The Brangelina split and victim blaming

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the celebrity couple infamously dubbed ultimate ‘relationship goals’ by both media sources and social media users alike over the past decade. So it’s no surprise, then, that when news came of their split in late September, the internet went into meltdown. “mr & mrs smith is on tv it’s fine except that brangelina split up and love is dead and I am dead”; just one of the many exasperatingly overdramatic tweets posted by users following the break up.

We’ve followed Brad and Angelina for 12 years both in cinema and in news, from Brad’s traumatic break up with Jennifer Anniston back in 2005 to the adoption and birth of 6 children by the couple, Brangelina haven’t been able to escape the media spotlight for the majority of their adult lives. Obviously, this meant that the first thing we all wanted to know was why? What issues could this couple possibly have had that we didn’t notice? According to reports, Angelina cited ‘irreconcilable differences’ as reasoning for the divorce, as well as stating that she was “extremely upset” with the way that Brad was parenting their 6 children, and so decided to seek joint legal custody, but not joint physical custody of them following the divorce. In Angelina’s own words, the divorce was for “the health of the family”.

As news of the divorce began circulating the media, queries arose as to whether Brad had in fact had an affair with married co-star in his new film, Marion Cotillard, which Jolie supposedly discovered through hiring a private investigator. Howbeit, the allegations were denied by both parties.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, a source told the paper that the divorce had been brewing for some time, due to Angelina’s renewed focus on her health. During her relationship with Billy Bob in years prior to Brad, Angelina was presented in the media to be fun-loving and carefree; assumingly, this is the character that latter beau also fell for. In this relationship, however, Jolie presumably attempted to better herself for the sake of her health, and for the sake of her family. But this meant that Brad no longer saw Jolie as ‘cool girl’; to think she actually made the decision to put her health and wellbeing first in a relationship and not live up to her husbands prior expectations, aspiring to be an all-round better human being, is totally immoral and completely the reason for their break up.

The source told the Daily Mail, “When Angelina underwent her mastectomy in 2013, her health and life in general became a priority for her. Angelina wasn’t really interested in doing any project that took her away from the children and home, but Brad was still wanting the wanderlust, adventure-filled life that first attracted him to her.”

Sources began suggesting that the main reason for the split of Brad and Angelina was because of the fact that she was no longer the wild and adventurous ideal that Brad had first fallen for after her mastectomy, which she undertook as a prevention of breast cancer.

As they do, social media used this gate to victim blame Jolie for a number of other reasons that could’ve enticed the divorce. Twitter user @southern_mayers provided us with this theory: “Ponder this. cut off her breasts for cosmetic purposes and now her husband is no longer attracted to her. Karma is real.”

Because your personal detrimental health should come second to your marriage, right? The user followed up with the fact that “No man wants a woman who would mutilate herself to that degree what did she expect.”

Another social media user tweeted,”Angelina Jolie is cold filing for divorce & not helping Brad Pitt through his addiction while he stayed & helped her through her depression”.

This makes sense, because women should bear the burden of her husband’s problems at all times, even if she is miserable in its entirety, because that’s just women’s duty. We’re put on this earth primarily to support the man in any way we can… as if.

On a Hollywood Life article, user Skiwoman made the point that “Angelina should have paid more attention to what was going on at home instead of taking on international concerns.”

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To be frank, these comments are downright ridiculous and ignorant. At the core of things, they suggest that if Angelina Jolie had disregarded everything in her life apart from her husband and her duties as a mother and a wife, the marriage wouldn’t have deterriorated. They suggest that women shouldn’t have their own stance on life; that they shouldn’t have anything meaningful to contribute to the world outside of the family home. And worst of all, they suggest that you are an immoral woman for doing so.

The media can investigate the break up of Brangelina as much as they like, but frankly we won’t ever know the genuine reason for the divorce. What we do know, however, is that Angelina Jolie is a feminist, an equal rights activist, a philanthropist, and most importantly an extremely positive role model internationally for girls and women alike – and she should not be shamed for this because of her divorce.

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Why Kim Kardashian West reminds us that feminism is important

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Recently, it seems as though Kim Kardashian West has been central to all things scandalous.

Just the other week, Kardashian West fell victim to notorious celebrity prankster Vitalii Sediuk whilst in Paris, adding to his already established and ever-growing list of A-List celebrities he feels are doing injustices to the world. Not days prior, Gigi Hadid suffered a similar attack by the prankster – and that’s exactly what it is, attacking. Harrasment, and sexual abuse. When questioned by the Victoria Derbyshire programme, Sediuk said: “Sexual assault is basically rape. Did I rape anyone? No. I disagree. It’s not sexual assault.” So why does he waste his time harrasing innocent women, you may ask. Sediuk made his point loud and clear via his Instagram: “I was protesting Kim for using fake butt implants. I encourage her and the rest of the Kardashian clan to popularise natural beauty among teenage girls who follow and defend them blindly.”

Now, the sentiment in itself may not seem exaggeratingly awful – in fact, supporting the notion that young girls should love themselves for who they are is seemingly positive. But you have to slim the matter of fact down to the base point of this issue and of many other issues women are facing today; we are being attacked because of our bodies, because of the way we look. Hadid faced similar threats by the prankster, and in fact, social media response exemplified exactly how programmed society is to believe that this is okay – headlines from official news sources claimed “Gigi Hadid Aggressively Lashes Out and Elbows Fan In The Face“. Though the headline has since been changed due to user complaint, the same victim-blaming ideology ran through a platform of social media and news sources alike – more importantly, Sediuk, why are we teaching young girls that fighting back against aggressive men isn’t okay?

This isn’t the only recent event in which Kardashian West has been victimised, either. Last week, during the same stay in Paris, she was tied up, held at gunpoint and robbed of £7.9 million worth of jewellery. Initally, people voiced their concern and offered their support, both fans and fellow celebrities alike. However as the following day approached, the response became apparently more negative and doubtful. The comments that followed grew more horrific, with tweets such as “It’s sickening Kim Kardashian was robbed and held at gunpoint and didn’t actually end up getting shot in the face.”

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Speculation circulated the heist being an insurance job, or maybe even being an inside job by Kim’s security team, but it’s in more recent days that the misogynistic, victim-blaming ideology has reared its ugly head. Kardashian West was bound, gagged and thrown in a bathtub whilst robbers stole the jewellery, including her wedding ring from rapper husband West. A few hours previously, she flaunted the £2.8 million ring on Snapchat; former bodyguard Steve Stanulis said: “I saw this happening. It just had to with the way Kim flaunts her riches and her diamonds… she invites trouble.” The French Police department claim she only has herself to blame. Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld said: “You cannot display your wealth and then be surprised that some people want to share it with you.”

In short, this is perpetuating rape culture at its most extreme. A woman gets sexually abused on the streets because of the way she looks, and people accept the mindless explanation and derogatory aftermath of a prankster who consistently harrasses innocent women, because it’s “funny”. The same women gets tied up, bound, gagged, held at gunpoint and as if being told that you set the heist up yourself isn’t bad enough, she’s also being told that it’s essentially her own fault, that she shouldn’t have flaunted the jewellery if she didn’t want to get robbed. Kardashian West hasn’t spoken out about the incident herself, understandably. Disgustingly, though, sources close to the celebrity say “Kim’s in shock and blaming herself… She’s tearing herself up that she Snapchatted the ring so much and wore it all the time. This incident is making her question everything. How she dresses, what she does.” A vulnerable and most importantly completely innocent, undeserving woman has shifted all the blame onto herself because of how we, as a society, manage to manipulate and villainize women to the extent of making themselves believe that an attack of any kind is their fault. And this is how we perpetuate rape culture, and this is why feminism is so important.