When I was in high school, there was a guy we’ll name Kevin who was dating a girl we’ll call Tracy. One day, Kevin and Tracy were together and out of nowhere he began dating a girl we’ll call Kim. Tracy cried “foul” but Kim said she had no hand in breaking them up and most people believed her. I asked a sensible male friend his take on the drama and was completely floored when he responded: “Kim probably did break them up, but it doesn’t matter. Kim looks better than Tracy so no one cares.”
Granted, this was high school and most of those dating relationships are about as reliable as MediaTakeout’s latest scoop anyway, but it seems that people apply this same juvenile thinking to marriage.
And the first thing we want to know when we hear about cheating is what does the “other woman” look like. Then, whether we admit it or not, we judge from there whether the cheater was really in the wrong.
Obviously, pretty girls have the privilege in this situation, but if that pretty girl is famous too then the general public automatically thinks she can do no wrong.
The most obvious and in-your-face example of this Pretty, Famous Girl Privilege phenomena is one of my favorite actresses Gabrielle Union and my former favorite NBA player’s ex-wife Siohvaughn Wade.
[Sidenote: I don’t know all the facts regarding what went down in that situation, but whichever side of the line you fall on, you don’t know what exactly went down either. So let’s just get that straight from the outset.]
Though she would have us to believe otherwise, it’s pretty hard to believe that Gabrielle Union is the victim in the Dwayne/Siohvaughn/Gabrielle situation. Every time, I hear her say she “took the high road”, I wonder if she is clear on what that phrase even means. Whether she was the “first girl he looked at” or not, Gabrielle Union entered into that situation before DWade’s divorce was finalized, there’s no disputing that. As Kobe and Vanessa Bryant have made evident, a separation is not a divorce and without third parties entering the picture, there is still opportunity there to reconcile. Gabrielle volunteered to traipse around Miami with DWade pre-divorce and then balked at the idea that she had anything to do with their divorce. Maybe she really didn’t. The actress endured a divorce herself, so I would hope that she didn’t play a part in that hardship being experienced by someone else.
Even if she did, it doesn’t seem to matter though because she’s pretty and famous.
In contrast, Siohvaughn is painted as “crazy” over and over again as if she should be able to flip her hair and walk away from her highschool sweetheart like they were never married while he publicly and callously replaces her. He’s a certified jerk for his actions and even if he didn’t want to honor his vows, I would think he would show a little more respect to the woman that’s been there for him since high school.
For her part, Siohvaughn could certainly afford to dial down the “crazy” in pursuit of gaining custody of her children, but would we be all so quick to call her psycho if Gabrielle weren’t pretty and famous?
I wondered this same thing when Alicia Keys started dating Swizz Beats. Their relationship and wedding were covered in mainstream tabloid magazines with no mention of the fact that their “Unthinkable” romance began as an affair because Swizz was married to Mashonda when they first hooked up.
We’re all willing to look the other way though because Alicia Keys is pretty and famous and she made beautiful music to complement that adultery.
Marriage is serious, yet when there is a pretty and famous face involved, we equate marriage to adolescent dating relationships that “just don’t work out” or ascribe ghetto names like “babymama” to someone’s ex-wife. Maybe it’s the whole “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” thing that keeps us from calling a situation what it is and causes us to give the benefit of a doubt to our favorite gorgeous faces instead.
In my opinion, you can be as pretty as you wanna be and still be wrong. You can do as many interviews and cover as many magazines as you can insisting what you have is “real” and still be “real wrong”.
And as long as Gabrielle Union is on her “I took the high road” nationwide tour, I’m going to wonder if anyone would even be listening if she weren’t pretty and famous.
What do you think? Do you think pretty and famous women get a pass for otherwise questionable actions?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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