Freestyle Friday: Are You Going to See Gone Girl?

Gone Girl (Flynn novel).jpgUPDATE: This post does contain spoilers–not plot points or the ending, but information about the characters that might be a tip off.

I am. I am going to go see it. So far, I have only read two reviews. Linda Homes at NPR liked it very much; Manohla Dargis at The New York Times not as much. I don’t really care either way about the reviews—mainly I’m just interested to see how they could turn this book into a movie. I don’t have high expectations, but with Gillian Flynn’s screenplay and David Fincher’s direction, I don’t expect it so suck, either.

The thing that really shocked me was the vitriol in the comments section on the review in The New York Times. Not all of you loved (or even liked) the book. But even with that, I don’t think that many of you would say that Gillian Flynn is a misogynist for creating the character of Amy. That seems to be the consensus on The New York Times. One man in the comments section of Dargis’s review went so far as to say that he would not be surprised if ten years from now he learned that Gillian Flynn had a sex-change operation to become a man, because clearly that’s how much she hates herself and how much she hates women.

Interestingly, most of the comments about Flynn being a misogynist are written by men, but several of the women (and Dargis herself, in her review) point out that Nick almost comes off as sympathetic in the film because of the way it’s structured (apparently Nick’s scenes are all third-person, while Amy’s story is told from her first-person view through voice-over). But let’s face it: if Flynn had made Nick less sympathetic, if she’d made him more of a villain, she’d be called a man-hater, and instead she’d be receiving comments that in ten years, we will be likely to hear that she’s murdered her husband and son because she hates men so much.

I am consistently amazed at the myopic, mean-spirited behavior of some people. It’s perfectly fine not to like a book or movie—there are plenty I don’t like—but to call Flynn a misogynist just smacks of the worst kind of sexism. Guess what? There are some batshit crazy women out there. And there are some men who are real assholes. But if you are a woman, be careful that you only write about…what? What kind of women?

Hang on, let me go ask my husband…

Okay, my husband says women are allowed to write about:

  • Nice mommies
  • Girls who really, really want to get married
  • Girls who really like shoes and shopping
  • Wives of historical figures, as long as we don’t make their husbands look bad

My husband says women are NOT allowed to write about:

  • Mean mommies
  • Girls who want careers and not marriage
  • Girls who don’t want children
  • Girls who do violent things
  • Girls with psychological problems
  • Girls in bad marriages because that might make men look bad

Okay, so we’re all clear on the rules now. We can all go buy some shoes and enjoy our weekends!

Happy Friday.

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7 comments

  1. I do want to see the movie, but I don’t know if I’ll get to it this weekend. If I don’t see it this weekend, though, it may be a while.

    I’ve seen some criticism of the book that basically says that Flynn uses a whole slew of anti-feminist stereotypes, making Amy into a man-hating feminist who makes false rape charges a weapon. I can see that point, although I wasn’t bothered by it overall, because I was focused on what the story was doing with the relationship between the two characters and their twisted version of love. And I *certainly* don’t think Flynn is a misogynist for having a woman act the way Amy does.

  2. What a great post! I’m definitely going to watch the movie. I enjoyed the book, but wouldn’t call Flynn a misogynist. Both characters were equally unlikeable, I kind of thought that was the point! They deserved each other!

  3. Teresa, the thing that gets me about that criticism is that Flynn addressed it in several interviews when the book came out. Amy is a psychopath, she’s highly intelligent, and she uses whatever tools get her what she wants. She’s not meant to be a representative of feminism or anti-feminism or any feminism at all. She is a crazy person. It’s getting beyond boring, this argument that when women write about ANYTHING, that it must fall into one of two camps, feminism or anti-feminism. (Sorry, this rant is not directed at your comment! 🙂 )

  4. Cathy, that is exactly the point. I really wonder if the structure of the movie somehow puts more on Amy, but even if it does, as I said–Amy is a psychopath. (Nick is not far off, and most certainly a serious narcissist.) If anything is misogynist it’s people’s need to label anything written by a woman as either feminist or anti-feminist.

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