One time, my best friend was married to this really hot guy and then he worked with this really hot woman. She and I both knew something was up, but we were floored when he left her for this other lady and is still with her to this day. My best friend is Jennifer Aniston.
I am not actually friends with Jennifer in the sense that I “know her in real life” or “have ever even seen her in person.” An actor friend of mine once told me that the most successful performers inspire others to take care of them. Jennifer Aniston definitely has that quality. She speaks candidly in interviews and appears to have many famous and non-famous female friends. She is exceedingly likeable from every angle. When she and Brad Pitt divorced, we ladies felt someone wronged our friend.
Many people, me included, wish to see Brad Pitt as this super nice guy who totally was in love with his wife but was stolen away by an evil sorceress. We need this fairytale because can’t imagine that any of us could keep a man in a world where Jennifer Aniston could lose one. Even with Jennifer happily engaged we imagine Brad running back to her if not for Angelina Jolie’s cruel clutches.
Historically, the person blamed when a new relationship abuts the end of a marriage is the woman in the new relationship. Whether she is the “other woman” or the whore who left her husband, she is the seductress; the mastermind who destroyed the sanctity of marriage. She’s the apple pusher. Ironically, the title of Apple Pusher now goes to 22 year-old Kristen Stewart, who may be cut from the sequel to her own movie, Snow White and the Huntsman, because she slept with its 41 year-old married director, who’s still eligible to direct.*
This has to stop. It’s the worst double standard, blaming women but never men for participation in consensual, albeit hurtful, extramarital affairs. It’s immoral to sleep with a married man, but at least as immoral to cheat on the person you promised fidelity forever. A woman doesn’t use sorcery to lure a man away from his wife. Men are not powerless in the face of temptation. We have to stop letting them off the hook while calling their mistresses whores.
Famous or not, being cheated on is incredibly painful. It’s easier to blame a woman’s bewitching charms than to accept that the truth may be more complex and that at least two people solidly share the fault. It’s time to stop slut-shaming. I’m going to start by watching Laura Croft, Tomb Raider.
*Ed. Note: Setting aside that a 41 year-old should probably have acquired the character and maturity that a 22 year-old may still lack, at least part of this scandal is a hoax: It made Rupert Sanders and his wife, Liberty Ross, household names. Robert Pattinson’s new movie, Cosmopolis, is getting tons of press. Kristen Stewart can escape the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, which seems altogether unnecessary. And their totally-not-staged-for-the-sake-of-the-nearly-finished-Twilight-series-relationship can organically resolve.