Today is Kristen Stewart’s 23rd birthday. And a lot of people will complain about that. Because a lot of people like to complain about Kristen Stewart. I’ll admit I’ve been one of them. She has the kind of personality that’s difficult to make sense of in this particular pop cultural climate. But as much as I’ve complained about K.Stew, I’ve also wondered why I’m complaining about her. Because, when you think about it, she breaks the mold of Hollywood in a lot of ways, and that’s the same type of behavior we praise in other stars. We love celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence who call out ridiculous interview questions and admit to eating junk food before a fancy event. So why do we hate it when Kristen Stewart takes her shoes off on the red carpet or confesses that she doesn’t love fame?
Maybe we can figure this out together by looking at a few common complaints and criticism about Kristen Stewart and approaching them from another angle. We’ll play devil’s advocate and rebut the K.Stew hate. It’s the least we can do on her special day.
Complaint #1: She’s awkward.
Kristen Stewart is awkward. I don’t think anyone can really argue with that. Some people despise her awkwardness, while others find it adorable. But let’s create a happy medium where we’re able to say, hey, there’s a girl whose public appearances aren’t rehearsed or contrived. The recent wave of Hathahaters roll their eyes at Anne Hathaway’s over-the-top, arguably inauthentic acceptance speeches. We don’t like fake people in this culture. Well, Kristen Stewart isn’t fake. She’s almost too genuine, if you think about it.
And really, in her defense, if I were accepting an MTV Movie Award, I’d probably drop it too. Those golden popcorn tubs look heavy. And also I have no coordination.
Complaint #2: She complains about being famous.
It’s a slippery slope being a celebrity who openly dislikes fame. On the one hand, we want celebrities to be doing what they do for the love of their art and not let the attention go to their heads. On the other hand, we don’t want celebrities to complain about having a lot of money and getting invited to cool places and getting to meet cool people. And it must be exhausting for celebrities to hit the right notes when talking about fame. You have to be grateful and modest and all these things at once. So maybe we can cut Kristen Stewart some slack in this case and simply appreciate the fact that she doesn’t let the fame go to her head.
Complaint #3: She hates dressing up.
This is a particularly baffling complaint, and yet another example of us expecting too many conflicting things from celebrities. We roll our eyes at celebrities who walk around the supermarket in sky-high heels, but when Kristen Stewart displays an aversion to those same types of shoes on a red carpet, we also roll our eyes. We like celebrities to look hot but also be down-to-earth. It’s actually pretty refreshing to see a young woman who puts comfort before looks and doesn’t just grin and bear it at a fancy event. I think that’s pretty cool, don’t you?
Complaint #4: She’s a bad actress.
Okay, yes. Kristen is pretty wooden in her movies. But maybe the problem isn’t just that Kristen Stewart is a bad actress. Maybe it’s that the movies she’s in are bad. Watch one minute of a Twilight movie and it’s pretty clear that franchise isn’t going to win any screenwriting awards. Bad writing can be the downfall of an actor. The majority of Kristen’s movies have a rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes, and the freshest score is an 88% for Adventureland. You might say these movies are bad because of Kristen Stewart. But Russell Crowe’s iffy performance didn’t stop Les Miserables from getting Oscar nods. Maybe Kristen just hasn’t found a really good role yet.
Complaint #5: She doesn’t smile.
This is a pretty ridiculous complaint. I see her smile all the time. Let’s face it, everybody. Smiling is exhausting, especially when you’re posing for pictures. Your face needs to relax sometimes. I don’t think Kristen Stewart hates smiling. I just think she’s a normal person who needs a break from it every once in a while.
Complaint #6: She puts her foot in her mouth.
K.Stew has a tendency to say the wrong things sometimes. A lot of controversial comments have come out of her mouth to make room for her foot, like when she said being photographed by paparazzi was like being raped. It’s tough to swallow stuff like this, but I think we have to consider a few things. One, Kristen was (and still is) a young woman when she made that comment, and she’s learning the right way to express herself. And second, I don’t envy celebrities who have to sit answering the same repetitive interview questions over and over again and are thrust onto talk show stages to tell funny stories. It’s easy to fumble and say something you don’t mean or something that doesn’t make sense. Maybe we should start relating to Kristen in this sense. We all say the wrong things sometimes.
Complaint #7: She cheated on Robert Pattinson.
I can’t argue that cheating is wrong. But I think the public response to this scandal put too much blame on Kristen for breaking up everyone’s favorite vampire romance and not enough blame on Rupert Sanders, who was not only older and in a position of authority as her director, but also a married man with children. Both parties are to blame in a cheating scandal like this, and I don’t think enough blame was placed on Sanders.
So today, let’s celebrate Kristen Stewart’s birthday by acknowledging that she breaks the mold and doesn’t sacrifice who she is for the sake of Hollywood. She might not always be a laugh-riot, but we have to admit she’s one of our most down-to-earth stars. And that’s even more true because she likes to wear sneakers.
Plus, Emma Watson defended her, which is pretty cool.
(Photo: Lia Toby/WENN.com)