I’m so glad that we’ve finally arrived at a time in the media where we’re starting to talk about female sexuality in a more empowering way.
We’ve haven’t stopped talking about Tessa Thomspon’s PDA spree, first with celebrity couple Taika Waititi and Rita Ora, and then with Australian model Zac Stenmark — on the same day.
But instead of slut-shaming her, or questioning her on why she would choose to kiss three people on the same day, most of the media coverage around these paparazzi photos have actually been empowering. We’ve been seeing articles about Thompson’s “iconic party energy” and “living her best life”, rather than an articles we may have seen a decade ago that would’ve undoubtedly questioned her morality.
Thompson has been documented to date both men and women, reportedly being in a relationship with Janelle Monae back in 2015 and Dev Hynes in 2019. She’s openly spoken about being attracted to both men and women, most notably in an interview with Net-a-Porter in 2018.
Not only has the media coverage around Tessa Thompson’s enviably sexy day in Sydney been super empowering, but so has the response on social media. This Just Jared Instagram post received thousands of encouraging comments with users saying things like “she’s living that hot girl summer already”, and “I wish I was there, you go girl!”
The media’s tone is largely based upon it’s audience and today’s audience is way more educated on social issues, especially around gender. Social media has evolved in ways we never imagined and now, we find ourselves with the ability to speak up and have our voices heard, which has changed public conversations for the better.
We’ve become conscious consumers. Not only do we know that what we consume and stand behind can define us in both our online presence and in the real world, we have a better understand behind the importance of speaking up and actively advocating for things.
It’s true that when it comes to relationships and sexuality, we’re still pretty quick to label people and their relationships, but I think it’s mostly because we’re curious. At first, the Twittersphere was swirling with speculation that Tessa Thompson, Rita Ora and Taika Waititi were in a throuple – a relationship where three people are involved intimately.
A Tweet from user @SCOTTH0PE on the speculation went viral, with over 14k retweets and 137k likes. The Tweet reads, “Rita Ora being in a poly relationship with Taika Waititi and Tessa Thompson wasn’t on my 2021 bingo card but here we are.”
Interestingly, this Tweet was met with a slightly different response. Users were shocked, confused and jealous. Jealous being my personal favourite reaction, because same. Even then, when the thread started asking questions like “what about Taika’s wife?” or “what even is a throuple?”, users were quick to jump in and back up the celebs. One user replied “he’s separated”, referencing Waititi who, although still technically married, is said to have separated quietly from his wife Chelsea Winstanley, in 2018.
You can see a natural progression in this particular Twitter thread, that once the users got their head around what was going on, they started to support it. One user commented “I hope it’s all true and they are having fun! Bless them” and another wrote “I ain’t complaining.”
These paparazzi pics of Tessa Thompson kissing Ora and Waititi and then Zac Stenmark on the same day, have got the internet stirring in a pleasantly surprising way. For the first time in celebrity gossip, I can see a clear change in the conversation about an independent woman, her choices and her sexuality. Tessa Thompson is being celebrated, as she should be, for being a confident, beautiful and successful woman who can choose to kiss whoever the hell she wants.
I’m proud to say that our gender stereotypes really are neutralising. If we can have this level of honest and positive conversation around celebrity gossip and paparazzi photos, then we can have it just about anywhere.
Not only are we becoming more educated on different types of relationships and ways of expressing desire and sexuality, we’re also becoming less critical of people’s choices.
When it comes to public figures, people have historically been quick to judge them based off how they allegedly behave. But we haven’t done that to Tessa Thompson. We’ve celebrated her kissing more than one hot person in one day because if we’re being honest with ourselves, we’d all love to be in her shoes.
Let’s keep it up, babes. No judgement, just love.