In the tabloids this week: Kristen Stewart is gay, because she frolicked on the beach in Hawaii with a LADY! You can get the hot pics right here, complete with scintillating commentary about every single one, and these images are being taken as proof positive that Stewart is gay as a handbag -- though, as another xoJane editor pointed out, it's entirely possible that the images were staged as part of a soft outing.
Honestly, if you wanted to come out without making a big fuss about it, there would be worse ways to do it. Hanging out on a beach with a person of the same gender and behaving in an intimate way when you know photographers are around would send a pretty clear message, but, the thing is, everything that Kristen Stewart and Alicia Cargyle were doing is pretty much exactly what two close friends would do, too.
Friends hang out on beaches and play ball and snuggle together and whisper things in each others ears and relax and have fun, or, at least, they should be able to if they want. The insistence that any kind of close female (or male) friendship is obviously a thin veneer for gayness is pretty frustrating, because it devalues friendship and puts pretty intense pressure on people. If you're genuinely just friends, you're apparently supposed to act all uptight with them because if you hold hands, you're gay. If you're actually gay but don't feel like making your relationship into a big production, for whatever reason, you're supposed to be uptight with your partner in public so everyone thinks you're friends.
Whether Kristen is gay, straight, bi, queer, or whatever, she has a right to an expectation of privacy when it comes to her relationships. Some people just want to be gay, just like some people just want to be heterosexual, and there's a lot of pressure on gay celebrities to be out about it. Yes, coming out and being outspoken on matters of gay politics and related subjects helps to break down stigma and give people the courage to come out themselves, but it's not required. Not everyone who is gay wants to be involved in gay politics, and that's totally fine -- not everyone who's heterosexual wants to be involved in heterosexual politics like winning the right to marry their partners or addressing the huge risk of teen suicide and homelessness among heterosexual youth.
Poor Kristen Stewart. Like every female celebrity, she has to deal with everyone being all up in her business. First everyone wanted her to get it with Robert Pattinson Because Twilight, and apparently people have some boundary issues when it comes to real people playing fictional characters on screen. Then everyone freaked out in 2012 over a possible cheating incident with director Rupert Sanders, who wasn't just Not Edward, but also OLLLLLD.
So the actress went single for a while, or at least had relationships on the DL because she didn't feel like dealing with the media, and the speculation started to fly fast and thick about who she was dating, and, like, we all know that women in Hollywood are clearly closeted gays if they're not openly mashing lips with dudes. (Bisexuals don't exist, I don't know what you're talking about.)
People have been really obsessed with making Kristen Stewart gay for kind of a disturbingly long time. In April, Kim Hoffman at AfterEllen pointed out the depths of this obsession, highlighting the rumors swirling around Stewart and her friend Alicia Cargyle. The two women had been seen, uh, "drinking champagne and giggling," which apparently means you're gay.
Stewart may have "laughed" at the lesbian (or bi!) rumors, but Hoffman pointed out that: "Yeah, I hear that -- but for the girl who likes to keep her relationships on the down-low, 'hiding' her relationship wouldn’t make me think she’s ashamed of her sexuality, she just isn’t the actress at the front of the line to catapult herself into the spotlight."
In other words, no, declining to discuss your personal relationships doesn't mean you're skulking around in the closet. Maybe it just means that you don't feel like discussing your personal relationships.
There are a lot of folks in Hollywood who prefer privacy, and not just when it comes to their sexual orientation and relationships. Maybe not Harper Lee or J.D. Salinger level of privacy, but still. And Stewart is known for being pretty private and very disinterested in dealing with paparazzi or discussing her private life. In fact, she's pretty infamous for her resting bitch face, which some people seem to think is a problem, but I think is just fine -- let KStew be KStew.
Provided as proof positive of her gayness: Kristen Stewart has been caught "switching clothes" with Alicia Cargyle, which is about as gay as you can get. They also have matching tattoos, which is, like, so totally gay. She's also modeled for Wildfang, which is a supergay company, if you didn't know. Furthermore, she wore MEN'S UNDERWEAR on the infamous beach shoot, which for some reason is a real sticking point for multiple media outlets. Also, she is friends with known gays, and homosexuality is contagious.
As the media speculate wildly about whether Stewart is gay on the basis of a handful of illicitly shot snaps of her having fun on a beach, I've got to ask about why this is so important to us. Tabloids rake in huge sales on the basis of the celebrity gossip they put all over their front pages, but they only do it because, uh, lots of people buy them. Maybe we need to stop being so obsessed with people's sexual orientations and maybe we need to stop being so entitled when it comes to the private lives of celebrities.
Being a public figure isn't an all or nothing thing. You're not suddenly fair game for anything if you're an actress: The fact that you're in pictures doesn't mean that people can rake over every single detail of your personal life. Not wanting to have your life constantly smeared across the tabloids doesn't mean you shouldn't be an actress, either. And gay celebs don't have some kind of obligation to come out.
Is Kristen Stewart gay? I honestly don't know, but more to the point, I don't care. If she feels like talking openly about her sexual orientation and identity, I'll be listening -- but if she doesn't, I'm going to let her be.