Bennifer 2.0 Is a Blast From the Past in the Worst Way Possible

It was the peak of post-9/11 jingoism and everyone was either aggressively championing the Iraq War or making terrible concept albums protesting it; people were still using terms like “gay” pejoratively, to the point that Hilary Duff had to make a PSA about it; and it was impossible to find a dating-age male who could refrain from quoting Anchorman.

As the sexist mores of that era of tabloid journalism dictated, she bore the brunt of much of the negative press, with Affleck recently calling out the “mean, sexist, racist” coverage of her at the time.

Jet-setting to Montana and hiring out Escalades aside, such behavior is reminiscent of that of a lonely divorcé who has a few too many Molsons and slides into his college ex-girlfriend’s DMs after she changes her Facebook status from “married” to “it’s complicated.” For middle-aged straight people, checking in on former sexual partners after a major life change is simply part of their habitus, like buying Rae Dunn pottery or reading signs out loud during road trips.

Nor did it appear to make a difference that both Affleck and Lopez have gotten bad press as of late: Affleck for messaging a young woman he matched with on the dating app Raya, and Lopez for reports of diva-esque behavior like mistreating airline employees circulating on Instagram gossip accounts.

For all of her gifts as a savvy self-marketer, Hilton is also guilty of encouraging a generation of young women’s worst materialist or capitalist impulses; similarly, as a member of a generation of women who developed mild to moderate eating disorders from being inundated with images of Mischa Barton and Nicole Richie in low-rise jeans, I would be perfectly happy to see that particular trend left in the past.

It’s understandable that, on the heels of a year marked by tremendous trauma, suffering, and disappointment, people would be comforted by a reminder from their past in the form of the reunion of an extremely high-profile celebrity couple.

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