A couple months ago, my celebrity crush got a new girlfriend and his (female) fans LOST IT.
I have, for the most part, sat on the sidelines watching the situation escalate. But it occurred to me this morning, with the latest series of nasty Facebook rants on a particular fan page, that what’s happening here is representational of both gender inequality in popular culture and the false sense of intimacy we get when our idols are accessible through social media. Hence this blog, which I am writing simultaneously to drinking my morning coffee, so please bear with any incoherency.
Celebrity Crush–yes, we all know who he is, and if you don’t you can go check out a couple past blogs where I mention him by name. But for the sake of at least paying lip service to the principals’ right to privacy, I’m going to pretend no one knows. Please humor me and play along. Celebrity Crush is a big, buff guy known for playing über-masculine roles and speaking out about what it means to be a man in the modern age. If you’re familiar with the concept of Alpha Male, both in real life and in fiction, he’s it. New Girlfriend is an interesting choice for someone like him, or at least for the person his fans assume him to be. She’s an attractive actress who violates all expectations because she’s 1. Older than he is by a few years, 2. More successful and well-known than he is by a HUGE margin and 3. Not a red, white, and blue-blooded American or native English speaker, but was born in another country.
I’m going to come right out and say that I like them together and I think Celebrity Crush shows massive brass balls by defying expectations and dating a woman with more status. In fact, he seems truly smitten. I can’t know this, of course, but it looks that way to me. He’s admitted several places to having had a crush on this woman for years. So he’s living the dream, and more power to him.
To hear many fans talk, though, he’s lost whatever attraction he once had by falling for this woman. Plus, they claim, he’s on the fast track to major disappointment. When the story of their relationship first broke, people refused to believe it. Many still don’t. They insist it must be a PR stunt, because obviously two attractive people could never have real feelings for each other when the woman has more power. They minutely examine photos for evidence that they’re posed. They point to minor details of expression and body language as proof that the two have no real attachment and that Celebrity Crush is unhappy.
New Girlfriend is routinely subject to both sexist and racist calumny. She’s a hag, she’s fat, she’s ancient. A while ago a rumor started the rounds that she and Celebrity Crush have talked children. My gods, you’d think they planned the destruction of the world as we know it. How dare she?! She has an adult son! She’s MUCH TOO OLD AND DECREPIT to have kids and has no right even to consider it–this despite the fact that she seems healthy, she had ova frozen because she KNEW she wanted to have another child later in life, and she’s an adult perfectly capable of making decisions for herself. She “barely speaks English,” no one “can understand a word she says,” and her family “are all drug dealers.” Another fan of Celebrity Crush who called people out on their racism was bluntly informed “you know what those people are like” and besides, “they joke about that themselves, so it’s not wrong.”
Celebrity Crush, meanwhile, has been photographed buying roses and holding hands with New Girlfriend, and “Sources Close To The Couple” say he’s truly in love and intends to study New Girlfriend’s native language so he can communicate with her family better. Recently, he tweeted a picture of a “Share a Coke” can with his name in New Girlfriend’s language. Now, I personally think this is sweet. But other fans saw this as a sign of impending holocaust, at the very least. Because Celebrity Crush pays attention to New Girlfriend, he’s “Not an Alpha any more.” Because he wants to learn her language, he’s “pussy-whipped.”
What better example do you need of the dangers to men in our society in ACTING LIKE FUCKING HUMAN BEINGS? When people you don’t even know can take away your “man card” because you’re nice to your girlfriend, it takes an exceptionally strong man to stand up to that shit and do what he knows is right.
Oh, but “she obviously doesn’t care as much about him as he does about her.” He waits on her hand and foot and calls her the perfect woman. She says “what’s not to like about him?” and “my mother approves.” Surely if she had real feelings she’d say more! For gods’ sake, people! Have you stopped to consider that 1. English isn’t her native language and she might not have the words you want or even the cultural context to apply them? and 2. It’s NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS? What if the genders were reversed? If Celebrity Crush shared few words about his relationship and put a lot of energy into his career while New Girlfriend gushed and waited on him, what then? I suspect you’d think this normal, and a confirmation of his Alpha Male status.
In the last couple of weeks, fans have actually been tweeting at Celebrity Crush to tell him the error of his ways. In case this isn’t enough “I Can’t EVEN” for you, these same people are bitching and moaning when Celebrity Crush reacts in the obvious fashion and blocks the fuck out of them. Now he’s “grown an ego he didn’t have before” and “isn’t treating his fans right” and is “alienating the people who made him what he is.” I’ve got news for you: He isn’t your friend. He doesn’t owe you anything because you went to his movie and bought his t-shirt. It’s not your right to say mean and hurtful things virtually to his face under the thin veil of being concerned. I’d question your right to do it even if he were your real life best friend. Celebrity Crush and New Girlfriend are public figures, true. They’re also adults who are perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves that don’t involve you. A social media presence may create a sense of intimacy with stars that the days before Facebook and Twitter lacked. But you need to keep in mind that it isn’t real. Okay, I have many close friends I’ve met through the Internet. None of them are celebrities. All of them interact with me on a personal level on a daily basis. Celebrity Crush has re-tweeted me fairly often, and once he even addressed me. And I get heart palpitations every time. But I have no illusions that this gives me any right to comment on his personal life.
If you have nothing better to do with your life than whine and complain because a guy you once liked has taken his personal life in a direction you don’t like, I have a few words of advice for you: GROW A PAIR. You need them more than he does.