Yikes Corner: "Gone Girl"

[Content Note: Antifeminist tropes; misogyny. This thread will contain major plot spoilers for the book, and possibly the film, Gone Girl.]

screen cap of tweet authored by me reading: 'I just finished 'Gone Girl.' What in MRA wank fantasy hell was that?! Christ.'

Does anyone want to discuss with me how much I hated this vile book? LOL. Because I hated it a whole bunch.

Anyone else?

There was a lot—A LOT—I hated about it, but what I hated most is its mockery of people who believe victims of abuse. That mockery is in every thread of its fabric, built right into its structure.

The author, Gillian Flynn, says feminism should allow for female villains (and I agree), but a female villain doesn't have to look like an MRA caricature of women.

Flynn says she's "grown quite weary of the spunky heroines [and] brave rape victims...that stock so many books." (Ahem.) And I understand what she's saying: Recognizing women's full humanity, even as fictional characters, means allowing them to be "wicked," too, but it's possible to write "wicked" female characters who aren't "wicked" in ways that play into existing antifeminist narratives.

As but one of many examples from the book: The female protagonist falsely accuses three different men of rape. Three.

The book has been called satire, or a dark comedic take on misogyny and/or patriarchy—or marriage (!!!)—but I'm not convinced it works as a commentary on these things, because it's entirely possible to read it "straight." That is, without any feminist critique, reading the female protagonist as the ultimate "psycho bitch" (actual words from the book) that many misogynists imagine every woman to be.

If a man who hated women, one of the men who harbors dark prejudices about the sinister motives of women to ensnare, to trap, to manipulate, to harm, to play the victim, to manipulate, to conquer, can read a story and close the cover on the last page with a grin of smug satisfaction that his every suspicion about what women are really like has been confirmed, I'm not sure that story has a reasonable claim to effective commentary.

Here is the trailer for the film version, now in theaters.

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