Vulture recently published a fascinating essay titled “The Sexual Remaking of Kristen Stewart at Cannes,” about how the Twilight star has dropped her lip-biting Bella Swan persona to play the fresh-faced, sexually open Marylou in the film adaptation of On the Road. Like, really open—she’s topless for a lot of the movie, and judging from Vulture’s description, very willing to experiment:
In fact, as an uninhibited teenager who takes up with Garrett Hedlund‘s Neal Cassady stand-in, both she and Hedlund go nude in their very first scenes in On the Road, and Stewart later takes part in a ménage à trois, initiates road head, and jerks off both Hedlund and Sam Riley while all three are naked in a moving car. She’s so horny and curious that when another couple excuses themselves to have sex, a nosy Stewart follows them into the doorway and asks, “Can I watch you guys screw?”
Honestly, it sounds like an incredibly healthy transition to more mature roles, especially after you consider the startling sexual politics of the Twilight movies. But the conservative organization Culture and Media Institute takes exception to Kristen’s sexually brazen role; they complained to RadarOnline, ”How will parents who took their daughters to see the Twilight movies explain this? It is irresponsible of Stewart and manipulative of Hollywood bosses to deliberately try to destroy any sense of decency these actresses might have taught young people.”
First off, there’s one very easy way for parents to “shield” their poor innocent children from Kristen’s handjob scenes: Don’t take them to see On the Road. However, that would require their kids to be blissfully unaware of what sex is—and if they’re preteens who read Twilight and know how to use the internet, then they’re already well educated.
When reading Twilight, you can’t not think about sex: It’s folded into every line, with the series’ central conceit being that Edward Cullen is keeping Bella from becoming a vampire (a.k.a. having sex) because he’s trying to protect her. Both the book and movie versions of Breaking Dawn wonderfully captured Bella’s utter frustration and rejection when she’s agreed to marry this guy and he still won’t touch her; it’s the series’ one genuine emotional moment.
When a reporter at Cannes brought up Bella’s lack of a sex life, Kristen was quick to point out that Bella “really wants to!” She also acknowledged the gravity of the role she was experimenting with, in a way that struck home more than Miley Cyrus‘ weird sex talk from earlier this week:
“I love pushing and I love scaring myself. To watch a genuine [sexual] experience onscreen is so much more interesting than when you see the tape holding up the pasties… As long as you’re being really honest, there’s nothing ever to be ashamed of.”
Wouldn’t you rather your kid saw an actress they recognize exploring her sexuality in, yes, a daring way, but also with recognition of the gravity of the portrayal? As opposed to the cartoonish push-and-pull of Edward and Bella, which ends up with her “punished” with a killer vampire fetus? The Culture and Media Institute claims that Hollywood “uses and abuses former child stars,” but none of that is true here.
Anyway, these kids have likely already read On the Road in their high school English classes. And that book is raunchy. So what Kristen Stewart does on-screen should come as no surprise.
Photo: Digital Spy