Hi guys! Me again. Remember when, literally two weeks ago, I wrote about how fans’ parasocial relationship with Kit Connor of Hearstopper fame showed how fan culture was too invasive, and that celebrities don’t owe you anything about their private life?
Well, here I am again because, once again, fans have gone too far: only this time, it isn’t misguided teenagers accusing other teenagers of “queerbaiting”: it’s about a fan who, by their own admission, is thirty years of age and wrote a whole 569-word letter (yes, I counted) essentially having a tantrum because Chris Evans, a man they never met, might have a girlfriend.
The Twitter account, which ironically goes by the handle ‘Team Evans,’ shared the letter amid the announcement that the superhero movie actor was named People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ of 2022 — hardly an Academy Award, sure, but surely a time of celebration for Chris Evans movie fans nonetheless. But this — for lack of a better word — deranged response to the idea that Evans is dating someone is proof more than ever that maybe it’s time we retire awards like this for good.
Needless to say, there is a lot going on in this letter, but at the crux of it, ‘Team Evans’ is lamenting how “betrayed” fans feel about Evans reportedly dating Alba Baptista, the 25-year-old lead in hit TV series Warrior Nun.
The letter then goes on to add that “realistically, this should have no bearing on our lives as fans,” before comparing the revelation of Evans having a girlfriend to a child finding out that Santa Claus isn’t real.
This writer then attempts to justify the fandom’s upset (yes, apparently this person speaks for every single Chris Evans fan ever), by claiming that because he implied he was single in previous interviews, the idea that he does, in fact, have a partner means that he’s been “selling them lies.”
— Team Evans (@TeamEvans_13) November 14, 2022
Then, this letter tries to claim Evans brought this outrage on himself because nobody asked him if he was single, but that this was something he willingly brought up in interviews, with the real cherry on the top being the part where, outrageously, they low-key accuse him of being a nonce for dating a 25-year-old at 41.
I’m sorry, what?
I can’t even begin to unravel the mental gymnastics going on in this letter, but honestly, just admitting that you fancy the guy and feel a bit jealous that he’s got a girlfriend would’ve surely been a lot less embarrassing than whatever that was meant to be.
— alex gradet 🐀 (@menace2snacks) November 15, 2022
Let’s cut the crap and get to what this person is actually saying, shall we? Maybe Chris did imply he was single in interviews, but the idea that he intentionally did this to keep the flame of hope alive that he might date a fan says a lot more about his fandom than it does about him.
As one of the most famous actors in the world, keeping a relationship out of the public eye doesn’t mean he’s implicitly leading anyone on, or suggesting that a romantic relationship with a fan is possible.
For a person to lead you on, that person has to actually know that you exist. While I’m sure Chris acknowledges and adores his fans, and is more than happy to interact with them one-on-one, celebrity-fan relationships will always be inherently one-sided and superficial.
Being a fan isn’t the same as being a friend or a romantic partner, because the latter two involve an equal amount of intimacy on both sides, and no matter how many relatable anecdotes Evans provides to the press, that doesn’t mean you know him on a personal level.
I hate to break it to you, but this isn’t a Wattpad story or A03 fanfiction. Being a fan of someone doesn’t entitle you to intimate information about their private life, and if this is the kind of reaction garnered when Evans’ relationship leaks, then I completely understand why he would try to throw people off the scent by dropping in that he’s single every now and again.
Who wants somebody that is effectively a stranger to them making judgements and assumptions about their life choices, and what right do they have to even be betrayed by the idea of someone keeping their public and private life separate? It was only recently that the Don’t Worry Darling drama exploded, and at the root of a lot of that was, in truth, jealousy toward Olivia Wilde.
That isn’t to say she didn’t make significant errors of judgment throughout the casting and filming process, but amid the ‘Miss Flo’ video and Chris Pine spitting accusations, a lot of us overlooked the fact that this drama came after months of Harry Styles fans harassing her across social media.
Unfortunately, when a desired celebrity makes a relationship public, this often times results in their partner receiving widespread public ridicule and insults — especially if they don’t think that the partner in question is ‘good enough’ for that person. It’s why Florence Pugh was reluctant to tell the world she split up with Zach Braff, because she said herself that she was unwilling to deal with the outpouring of glee after their pairing was ridiculed from the very start.
Ultimately, this disproportionate response to Evans having a girlfriend indicates three major issues. Firstly, that obsessive fans on the internet have become way too normalized and should be seen for the danger that they are. The fact that these fan accounts are called ‘stans,’ inspired by the Eminem song about a fan so consumed by their idol that they ended up killing themselves and their pregnant partner, should be indicative enough.
Secondly, awards like ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ and the objectification of men in Hollywood can, in its own way, be just as bad as objectifying women, as it encourages fans to admire their idols in a sexual/romantic way as opposed to just enjoying their work — and do we really want to fuel that fire?
And finally, and most depressingly, ‘fandoms’ can be alarmingly fickle. Once you take away that fantasy of having a romantic relationship with that celebrity, fans are suddenly filled with hate — and if there’s one thing more oppressive than a pile-on of love, it’s a pile-on of hate.
So, if you’re personally victimized by Chris Evans having a private life, just go and touch some grass, please.