Angelina, Jennifer, Marion: Why’re only the women being blamed for #Brangelina?
Now that everyone’s had a couple of days to digest this Brangelina fiasco, an uncomfortable truth is beginning to emerge. And it’s the sort of thing that usually goes unnoticed – especially in a story that has so many other, shinier, prettier distractions.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in Burari or Beverly Hills – now that the dust has settled, it’s clear that if you’re a woman (wife, third woman, casual bystander), you’re going to lose.
However you choose to look at it, this has always been the default reaction. Blame patriarchy or just plain idiocy, but this isn’t just an Indian problem, it’s a global one.
Trying to understand the allure of tabloid gossip is pointless – wiser people have tried, and failed, and given up. But the surface, however beautiful it may be, needs to be scratched. And once it is – with all its botoxified superficiality – the ugly reason why the wrinkles were hidden in the first place is revealed.
In this case, the only takeaway is that there are two people involved (8, if you count their kids), but only one of them is being blamed. Yes, there is a psychological angle to immediately being antagonistic towards the one filing for divorce. Taking affirmative action and ending a pointless relationship comes with added side-effects, in this case, blame. The sympathies will always go to the one being dumped, the one being handed the divorce papers, because that’s how sympathies work. But let’s move beyond that shall we? Because if we’re all being honest here, we know that if roles were reversed, and it was Brad Pitt who filed for divorce, he would hardly be getting half of the venom Jolie is being attacked with.
Before you protest, this isn’t even a hypothetical situation. Because we all remember how it went down in 2005. Yes, most people sided with Jennifer Aniston back then. But once again, there weren’t many who blamed Pitt. Angelina Jolie was the home-wrecker. Before she became the serene goddess that she is now, she was the vixen who broke the Golden Couple apart. The wounds from Bennifer hadn’t even healed yet, and now this?!
It has been 11 years but not much has changed. If you’re a woman, chances are, it’s still your fault.
You needn’t have done anything wrong. In fact, if your name is Marion Cotillard, all you need to have done to have your name dragged in the mud, is to have acted in a movie. In other words: Your job.
Does anyone care if you’re a globally lauded artist? Does it matter that you’re a winner of the highest honour your art can get you? And if you think anyone gives a second thought to the fact that you’re bucking industry norms, and working more consistently than any of your contemporaries have the right to – the right given to them by rich white men of course - you’re just being needy, like a girl. It is probably irrelevant that you’ve been in a relationship for almost 10 years (with a man you have a son with), because the moment you signed on to star in a Brad Pitt film, you lost. All of this - none of this – matters.
Because you’re a woman.
And God help you if you’re Jennifer Aniston. Because clearly, you haven’t moved on in the last ten years. At all. You’re still obsessed with your Greek God of an ex-husband and not your Greek God of a current husband. Nah, so what if you’re married? All you care about is sweet, sweet vengeance. Such is your thirst for revenge that you’re willing to be humiliated online with thousands of GIFs.
Perhaps releasing official statements will help, even though you can’t comprehend having to release official statements on someone else’s private lives, but still. It’s the right thing to do. Your only consolation is to make it as angry as you can without attracting even more hatred. So you write, “This crafted conversation isn’t distressing. And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery.”
You repeat it in French, just to be safe.+
Only to wake up to headlines like: ‘Angelina dumped Brad after private eye uncovered Marion Cotillard (Page Six)’, ‘The Brangelina Split Has Been Blamed on Marion Cotillard. She Reacts (NDTV)’, and the best of the lot: ‘Marion Cotillard, accused of having an affair with Brad Pitt, is ‘pregnant with second child’’ (thanks, NEWS.com.au).
Again, blame patriarchy, but mostly, just blame idiocy. Because not all idiots are sexist, but all sexists are definitely idiots.
Think about it: When the Hrithik-Kangana news broke, how many times do you recall people calling Hrithik Roshan - born into Bollywood royalty and not, like Kangana, in the mountains - a psycho? How many times was he accused of witchcraft? Was his career affected in any way?
Mel Gibson punched his girlfriend so hard, he broke her teeth - and then hurled racist abuses at her. But the poor man was on drugs. It wasn’t his fault. Oh, and also, he has a new movie coming out that’s getting great buzz and isn’t it awesome he’s back? We missed you Mel. What’s a little sexism here or there.
And how about Woody Allen? That Mia Farrow was such a B about him having an affair with, and then marrying, her adopted daughter, right? But, in the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda: “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love.”
So, until the next ‘Oh, love is dead’ celebrity breakup, let’s just go back to being heartbroken about #Brangelina OK?
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