Once upon a time, many years ago, a comedian by the name of Ellen DeGeneres came out as gay using the iconic ‘Puppy Episode’ of her Ellen TV show. Despite the success of Ellen, the comedian’s show went quickly down the pan and was cancelled not long after. Her truth had been her downfall and now the world was punishing for coming out.
Nowadays though, coming out can have the opposite effect. Many famous faces have come out of the closet including Wanda Sykes, Ellen Page, Wentworth Miller, Brittney Griner, Anna Paquin and so on and so forth and it hasn’t harmed their careers one bit; instead it has given them a new legion of fans who support their honesty.
However, while we hope that celebrities are coming out for the right reasons, it’s often criticised as a publicity stunt. Jessie J and Lady Gaga both came out as bisexual several years ago before changing their minds and saying they were straight after all – while it’s not unheard for people to change their minds about their sexuality and how they want to label it, the fact that they had both been so outspoken about LGBT topics made some question as to whether they’d only come out to pander and appeal to queer audiences.
Now, as people look at what’s happening with Kristen Stewart and her close ‘gal pal’ Alicia Cargile (who she is often pictured with), many are asking if they are truly in a relationship, or whether whatever’s going on between them is instead being milked by Kristen and her team for publicity.
More: Kristen Stewart Receives Homophobic Slurs As She Walks Hand-in-hand With Alicia Cargile
On the one hand, a very good case can be made for Kristen doing this for publicity. Following the release of Snow White and The Huntsman (the fairy tale epic that featured Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth), it came to light that Kristen and the director of the movie, Rupert Sanders, had been having an affair. He was a married man and Kristen was still dating Robert Pattinson (her Twilight co-star) at the time and so fans and the media alike were up in arms about what a ‘dirty cheating homewrecker’ she was.
Following the scandal, Kristen’s professional career has picked up somewhat (she was recently in Still Alice with Julianne Moore) but for the most part her public persona is still in tatters and given that she was considered as ‘the moody girl who never smiles’ before the news broke, she didn’t have a lot to go off in the first place. That’s why it makes good sense for the friendship/relationship/gals being pals thing that Kristen and Alicia have going on to be for publicity.
While the media asks ‘are they or aren’t they’ and assigns various sexuality labels to the two of them, it keeps Kristen in the public eye and all she has to do is go to brunch with someone she’s close with. It’s a win win situation.
However, a strong case against it is the fact that Kristen and Alicia were already incredibly close. Before the media caught on (or took such a strong interest, as we are seeing now), Kristen and Alicia were seen hanging out around Hollywood already. How can it be a publicity stunt if she’s doing what she’s always done?
Much less, when does Kristen, a woman who has famously flipped off the paparazzi, talked about how awful it feels to be photographed and has told the media to ‘f–k off’ ever court the media’s interests? Although there is minimum work involved here, it doesn’t make a lick of sense for her to suddenly make an effort to get the press talking about her.
Perhaps it’s the plausibility of these two answers that explains why so many people are asking Kristen to come out – or just to address the situation. While celebrity culture (and our insistence on knowing everything about a star’s life) is utterly bizarre as it is, people do want answers.
Sadly though, whether Kristen and Alicia come out or just deny that anything romantic is going on between them, the media will herald her decision and talk about her some more or they’ll call her a liar with something to hide.
She can’t really win here, which is a shame, but no matter what she decides to do (or even if she decides to do nothing) there will still be plenty of fans lining up to support her.