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Infidelity in Pop culture – Glamorising the sordid

Infidelity was once a topic that brought shame to the individual and whispered amongst other disapprovingly. Fast forward to our current day and age and headlines like ‘Top 10 famous cheaters’ sit amongst all the trivial gossip articles on lifestyle sites, magazines and even the trusted newspaper.

In 2013, Kirsten Stewart who was going out with her co-star Robert Pattinson at the time was photographed in a lengthy make out session with her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders. What followed was a media circus of ‘What will she do’ and ‘Will he forgive her’ as captivating as the twilight films that made them both famous. Fans were on the edge of their seat at each instalment of the saga. One year later, the controversies did not seem to affect the earning power of those involved, Kirsten being announced the face of Chanel in December 2013, just two months after the scandal broke(1). Showing that infidelity may not have the moral disapproval it once did, to the point where we wanted to see what was going to happen next and ‘Will they, or won’t they?”

We ask the question, is infidelity now as run-of-the-mill as the latest starlet running off the rails?

What once was a seen as bringing shame to oneself is now another flashy headline accompanying some graining picture of a couple of celebrities getting caught in a compromising position. Although captivating, it does not seem to have the same sense of disapproval as it once did. Some may argue that we are now naming and shaming cheaters like they deserve, whilst some may simply confess that perhaps we are now simply not that upset by it, even slightly interested. Pop culture, the media and celebrities alike have made their secret shame glamorous and sexy. The idea of two A-list celebrities meeting at a secret rendezvous, away from their spouses and hiding from the paparazzi is seen as almost romantic in some people’s eyes. When they are eventually caught, the media are there to sensationalize the stories, getting eyewitnesses and exclusive interviews. It is almost a game of hide and seek between the unfaithful couple and the media.

Each day we look at the glossy gossip magazines and websites, we are sadly given a sensationalized, glamourized version of what is simply a person breaking trust of another person. Whilst it may seem that infidelity is more prevalent in society today, we must also look at the media that perpetuate these ideas of a romantic forbidden dalliance.