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Twilight Fantasy Rupture: Why I'm Glad Kristen Stewart Cheated

How a 22-year-old's infidelities rocked the world, and why it matters.

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Stewart is currently on the cover of Vanity Fair , and the story by Ingrid Sischy is quite fascinating. She comes across as aloof as ever, but also intelligent and self-aware about how she is perceived. Of her red carpet photos (or, more specifically, her red carpet looks):

If I took perfect pictures all the time, the people standing in the room with me, or on the carpet, would think, What an actress! What a faker! That thought embarrasses me so much that I look like shit in half my photos, and I don’t give a fuck. What matters to me is that the people in the room leave and say, ‘She was cool. She had a good time. She was honest.’ I don’t care about the voracious, starving shit eaters who want to turn truth into shit.

That last line is why her public apology for the affair is so fascinating, and also very weird. She says she does not care about the press, and so her plea to Pattinson—"I love him, I love him"—seems almost as if she was put up to it. Perhaps she was under PR pressure to continue the narrative on the cusp of Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2 (which, incidentally, comes out on November 16). Others might reasonably think that her public disdain and lack of fucks given is put-on, a front by a young actress in a rebellious stage who's eager to differentiate herself from peers with Disney pedigrees. 

But it's also true that she seems much smarter than most actors her age—despite her coolness, she's quite articulate and has been described as intelligent by plenty of her elder peers. A lso it's not hard to imagine a young woman in a relationship she started when she was 19 wanting to explore other kinds of love, particularly when the public has pressured her to stay within it, happily ever after. Of course it's depressing when anyone cheats, but it's not hard to imagine that all the unrealistic expectations for her relationship would lead her to do something drastic to get out of it. Katie Holmes uprooting her entire life cross-country to shock-and-awe Tom Cruise into divorce is one extreme example as of late, but Hollywood's got a slew of similar cases: Julia Roberts leaving Kiefer Sutherland at the altar, or Mariah Carey fantasizing about being kidnapped to escape Tommy Mottola. 

Stewart is a macrocosm of the archaic moral expectations the country increasingly puts upon young women, particularly famous young women, whose entire personal lives are on display yet who are expected to be picture-perfect role models for young women in a country with wildly diverse mores. It is 2012 and yet we are still expected to stay virgins, stay faithful, be monogamous, not get pregnant, not use birth control, not have abortions, keep our legs closed. It is 2012, and yet the onus for maintaining the relationship is still put on us, whether through our churches' gender expectations or through Cosmo's neverending "keep your man interested" articles. 

Kristen Stewart's indiscretions have branded her a slut, but no questions have been asked of her lover, while the public continues to assume that her relationship with Rob Pattinson was perfect. And, of course, that R. Pattz was the perfect angel—a fan assumption made not on his behavior, but on his pretty face. 

Twilight is problematic in many ways, but most of all it promotes a destructive message of abstinence and sex only after marriage (and then only to procreate, and oh, sorry if the baby's gonna kill the mother, you've got to give birth to it anyway). So in a strange way, it's slightly good, and important, that Kristen Stewart cheated. Stewart has inadvertently ruptured the Twilight narrative in a way beneficial to the scads of young women across the world who worship the series, and believe that the fairytale begins and ends with the cutest guy ever.