The response to Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles’ romance proves sexism is alive and well in celebrity relationships
While Glastonbury may have been cancelled for another year, you’ll be pleased to know sexism in celebrity relationships is alive and well.
This isn’t new, sure, and I look forward to a whole heap of you lunging into my DMs shouting ‘slow news day?’ but this week it was illustrated just how insidious the hatred directed at a famous woman who’s dating a famous man still is when Olivia Wilde was forced to ‘limit’ the comments on her Instagram.
The actress and director who is very famous in her own right was thrust into the headlines and timelines a couple of weeks ago when rumours emerged she was dating Harry Styles.
Images of the pair holding hands at a friend’s wedding were published, breaking the hearts of millions of people around the world who still believe they have a chance with the singer (and arguably those who are keen to shoot their shot with Olivia, I don’t know, should they happen upon her at Wholefoods or something).
Chatter around what was once described as an ‘amicable split’ with her fiance Jason Sudeikis soon turned into vitriolic gossip around the apparent ‘blind-siding’ of Olivia’s new romance.
People went all ‘won’t somebody think of the children’ in reference to the two kidlets Olivia and Jason share when she was seen carrying bags to Harry’s house, like she’d up and abandoned her family the second she laid eyes on a singer from One Direction.
Now, after she was branded ’embarrassing’ and told she should be ‘ashamed’ of the romance within her Instagram comments, the star – who is 10 years older than Harry, which apparently has caused all sorts of pearl-clutching – has limited the comments on her social media.
I don’t blame her.
Where you’d usually see tens of thousands of comments on her posts, now you only get a few from people she follows, after Olivia posted an image revealing she had returned to the set of her film, Don’t Worry Darling (which, coincidentally, Harry is also starring in).
Now, as one did mention on social media, which I’ll pay mind to, Olivia could have limited the comments on a post about returning to a film set in the middle of a pandemic to restrict hate questioning how Covid-safe it is, rather than anything to do with Harry.
However, as many, many have pointed out on social media, it comes at a peculiar time when she’s all of a sudden getting a right trolling sesh in her face, which I can imagine is only the most exhaustive of things and not all that conducive to, like, happiness.
Luckily many hateful comments seem to have been deleted and are outnumbered by those that show support and apologise for the actions of some fans.
Whether or not her motive behind the comment editing was to limit the crap she was lobbed with, it doesn’t change the fact Olivia has been victim to some pretty rampant sexism.
Compare it to Harry’s comment section, which was still receiving hate, but doesn’t hold even a wax dropping from a candle to the abuse of his paramour, with one saying she looked like a ‘drugged-out hippie’.
With Harry, it seemed fans were ‘disappointed’ he was no longer single, saying he had some ‘explaining to do’, while others suggested he only got the role in Don’t Worry Darling because he was with Olivia.
And yes, there was the odd ‘homewrecker’ accusation. But a personal attack and the same level of hate? Point me in the direction if it’s there.
This kind of sexist trolling, where the women seem to cop the brunt, has been going on no matter the age-gap direction, though.
In 2019 Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriend Camila Morrone was forced to clap back at the haters who criticised the 22-year age gap between them.
The model had posted two pictures on her Instagram of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, who had a 25-year age gap, and captioned the photo: ‘a love like this’, alluding to her own relationship.
Unfortunately, some trolls invaded her comments, slamming the nature of their relationship, claiming Leonardo only wanted her for her body, and Camila was only interested in his money. Classic age-gap tropes, eh?
She took to her Instagram stories to put the trolls firmly back in their place, telling her followers: ‘Good morning, people, and happy Friday.
‘I just read some of the comments on my Instagram and my God, people are so mean and, like, full of anger with people that they know nothing about.’
She added: ‘I guess I just hope on this Friday that people learn to live with a little less hatred and place their time and interests elsewhere because living without hatred feels pretty good.’
While Leo has been the punchline for many a joke that points out his proclivity for a model no older than 25 (oh how we laugh), they have been funny, and cheeky and always still painting him as The Man.
They are seldom the kind of abuse and nasty name-calling that women seem to have to put up with.
It’s not even a case of toxic masculinity as, sadly, this seems like horrible girl-on-girl bullying and frankly, it’s a damn shame the sisterhood seems to take great delight in taking down women who are living their best, in-love life, and freely hanging with someone not their age.
I will voice one exception and that is Zach Braff and Florence Pugh – with 25-year-old Florence putting trolls in their place last year when she addressed the hate her 45-year-old partner gets for their age gap.
(Apart from Zach) it feels like the amount of dudes who have dated outside their age bracket continue to be lauded, yet the term ‘cougar’ is still used as a derogatory reference despite the many attempts of women to proudly reclaim the word. Kate Beckinsale and Pete Davidson, anyone?
Priyanka Chopra, who is 10 years older than husband Nick Jonas addressed the double standard, telling InStyle: ‘People gave us a lot of s**t about that and still do. I find it really amazing when you flip it and the guy is older, no one cares and actually people like it.’
God, are we all that bitter we can’t look at a couple and just think, ‘dang, that is one fine-looking couple’ and move on with our day simply happy our eyes got to gaze upon such beauty?
I encourage the keyboard warriors to do something more constructive with your time and stop finding it so offensive when a woman dates someone who wasn’t born in the same year as them.
Quite simply, grow up.
Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
Share your views in the comments below.
MORE : Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles get back to Don’t Worry Darling after coronavirus halted filming
MORE : Olivia Wilde ‘wears Harry Styles’ necklace’ as she’s spotted in identical pearls
MORE : Harry Styles reveals Treat People With Kindness video starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge and it’s epic