Cherokee Seebalack

The Speculation over Kristen Stewart’s Sexuality is Rooted in Sexism

Kristen Stewart is something of an anti-celebrity. She’s more comfortable wearing hoodies, skinny jeans and Converse’s than red carpet dresses and six inch heels. She’s forever awkward in interviews and has a fiery attitude towards the paparazzi.

Even though she actively speaks out about feminism, challenging the media’s sexist and cutthroat agenda and not being your everyday PR-trained celeb, her role is very clear cut – she’s the bitch. Ungrateful and spoiled with no talent; Hollywood’s most hated actress.

Her massively publicised affair with the director of Snow White and the Huntsman (in which Kristen was the lead). She’s been working on a string of independent films since then and kept herself under the radar – despite that, paparazzi photos and rumours still trail behind her. And, while her name has been attached to many fake reporting’s, there is one standing rumour that has come to the surface time and time again – Kristen’s sexuality.

Lesbian rumours have followed Kristen ever since Twilight elevated her to A-list status. Even when we all knew she was dating Robert Pattinson, they didn’t go away. There wasn’t any particular evidence of it, either (now, with pap photos being released of her and her friend Alicia Cargile hanging out, this serves as, supposedly, enough proof). All the media were going off of for years was the fact that she wore t-shirt and jeans, basing their assumptions purely off her looks.

When asked about her relationship with Alicia, Kristen reportedly denied them being partners, stating that she wouldn’t hide it if they were together. In the polished world of fame, her alleged words seem authentic. If they weren’t, her career – which a lot of actors and actresses equate to them having not come out in their prime – doesn’t ride off of her sexuality. She’s not commanding of it in the way that Nicki Minaj or Beyoncé is, that’s not her pull.

Androgyny is something that throws people off quite a lot and, to some, is confusing. When it is automatically equated to your sexuality (i.e cutting your hair short or shaving it off, if you’re a woman) it puts us in a back and forth conversation around appearance defining sexual preferences.

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The traits in which make Kristen a bitch (dress sense, attitude; looks) are also the very same things that are used to label her lesbian. There’s a tang of depressiveness about that – the whole butch-looking, short hair-sporting feminist woman who has ‘turned’ gay because men don’t find her attractive. That’s the media’s definition of a lesbian and they’ve put Kristen in that box.

When it comes to visible LGBT celebrities, their sexuality is only deemed okay if they fit into whatever stereotype they ‘need to’.

Take Amber Heard for example – a woman who has proudly talked about her ex-girlfriend, photographer Tasya van Ree after breaking up. As soon as Amber started dating Johnny Depp, she was no longer seen as an LGBT woman. When her sexuality was recognised, it was used as another way to entice the very men who found her attractive. The media are happy reporting about the relationships of bisexual women, but only if they are seeing or married to men (see also Angelina Jolie, Anna Paquin).

Okay, so say that Kristen does identify as being LGBT, why have the media immediately gone to label her as a lesbian when she has dated (and generally seems attracted to) men?

There are difficulties with coming out as bisexual that aren’t experienced as much with other sexualities. Bisexuality is the ‘adventurous’ cousin of straightness. If you’re gay, it is very apparent that you’re interested in one gender. Identifying as bisexual shares more similarities with being pansexual. The former is an identity, like androgyny, that confuses a lot of people. How can you like both genders? Why can’t you pick one? You’re only pretending to like girls to get male attention.

Bisexuality is generally accepted a lot more when appearance comes into play. It’s given the certified tick to the Megan Foxes of the world, feeding into the whole girl on girl fantasy that men find so ‘hot’. But you’ll only see a certain type of physically attractive woman making out with an equally hot lady in music videos or films (because, duh, bisexual women are totally born the way they are to appeal to men).

Being a lesbian, because it doesn’t involve the inclusion of men, is for the likes of Ellen DeGeneres. Masculine. The media report sexuality as if it really does matter what you look like. They label Kristen Stewart as a lesbian even after a history of relationships with men because they see her as an Ellen instead of a Megan. They’re more comfortable with the idea of calling her a lesbian, than ever dreaming that she is bisexual, because she looks and acts the way she does.

No matter how much visibility LGBT celebrities have had in the last decade or so, they’re still boxed into clichés, still defined by their sexual preference or gender and how they choose to present themselves.

There is a problem here – a big one. We have a strange want (and some would even say need) to know how someone else identifies sexually. We’re trapped in an outing culture that has been supported by LGBT people like Perez Hilton, who have almost given mainstream media a stamp of approval to continue to question something that, for many, is very personal.

We are still reading and watching news that is confused by sexuality and lacks understanding around it. How many LGBT men and women have to point out that the way they identify isn’t because of their choice of clothes, or makeup, or hairstyle? How many kids are on the receiving end of homophobic abuse because of a new haircut they’ve gotten? Aren’t the media doing the same thing by bullying people into submission to feel as if they need to defend their sexuality?

Let’s stop constantly speculating the sexuality of famous women. Let’s stop using aged stereotypes to define a woman’s sexuality. Let women dress how they want and hang out with who they want without their sexuality being questioned.

And hey, if Kristen is bisexual, it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with her preferring snapbacks and trainers. It’s also none of our business if she is, either.

 

 

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