Art is not supposed to reassure our beliefs, it is supposed to make us reconsider them. So David Fincher’s latest thriller ‘Gone Girl’ has got feminists all over the world spiteful and aggressive. I haven’t read the book by Gillian Flynn on which it is based yet but I’ve been staying in constant touch with the backlash on the internet. I already know certain things thanks to the extensive discussions and my proximity with Tumblr- Amy and whatshisname are married, Amy gets kidnapped, police frame whatshisname, in the end he discovers that Amy is alive and killing it! But plot of the movie is not the point! The point is how it has affected modern society- clearly based on the above description Amy is a psycho and so all the “feminists” (I put that in double quotes because I identify as one myself but I disagree with them at this point) assumed that Amy is a representation of all the 3 billion women on the planet. This is absurd and ridiculous and fantastic at the same time. Because for the first time we actually have a woman who is worthy of being called a ‘villian’ and we also have women who are so appalled by it.
These “feminists” are under the impression that no woman in the world can ever do anything wrong- that the possibility of having a fictional character who is so frustrated that she fakes her kidnapping is zero. They assume that every woman is happily married, happily sacrificed her career, happily making pancakes for her children, happily prioritizing her family’s needs over her own, happily compromising her dreams for her loved ones sake. I agree that a lot (almost all) women do it- some are genuinely happy but some aren’t and Any Dunne is one of them. Why do feminists think that any female character should only be portrayed in a positive manner? Why should she be either an innocent school-girl like Lolita? Why should she be a desirable outcast like Hester Prynne? Why should she be an independent professional like Bridget Jones? Why should she be an immoral whore like Anna Karenina?
The answer is- because men find it attractive. “Feminists” have fought constant battles against being objectified, being stereotyped, being pushed into a category. Yet we divide ourselves into ‘Nerdy girl’, ‘Sporty girl’, ‘Girly girl’ or ‘Cool girl’ depending on which one we think men would find most attractive. I think this is where the flaw lies- the belief that we can only be one of those girls. Why can’t a girl have pink nail-paint on her hands while hitting a home run? Why should we assume that a girl who wears mascara cannot solve an algebra equation? Why should we have to choose between being ‘hot’ or ‘smart’ when we can be both!
Coming back to ‘Gone Girl’ Gillian Flynn has given us a remarkable character in Amy Dunne mainly because she is dark- dark, and twisted, and fucking unforgettable. We have had villians before but they were all driven by one thing- money, power or sex. We have never had complicated female villians such as Hannibal Lecter. There are so many male anti-heroes who are rapists, serial killers, criminals, con-artists, assasins in literature and our society accepts them immediately. The problem is not with society, the problem lies in us. Men know that one fictional character who eats babies doesn’t represent every man on Earth, so why can’t women be equally reasonable?
The argument is not if Amy is ‘good’ or ‘bad’- she has framed her own husband for murder, she is definitely bad. But this is where our own morals come in and the lines between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ get blurry. My theory is that those who have heavily criticized Amy, can relate to her the most. They can see their bottled anger, their dissatisfaction with marriage, their shattered dreams, their hidden insecurities reflecting on a woman who is externally perfect. They can see their own evils manifesting into a blonde, blue-eyed, beauty who anyone would kill to be with. Amy’s internal struggle is who they are and Amy’s exterior is who they are struggling to be. They hate her because they hate themselves. For the first time a female author has given us a female character that reflects the dark side of our sex and I think we should be supportive.
Modern women have defined feminism to suit their convenience- today being a feminist means listening to ‘Beyonce’ and watching ‘Girls’.But the core of feminism remains that women are equal to men and that is why we should all be proud of Fincher and Flynn. We all have our own explanations of feminism and we are all entitled to it- but here we have something new, something fresh, something that can change the way women are seen. Flynn has given us a story that has got so many people taking, friends are sitting down over a beer and discussing gender roles, essayists are compiling words to squeeze in their thoughts over the portrayal of Amy. People after so long, have come to realize that women, too, can be complicated. That is the biggest achievement for David Fincher, not awards or earnings, but the satisfaction of making a generation aware that outside their feminine utopia where every woman is designed like a sims character- there is something powerful and dangerous.
I think feminists should not be offended, defensive and hateful because a) basic human decency b) we have been complaining about not having better female characters in movies and now that we have one, we are saying she’s not up to mark c) my biggest reason why feminists should watch ‘Gone Girl’ is because Amy is not attractive. Okay she is gorgeous but men don’t fantasize about her the way they fantasize about Black Widow and I think that is a remarkably feminist component. So we can have sassy female villians as long as she wear high heels? We can have kick-ass superheroes as long as they wear skin-tight suits? We can have “strong female character” as long as they are played by curvy Scarlett Johannson? Nah, give us a woman who fucking makes men piss in their pants. Give us a woman is really is a nightmare and doesn’t just use is as a song lyric (#BurnTaylorSwift). Give us a woman who is can do anything to get what she wants (even fake her own death). Don’t give us a villian who fits in the men’s frame work if how a sexy villian should be, give us a villian who is genuinely dangerous.
We always complain about not having ‘strong’ female characters- immediately criticizing Bella Swan for being a mary sue. Now we have a ‘strong’ character in Amy, so watch if she is borderline psychotic? She is three-dimensional, well-rounded, described in painstalking details and chillingly realistic. Keep cribbing all you like but out of all the female characters in literature- Amy is easily the strongest.