Much hay is being made of Kristen Stewart's ("Bella" in the Twilight movies) comments to British Elle magazine about the perils of fame. This one in particular:
On the paparazzi: "What you don't see are the cameras shoved in my face and the bizarre intrusive questions being asked, or the people falling over themselves, screaming and taunting to get a reaction. The photos are so... I feel like I'm looking at someone being raped. A lot of the time I can't handle it. It's f***ed. I never expected that this would be my life."
For starters, HuffPo's sensational headline ("Kristen Stewart in Elle UK: Fame Is Like Rape") isn't entirely accurate. She actually says when she look at *pictures* of herself it's like she's *looking* at someone being...oh, what do you know. I guess that is what she said. In other words, taunting a celebrity is tantamount to assault. Apparently I need to apologize to Ted Danson.
Now, it's pretty clear that nobody -- not uncouth commenters on gossip blogs nor the slightly-less-uncouth writers of said gossip blogs -- are in any position to speak about Stewart's actual understanding of sexual assault. I sincerely hope she has no first-hand knowledge of it, and would just as sincerely like to suggest that if she finds the celebrity experience that intrusive and horrifying, maybe she should, you know, quit.
It isn't like they couldn't find a new actress to play Bella, or that there are any lack of wannabe starlets who'd give any available firstborn children for the chance to do so. It's not common, but actors do leave in mid-franchise, and if the situation for Stewart has become such that she "can't handle it," perhaps removing herself from the source of aggravation, at least for a while, might be in order.
Maybe she could move to England and hang out with the Harry Potter kids. They seem fairly well-adjusted.
Stewart's reaching her apogee of fame at possibly the worst time in history for a young star. There really are few limits placed on the paparazzi, and embarrassing photos/footage of young Hollywood are the new currency of the realm, as she herself found out a couple years back. I'm sure it sucks to have absolutely no expectation of privacy.
Here's the thing, though. Stewart's 20 years old; she's never known a world without Entertainment Tonight or US Magazine and probably can't remember when the Drudge Report wasn't around. She's been acting since she was nine, which makes her protestations that she was unaware of the pervasiveness of celebrity obsession in our society a little hard to swallow. The Twilight stars are just the latest in a rich line of stalking subjects dating back to Sean Penn and Madonna. It's perhaps unrealistic to expect her to resort to full-on Howard Hughes mode until the release of the second Breaking Dawn movie, but there are other places to live besides Los Angeles.
And it isn't like she doesn't play the game herself. Granted, the photographers who hound her steps day and night share the blame, but Stewart has been a willing participant in their shenanigans on plenty of occasions.
More funny (to a masochist like myself who actually reads the comments on these pieces) are the people decrying the "haters" who -- apparently -- just resent Stewart for her fame, Because "hatred" for her and her success is the only possible reason anyone would react negatively to her comments, not because she compared some mean old photographer sticking a camera in her face and shouting "rude" questions about her relationship with her co-star (while she's safely flanked by beefy security guards) to sexual assault.
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Besides that, it's kind of hard to generate sympathy for the "Why won't these annoying gossip columnists leave my young millionaire starlet ass alone?" stance when unemployment in this country is still flirting with double digits.
Then there's the (totally far-fetched) hypothesis that Stewart was just making inflammatory remarks to drum up interest in a movie opening overseas that underwhelmed in the States, thanks in no small part to her own somnambulist representation of Joan Jett. But I'm sure I'm just being cynical. Meanwhile, let's close out with another quote from Stewart herself:
"It really bothers me when people write nasty s*** about me and the perception is that I don't give a f***. It could not be further from the truth. Your little persona is made up of all the places that people have seen you and what has been said about you, and usually the places that I am are so overwhelming in the moment and fleeting for me like one second where I've said something stupid, that's me, forever."
Congratulations are therefore in order for Stewart, for her rape quote is now part of her "little persona." I trust she won't have any troubled working that into her Estonian press tour.