I’ve always wondered why, even after all the lessons life holds, people who are considered adults look to other people’s relationships as a North Star of sorts. Surely, we should all know by now that no two relationships are the same and that life (and love) is what you make it.
For weeks, I’ve been wondering how I should feel about the situation between Hollywood stars Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith because, as social media would have it, nothing can occur without everyone voicing their opinion about it. And that opinion has to be formed through the noise of everyone else’s.
While I have yet to determine how I feel about the relationship of two people who have no bearing on my life whatsoever, I have noticed that everyone has viewed the very public embarrassment of this couple’s latest revelation through a gendered lens. Two weeks ago, American R&B singer August Alsina revealed he did, indeed, have an affair with Pinkett-Smith, as fans had speculated. He further alleged that her husband not only knew about their relationship, but had given it his blessing.
His statements came after years of unconfirmed rumours that the pair had an open, sexually fluid marriage that allowed them to engage in relationships with whomever they please, while keeping their marriage in tact. Pinkett-Smith’s initial statement was that Alsina’s claims were not true. However, she later agreed to speak on her own Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk.
In the days leading up to this, speculation was rife. The main conclusion most people came to was that Jada had cheated on Will. Others also tried to paint her as a sexual predator who took in a man half her age and used his vulnerability to begin a sexual relationship.
Following her appearance, where fans got their first look at a very hurt Will, she was vilified even further. Which takes me back to the very gendered and traditional foundation upon which most people’s view of the matter was built. A foundation that often views men as the transgressors in most traditional, monogamous, heterosexual marriages.
The unspoken belief that women only “cheat back” if their partner cheated first also seemed to be at play. The couple went on record with their separation and made it clear they were, for all intents and purposes, no longer a married couple.
Still hungry for blood, the public moved on from accusing her of cheating to focusing on the assertions that her behaviour was predatory. They even went as far as arguing that had Will been the one romantically involved with a young woman, he would have been judged harshly. People were so hell-bent on dissecting what happened, they only end up arriving at all the wrong conclusions.
Jada and Will are not the beacon of matrimonial perfection many had tried to make them out to be. And neither are many of the world’s faves. No, not even your parents. They’re humans who are still trying to figure things out, just like we all are.
Perhaps, in time, you will all come to accept that no one has all the answers. Life is messy. Some of us just have the benefit of privacy for our messiness.
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CELEBS AND VIRAL