her simply because she Never Fucking Smiles.
That’s not even the worst it gets. She “has a habit of preferring comfort to glam,” the article says, “so much so that the lesbian rumors are by now old and tired—but there’s no reason why you can’t be relaxed and pretty at the same time.” While the first part of this blurb is harmless, the rest is absolutely gross: Erikson not only suggests that any girl who likes comfy clothes is probably gay, but also that women are expected, have an obligation, to always look appealing to the general public, and more specifically, its male members.
(Ironically, Erikson includes a side note that asks “Who decided that lesbians like to dress like grungy hipsters? Let’s all take a collective sigh for stereotypes, shall we?” Pardon me, but you’re the one who’s choosing to perpetuate the stereotype by mentioning the “lesbian rumors” in an article about the clothes she wears, when you could have just as easily kept the subject on your petty critiques.)
“Kristen is such a naturally gorgeous young woman,” she goes on to say, “and I can only guess she’s making a statement that she’s so cool she doesn’t even care that she’s flawlessly beautiful.” Or maybe she’s just, y’know, wearing what she wants to wear. But Erikson isn’t done yet: “We get it, Kristen. You’re edgy and cool for not caring about being fashionable all the time.” While Stewart isn’t one to shy away from flipping off paparazzi, wearing jeans and a t-shirt is hardly an eff-you to Beauty; I personally think she rocks the casual look, and I’m glad she stays true to her own style rather than *cough* conforming to Hollywood’s virtually unattainable model of perfection *cough*. “Now can you please put on some flattering clothes and lip gloss before grunge starts trending again?”
You are physically perfect, Kristen, and even though I am not a friend, family member, or romantic partner, I am reminding you to provide constant visual proof of this perfection, because those are the rules.
You don’t know Kristen Stewart. You haven’t met the person she is off-camera, you have no idea what’s happening in her private life at any given moment, and you don’t have the official data on her facial expression ratio. All you know is your (shitty) perception of one instant out of infinite instances; and so what if she’s not smiling, or not wearing any makeup, or not strolling down the sidewalk in an Oscars-worthy ball gown and high-heels? She’s a human being who’s doing what she wants, and as long as it’s not hurting you, it’s none of your damn business.