How come women don’t understand how tacky movies like Eat Pray Love are?

Spearhead has a post titled Feminists on the Defensive as Eat Pray Love Widely Panned by Critics. It is an excellent post, which discusses how everyone is treating the abominable subject matter of the latest divorce fantasy movie with kid gloves. In the comment section MNL shared his own story of being pressured by his wife to go to this awful movie:

Damn! A bunch of my wife’s girlfriends just invited my wife out to see this movie (as a big couples date) this weekend. The fellow husbands, and most of the invited wives, likely have no clue what they’re about to pollute themselves with. One of the wives simply read the book (thanks to Orca… er, I mean Oprah’s recommendation) and started the snowball invitation. Shit. Any suggestions on how to turn this situation around and into something funny?

My advice was to confront his wife on how tacky it was for a group of married women to be going to a divorce fantasy movie, and even tackier for them to expect their husbands to go.

The very fact that they would think this was somehow acceptable just blows me away. We have an entire society tip toeing around bad behavior of women out of some perverse fear. So let me be the first to say it in no uncertain terms: Movies and books that fantasize about divorce or (even worse) the death of a spouse are tacky, disgusting, and childish. If you are married and read books like this or watch movies like this, you are being tacky, disgusting, and childish.

I know for many stating the obvious like I just did may come as quite a shock. Hopefully for most readers it will be a pleasant shock. For those who find this unpleasant, I’ll turn it around to prove this isn’t some anti woman rant. If I start fantasizing about the death of my wife so I could remarry another woman, or start fantasizing about divorcing my wife for no good reason and traveling the world in celebration, I would be acting tacky, disgusting and childish.

Edit Aug 23: MNL posted below on how he was able to resolve this with his wife and her group of friends.  Nicely handled MNL!  Good to see this turned out so well.

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76 Responses to How come women don’t understand how tacky movies like Eat Pray Love are?

  1. J says:

    Dalrock–

    Would it make you happier to know that I have no plans to see this film and haven’t read the book? Seems self-indulgent.

    I saw Sex and the City I when it appeared on TV; it had only one scene worth seeing. See if you can guess which one.😉 I have yet to see Sex and the City II.

    I hate chick flicks.

  2. dalrock says:

    Hi J. It isn’t about making me happy or not (although I am glad to hear you don’t plan on reading the book or viewing the movie). It is about stating the obvious. It really does amaze me that many women don’t get this. I probably should have been more clear in the title though, because I know many women already understand this.

    I hate chick flicks.

    I’m with you there, along with Mrs. Dalrock. But this isn’t a condemnation of all chick flicks. There are still several plot avenues open. There is the aging career woman forced to marry and/or pick a father (“The Proposal”, “The Switch”, “Knocked Up”, etc). There is also the woman torn between beta provider and bad boy (Twilight, Bridget Jones’s Diary, etc), and the endless reliving of the time of choice (50 first dates). So there are plenty of tried and true chick flick plots available. The only ones I’m calling out are ones where married women fantasize about divorce or the death of their husbands. This is a critical distinction.

    SATC is in its own category. It is tacky for married women to dream of whoring around, but not so bad for unmarried women, especially if they don’t intend to marry. But it isn’t nearly as bad as divorce/widow fantasies. It would be much worse if the women in SATC were all married and cheating on their husbands though.

  3. Lily says:

    I haven’t see the movie, in fact had not even heard of it till I saw it mentioned on your blog and since then picked up a couple of references elsewhere including a trailer I think (probably exposed beforehand but had not noticed). However, must be said, I don’t like chick flicks generally. The closest to a chick flick I’ve watched for several years was Marley & Me but only because I like Owen Wilson and labradors.

    Is Eat Pray and Love a divorce or death fantasy or just some woman who focused her life on what she thought was important but actually wasn’t and is not trying to ‘find herself’ ? No idea, I’m just asking. It just seems a bit paranoid.

    And what about American Beauty? Doesn’t the guy fantastise about divorce/death/having sex with his teenage daughter’s best friend?

    What about all the movies where the guy’s wife has died? He always ends up with some hottie.

    I don’t think SATC is as bad as the Roissysphere makes out it was. The one who was obsessed with shoes was called out on it by the others when she didn’t have the money for a deposit on her flat and she was over 30, the other all rightly thought it was ridiculous she couldn’t stand on her own feet. One of them was married & cheated on her husband but there was a lesson in that on curbing your hypergamous instincts (she married the husband for the wrong reasons) & that the big wedding does not equal happily ever after. The redheaded one pretty early on realised that her job etc did not entitle her to the kind of man she wanted. I haven’t seen the second movie but I would doubt highly that the overall theme in it is that spend all your money on shoes and cocktails and you’ll get everlasting happiness.

  4. EPL Review says:

    About EAT PRAY LOVE, if I recall correctly from the book which I read 1/3 of a few years ago, her husband was an aimless freeloader who financially lived off his wife and she got tired of it. Fair enough. However, this really didn’t come across strongly in the film.

    Editor: EPL Review is the latest name for our resident troll, Indian Grandmother, Bad Boy, etc.

  5. Doug1 says:

    Lily–

    In American Beauty the guy’s successful real estate agent wife is having an affair with her boss and won’t stop. In addition she’s a true utterly dismissive horror to him. He’s been a faithful husband who’s done the right things until he gets laid off from his corporate job which he hated and learns of his wife’s affair. Then he does come close to doing the 17 or 18yo high school senior who’s into the new weightlifting etc. him, but has a last minute “morality moment”. He also fantasizes about shooting his wife who’s done him such wrong. But both things are treated as decidedly disturbing and hardly just okay impulses. The first more so than was reasonable it seems to me. I mean in the same circumstances I’d have done the high school senior at least if she was legal in my state.

    In this movie apparently (from reading about it, not seeing it) Julie Roberts has a devoted husband who there’s nothing really wrong with (except probably she’s succeeded in betaizing but that is unlikely to be made clear in the movie) and in addition is having an affair on the side. Oh and he wanted kids but she didn’t. It’s a classic case of an American wife leaving a marriage because she’s bored. And that’s celebrated. Of course her having the affair is likely to absolutely kill her sexual / in love feelings for her husband but that will also be played in the opposite direction entirely, no doubt. But that’s I think just the very beginning of the movie. Most of it is about the 43 year old Julie Roberts journey of “self discovery” after she divorces her husband and heads to trio chick fashionable spots, Italy, ashram India, and Bali for a year. If she did it on money she got from her ex husband in the divorce I’d be even more pissed, but apparently it was supposedly on a book advance feminists have been insistent on pointing out.

    Not quite the same thing is it?

  6. Lily says:

    Well if the media and Hollywood was as feminist as some people like to make out, the American Beauty guy’s wife wouldn’t be a nagging harpie who is shagging the ugly dude in motels🙂

  7. J says:

    You see Knocked Up as a chick flick? I see it, and all Judd Apatow films, as male fantasy–nerdy, slacker guy gets hot woman.

    But it isn’t nearly as bad as divorce/widow fantasies.

    I know you really hate those. I think Haley’s explanation to you of them is valid. But even at their worst, they are really the equivalent of a happily married guy fantasizing about what it would be like to bang the Playmate of the Month. Nothing to worry about if it stays a fantasy.

    As you know, I’d be pretty (and violently) inconsolable if my husband cheated. OTOH, I assume he fantasizes, and it doesn’t bother me at all.

  8. dalrock says:

    About EAT PRAY LOVE, if I recall correctly from the book which I read 1/3 of a few years ago, her husband was an aimless freeloader who financially lived off his wife and she got tired of it. Fair enough. However, this really didn’t come across strongly in the film.

    I can’t speak for the book, but her ex husband was a real person, and she really did divorce him/cheat on him for no good reason. Here is an excerpt of the plot summary from Wikipedia:

    At 32 years old, Elizabeth Gilbert was educated and had a home, a husband, and a successful career as a writer. However, she was unhappy in her marriage and often spent the night crying on her bathroom floor. In the midst of an affair, she separated from her husband and initiated a divorce, which he contested. The affair continued for some time but did not work out, leaving her devastated and alone.

    Here is an interview with the ex husband: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-08-19/elizabeth-gilbert-ex-husband-michael-cooper-profile/?cid=topic:mainpromo1

    He is anything but an aimless freeloader.

  9. dalrock says:

    You see Knocked Up as a chick flick? I see it, and all Judd Apatow films, as male fantasy–nerdy, slacker guy gets hot woman.

    I see that side to it as well. But according to the rules, it is a chick flick. The main conflict of the story is solved by a wedding, as I recall. Also, I don’t recall even something small being blown up. That right there should be proof in itself.

  10. JD says:

    Female here; have not read “Eat, Pray, Fart” nor do I plan to waste money seeing the film. I’ve found Oprah’s book recommendations to be less than quality literature; a little too high estrogen for me.

    I don’t know the details of Ms. Gilbert’s marriage; no one does except for the people who were in it. There were no children, apparently she had no interest in marriage counseling; she doesn’t need to explain her decisions to the world. What annoys me is the fact that she couldn’t take the high road and keep her divorce private and spare her husband the humiliation. Nope, there was some big money to be made and what’s more important? That’s what I call playing “dirty pool.”

    Plus the fact that she comes off as a irritating yuppie. Hope she finally “found herself.”

  11. Mjay says:

    A spiritual journey of self-discovery. Man-tastic.

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3476199.Drink_Play_F_k

    Drink, Play, F@#k: One Man’s Search for Anything Across Ireland, Las Vegas, and Thailand

    In Drink, Play, F@#k Bob Sullivan, a jilted husband, sets off to explore the world, experience a meaningful connection with the divine, and rediscover …more In Drink, Play, F@#k Bob Sullivan, a jilted husband, sets off to explore the world, experience a meaningful connection with the divine, and rediscover his passion. His travels lead him from his home in New York City to a drinking bender across Ireland, through the glitz and glamour that is Las Vegas, and to the hedonistic pleasure palaces of Thailand.

    After a lifetime of playing it safe, Mr. Sullivan finally follows his heart and lives out everyone’s deepest fantasies. For who among us hasn’t dreamed of standing stark naked, head upturned, and mouth agape beneath a cascading torrent of Guinness Stout?

    What could be more exhilarating than losing every penny you have because Charlie Weiss went for a meaningless last-second field goal?

    And what sensate creature could ever doubt that the greatest pleasure known to man can be found in a leaky bamboo shack filled with glassy-eyed, bruised Asian hookers?

    Bob Sullivan has a lot to teach us about life. Let’s just pray we have the wisdom to put aside our preconceptions and listen. Because what Bob Sullivan finds isn’t at all what he expected.

  12. grerp says:

    I really don’t like Judd Apatow films. They’re all just nerdy guy raunch fests, although I have a certain appreciation for Paul Rudd (and have had since he was the Mr. Knightley character in Clueless). The only thing I’ve really liked that Apatow did was Freaks and Geeks. THAT was good TV. Of course, they cancelled it before the first season even finished.

  13. grerp says:

    I really don’t like chick flicks either. Most of the time they have terrible messages for women, aren’t at all romantic, and barely manage a cohesive, logical narrative. Ones I have enjoyed are:

    Return to Me
    French Kiss (alpha taming is unbelievable, but Kevin Kline is so enjoyable)
    Just Friends
    Love Potion #9 (interestingly illustrates the difference between how men and women handle a sudden spike in their market value)
    Clueless

  14. J says:

    according to the rules, it is a chick flick. The main conflict of the story is solved by a wedding, as I recall. Also, I don’t recall even something small being blown up. That right there should be proof in itself.

    LOL. There is an earthquake and Jonah Hill covering some boobs with his hands. Any film in which Jonah Hill gets boobage is a guy film.

    Or just as likely Judd Apatow is the king of the lesser betas. In fact, he generally has a guy married to a shrew who believes that her nagging is proof of love.

  15. J says:

    It impresses me that Gilbert’s ex was unwilling to dish about her in the interview.

  16. Don Ghixote says:

    I’m curious how he is described in the book. Based on this article, whatever he was like, be it that he really was as EPL said, “an aimless freeloader who financially lived off his wife and she got tired of it” or not, it sounds like that is not the case <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-08-19/elizabeth-gilbert-ex-husband-michael-cooper-profile/?cid=topic:mainpromo1&quot;:

    “Cooper is now married to a Canadian diplomat named Béatrice Maillé. They have two young boys, Charlie and Sammy. According to his LinkedIn profile, he’s currently a public interest law scholar at the Georgetown University Law Center, and he was previously a director for Mercy Corps and Human Rights Watch.

    While Cooper was kind enough to return The Daily Beast’s call, he declined to comment for this piece. No, the prominent human-rights activist didn’t launch into a tirade about the throngs that were (likely at that very moment) cheering for the woman who temporarily destroyed his life, as reenacted by America’s sweetheart.

    This reticence, or perhaps classiness, has come to define Cooper in the past year—at least in the public sphere. Until last summer, he’d remained nearly fully out of view. Then came news of a book deal, which appeared to be a sort of rebuttal to Eat, Pray, Love. Would he tell all?

    Announced in July 2009, the project initially bore the title Displaced. In Publishers Marketplace, it was described as a “memoir of one man’s journey to reconnect with his values and reconstruct his life in the wake of an unexpected and devastating divorce…offering an intimate look at the end of his relationship with [Gilbert], and his own search for purpose as he journeys through Kosovo, Mongolia, Iran, Iraq, and other developing countries, working with people displaced by natural disaster and armed conflict.” Hyperion acquired the book, for publication timed to the movie’s release.”

    As a Human Rights Activist he probably did not bring in as much as she did. Not sure if that makes him an “aimless freeloader” or just a guy with different, non-alpha, non-sexy priorities. Again, would need to see what was said and to know if was un-biased.

  17. Don Ghixote says:

    Sorry, looks like I accidentally deleted some of the html. Try this.

  18. Eumaios says:

    I am eager to see what South Park will do with this film.

  19. MNL says:

    Hi Dalrock. I appreciate the reference to my comment over at The Spearhead–and your thoughtful reply there. Just to let you know that there’s indeed redemption in the world… that not all wives are as vapid as the cheerleaders for (or even the protagonist in) this picture… my story has a happy ending. Allow me to share:

    Shortly after I posted that comment, I told Mrs. MNL what the show was all about. (She really had no clue and was simply following the herd.) I told her what a shallow picture it was and summarized the story for her: Woman says she’s “bored” with husband. Woman leaves husband to go “find herself”. Woman next wanders the world slutting herself and spending her way towards self-enlightenment. I called the movie “chick porn”. I think I also used the word “cougar crack”. I then questioned whether Mrs. MNL was sure that watching this type of story was how she really wanted to spend the evening with me. Note here that I wasn’t threatening nor angry in any way throughout this. There was never a “choose me or this movie”-type moment. I simply displayed a sort of big brother-ish attitude coupled with incredulity that anyone could find value in the movie. (And I did say that if my wife still wanted to see the movie, then it was going to require some serious bikini and blowjob time from her in order to patch-up and repair my memory of the evening!)

    That then prompted a flurry of texting and phone calls. The next thing I know, the agenda for Saturday evening was miraculously changed. The group went out to do something different. Problem solved! In hindsight I learned that another husband in the group had said basically the same thing that I had. My wife and her new-found co-conspirator then easily steered the rest. Fact is, once the bulk of the group learned what they were in for, once they looked behind the Julia Roberts headline and realized the picture had no redeeming substance, then there was simply no longer any interest in seeing it. (My wife came to the same conclusion for SATC2 without my input.)

    Start off by marrying well, my friends. …And then manage/game the hell out of it.

  20. Lily says:

    @Mjay
    Lol at the book with the spoof title.

    However, got to say that without the title, that’s nothing new. If you ever go on vacation to Thailand, have a look in the bookshop at the airport, full of books written by western men looking for themselves amidst drink and hookers.

  21. dalrock says:

    Nicely handled MNL! Glad to hear it turned out well for you.

  22. J says:

    LOL @”chick porn.” My husband would say that a movie isn’t “femporn” (his term) until it involves Kathy Bates as the “fat friend” and a man apologizing to a woman. That’s hot stuff. He once pretended to be a woman gratifying herself while I watched a snippet of a some Natalie Portman film in which her ex apologizes on his deathbed for deserting her and their kid. It was pretty funny.

    On a more serious note, it surprises me that this girls’ night out to the movie evoked such a big response from not one, but two of the husbands of the women in the group. If I got shanghied by my friends into seeing this movie–a possibility in that I might go with the group’s consensus to be nice even though I had no real interest in the movie–I doubt my husband would care much. He might make a joke or two, and I’d probably end up saying that there went 90 minutes and $20 bucks I’d never get back. I’d have probably delivered a caustic movie review to the other women over drinks. But a flurry of frantic phone calls to replan the evening…wow!

    I told Mrs. MNL what the show was all about. (She really had no clue and was simply following the herd.)

    I’d guess that she was more interested in having a girls’ night out than in the movie itself. In fact, I’d assume they all were. One of them saw the ad for the movie and suggested to the others, who all said OK because they wanted to go out, have some fun and maybe see Julia Roberts or some pretty scenery. Heck, now that I’ve read the reviews, I’ll probably watch some off it on TV just for the scenery–and my husband wil make snide comments which will amuse me. Throw in some popcorn, and it’s an evening!

  23. dalrock says:

    Your husband sounds like a cool guy, and very funny.

    Edit: Him cracking jokes while you watched the show reminds me of when Mrs Dalrock was watching a ballroom dancing show. I kept trying to point out the straight guy in the group; “oh, there’s one! oh, maybe not…” After a while she turned to me and said “We aren’t looking for straight men, we are looking for good dancers!”. She was really irritated but as soon as she said it we both started laughing, since it wasn’t how she meant it to come out.

  24. slwerner says:

    EPL Review – “Doug, the movie wasn’t my bag but not only did she NOT take the journey on money from the divorce, she was the primary, if not sole, breadwinner who offered her husband half, and then later EVERYTHING, in the divorce. “

    I’m going to go ahead and challenge you to back up this claim.

    Since the book came out several years ago, the rather consistent story of it’s genesis has always been (supposedly at least partly by Gilbert’s own telling of events), the she had already been cheating on her husband (who was NOT a slacker at all, BTW), that she set up an off-shore bank account, and that she cleaned out their joint savings before blind-siding him with the divorce petition (Cathy Young wrote about this back when the book was still a best seller, and Gilbert was more forth-coming with details).

    Now, lately, since the movies come out (and likely due to the increase scrutiny Gilbert’s story is receiving) there seems to be a concerted effort to rewrite history so as to portray her actions as less egregious, and her ex-husband as more deserving of his fate.

    I’m not sure if you are one of those who’s take it upon yourself to make up a more palatable tale, or whether you’re simply spreading BS you’ve picked up elsewhere, but, again, consider this a challenge to back-up what you’ve proffered here.

  25. MNL says:

    @J…

    I’d guess that she was more interested in having a girls’ night out than in the movie itself. In fact, I’d assume they all were. One of them saw the ad for the movie and suggested to the others…

    That’s exactly what it was. And on the one hand, that’s entirely harmless. Go out and enjoy. Usually after such gyno-evenings my wife comes back with more energy and enthusiasm for me. Wives need other girlfriends to share and talk with–both for their own sanity and for their husband’s!

    On the other hand, does she really need to expose herself to yet more false illusions of female “enlightenment” and “self-empowerment”? Life is too short for that; LTR’s are challenged enough in pop culture; and there’s plenty of other venues for female bonding. Now, if she had gone out to the movie with her girlfriends, I wouldn’t make a federal case out of it. I’d have gone out somewhere with my guy friends. And my wife would probably come back and roll her eyes right along with mine at the movie’s subject matter. But there are clearly better ways to spend an evening. To bring it home a bit more: it’s all the very same reason I don’t frequent strip clubs while married. I don’t want to risk bringing home their different but equally false expectations.

  26. Gorbachev says:

    @Dalrock,
    I know for many stating the obvious like I just did may come as quite a shock. Hopefully for most readers it will be a pleasant shock. For those who find this unpleasant, I’ll turn it around to prove this isn’t some anti woman rant. If I start fantasizing about the death of my wife so I could remarry another woman, or start fantasizing about divorcing my wife for no good reason and traveling the world in celebration, I would be acting tacky, disgusting and childish.

    Don’t you know?

    Women get a free pass on everything men get punished for.

    They’re special snowflakes. Not egotistical or self-obsessed at all.

  27. JD says:

    J:

    Agree with your thinking on this; the men come across as mighty insecure to make such a big deal over a silly OprahWorld movie. They could have had fun making snarky comments afterwards or calming pointing out the hypocrisy on display in the film.

    On the other hand, they could have insisted on visiting a stripclub afterwards! It would have only been the fair thing to do. (My husband has visited a couple stripclubs after our marriage — never bothered me a bit.)

  28. EPL Review says:

    Slwerner, it’s in the movie.

    Editor: EPL Review is the latest name for our resident troll, Indian Grandmother, Bad Boy, etc.

  29. dalrock says:

    Thats pretty much about it. But don’t forget to shame men for daring to speak up about it. Any man who would point out bad behavior in a woman must either have a small penis, be a wimp, or more likely both. Manly men are the ones too afraid to point this kind of thing out, after all.

    BTW, did you see the warning trailer I made for the movie? It has almost 500 views on youtube already.

  30. Gorbachev says:

    Saw and thought – women will think you’re bitter. Men get it.

    The biggest failing of this movie: It’s vapid.

    Like all chick flicks.

  31. dalrock says:

    I think some women really do get it. Mrs Dalrock loved the idea, but wanted me to change the music. Originally I was thinking Beethoven’s moonlight sonata. She suggested the current track instead, and it really did have a better effect. Also, the first youtube commenter was a woman, and she thought it should apply to the lifetime channel as well.

    I also think we underestimate the power of calling out bad behavior on women. After all, if it didn’t sting, why else would there be such a hue and cry when we do? Feminists try to neutralize words like “slut”, for example, but then scream bloody murder when anyone references the word in reply to their original use of the term (just ask Susan Walsh). I think the same is true for the word Spinster. Being a spinster has connotations of failure. Being a divorcee used to as well, but not so much any more. So I coined the term Post Marital Spinsterhood, and my guess is it hits the mark more than they want to admit. It also fits the data, of course, as the AARP study found.

  32. Badger Nation says:

    EPL Review,

    “Slwerner, it’s in the movie.”

    Rrrright. That’s why it’s called a “movie” and not a documentary. Of course they are going to whitewash details here and there to keep the audience sympathies up. Sounds like you’re the slwlerner.

    But in any case, even if he was a “freeloader,” do you have the same condemnation for freeloader housewives? Are they deserving of their husbands walking out on them whilst boffing the nanny?

    If one wants to get into gender roles, EPL is a flip on the “male midlife crisis” meme. But Hollywood would never make a positive film about a bored male provider who ditches his “responsibilities” to travel the world looking for blow and hookers.

  33. Badger Nation says:

    “the men come across as mighty insecure to make such a big deal over a silly OprahWorld movie.”

    Thanks for the shaming. If you’re done, I’ll now go back to my life.

    Every time men point out a double standard, bad behavior or whatever, we have to hear about how “insecure” we are. Give me a break.

    Now to the guys: as I’ve learned in many fields, an ounce of objection is worth a pound of cure. Don’t let little social problems grow into big ones because you were too shamed or nervous to take a stand against it in its infancy.

    Think of it like training a dog. Set boundaries and enforce them – gently but firmly. Quickly you’ll get an animal who knows what not to do. Ignore the boundaries until the dog really screws up? Ineffective, unfair to the dog and takes too much energy.

  34. slwerner says:

    So, you believe that it must be fact then?

    At least, that’s how you posted it – as if you had some inside information on the real-life story of the break-up of Gilbert and her ex-husband.

    I’m afraid I have some more bad news for you, those letters you’ve been getting from deposed dignitaries in Nigeria asking for your help in smuggling large sums of money out – for which you will be given a generous cut, well in excess of your initial investment. Well, those too are fiction.

  35. JD says:

    “Shaming” again? Is everything “shaming” with (some of) you dudes?

    However, the old dog training/wife training analogy is just hunky-dory, right?
    I laugh, I laugh!

  36. Lily says:

    Sorry, dalrock for not understanding why this is tacky. I don’t know what the big deal is, it’s just a story. She’s no role model feminist icon, she’s not exactly Lisbeth Salander! It’s about as threatening to men as City Slickers was to women. Or a woman finding porn on her husband’s computer.

    Well it is tacky in that it’s a film about ‘finding yourself’. *coughs up my lentils and cancels my guardian subscription/books a yoga holiday* (English version of SWPL).
    But my feeling is most women who go and see it are of a certain generation who like Julia Roberts. I didn’t even know about it till I saw your blog and I was baffled by your video(when I saw title, thought it was linked to grammar as on one of the feminist websites linked to above thought lol).

    From what I can see after reading about it, it’s just about someone who had certain expectations on what would make them happy and when they got there, realised it didn’t make them happy after all. It’s not saying to women oh go and leave your husband, it’s just one person’s story. If there’s any marriage lesson in it for women, it’s not get married and then throw it away, it’s more like, you have to be your own self first, not expect to find the One and they are going to complete you. Which isn’t actually a bad lesson.

    And if you are going to see it like that as opposed to a chick flick with good scenery, it’s just as much in it for modern men as women, I know plenty of guys who left long relationships because they felt unfulfilled (and whilst regretted the pain they caused women who spent several years of their 20s with them thinking it was going to turn out differently, not enough to stay with them or seem to have any long lasting guilt about it) or feel they pursued their career at the expense of their ‘true self’.

    As for my household:
    x: let’s go and see this film
    y: hah hah. do we need to find ourselves.
    x: yeah baby
    y: what do you want for dinner, lentils or mung beans?
    x: what do they have in bali? it looks amazing in the trailer
    y: you know z’s travel company specialises in bali, apparently now’s a good time to get good prices for the winter. can you still manage a couple of weeks off in january?
    x: maybe, let’s have a look at their website.
    *following 2 hours spent looking at holidays to bali.*

    I will leave it to you to decide who said what.

    *distraction, works on children, dogs and people. No need for a big song or dance. Or ‘training’ or ‘game’.

  37. Lily says:

    So neither of you have ever seen a movie like City Slickers? I can’t remember the name of the more recent one (last year?) where two guys go on the road. Involves adultery, hookers and wine. Or read a book like About a Boy? Or read a book by Graham Greene which involves an affair? Or read Lance Armstrong’s biography? Never read it myself by a male mid life crisis friend (lot older than me was rambling on about Lance finding himself and leaving his wife for Sheryl Crowe). Was that tacky of him to read it?

  38. Lily says:

    Just want to clarify these are questions🙂 I’m aware things with question marks can come across as confrontational on the internet when question marks, but hopefully you both know me well enough by now to know I’m genuinely interested in your perspectives.

  39. J says:

    @Dalrock

    Your husband sounds like a cool guy, and very funny.

    Yeah, he’s a stitch. We went out to dinner at a fancy restaurant over the weekend, and he did his Gordan Ramsey and Jacques Pepin imitations, critiquing the food and wine. People were eavesdropping and laughing.

    Mrs. D. is prety witty herself!

  40. J says:

    Wives need other girlfriends to share and talk with–both for their own sanity and for their husband’s!

    Indeed, we do!

    it’s all the very same reason I don’t frequent strip clubs while married. I don’t want to risk bringing home their different but equally false expectations.

    That’s great! It’s egalitiarian and equitable, so I won’t mess with you for not giving your wife enough credit for realizing that click flicks are BS.😉

    Srsly, if you are conscious of not building false expectations, I respect that you want your wife to do the same.

  41. J says:

    Badger,

    Not to sound shaming, but just to give some feedback– it really does sound insecure when guys flip out about some Oprah-approved POS movie.

    Know how a lot of the guys at CR worry about looking “beta” in front of women and losing their respect? Most of the things they think look beta honestly don’t seem all that beta to me. Who cares, for example, who holds whose hand or who puts their head or whose shoulder? But this case really would cause me to lose repect to lose respect for my husband. It’s super-beta. Honestly. And I hate the word “beta” used as an insult.

    I’m really do understand that the idea of a woman leaving a guy for what appears to be no good reason offends you guys, but to think that a woman would feel “empowered” to leave you because of a movie says something is either very wrong with you guys or your women. It gives the impression that either you are very unapplealing to begin with or you are dealing with some real dumb bunnies.

    It’s like a woman having a fit because her husband looks at Playboy. If my husband gawks at Miss December, does that mean he’s going to leave me? Probably not, but no big loss if that’s all it takes to motivate him to break up a 20+ year marriage.

  42. J says:

    Correct on both counts!

  43. dalrock says:

    J, the shaming thing isn’t a big deal, it is just tedious. Especially when it is used to counter bringing up actual bad behavior of women. If you were a better man, you wouldn’t mind my being tacky. Sure. Actually it was my #$%*@ small penis which made me think that being tacky was bad. I hate it when it does that. So there you have it.

    but to think that a woman would feel “empowered” to leave you because of a movie says something is either very wrong with you guys or your women.

    There is research that shows that divorce is catchy, and spreads like a disease. In addition there are anecdotal accounts like Dana’s on Hawaiian Libertarian’s blog.

  44. Badger Nation says:

    ““Shaming” again? Is everything “shaming” with (some of) you dudes? ”

    Well, women have been shaming men for centuries, so we’re nowhere near catching up calling y’all on it. J’s response to my response is 100% shaming (she took the bait, so predictable) and really crude at that – “well you must not be a real man if you wife would leave you because she read some book!”

    The women on this board show a complete lack of empathy with the male experience.

    Not to mention the fact you don’t seem to want to acknowledge that people, and apparently women in particular, operate on good healthy doses of faddishness and peer pressure. Ergo the “catchiness” of social ills like divorce.

    So yes, a lot of guys – real, strong men – should be worried about a book/movie that glorifies adultery and leaving one’s husband just because you feel like it.

    But I think you take my dog training analogy too personally. It’s the simple fact that a man saying “God, what a bitch, I can’t believe they made a movie out of that garbage” sets boundaries, and shows what he thinks is acceptable. But if boundaries are bad, you can just have some “you go girl” and I’ll feel fine continuing to wonder what ~50% of American women think they are contributing to the world.

    Actually, guys should wonder – if both sides are not both totally got for having kids, what’s the damn point of getting married at all?

  45. Ulysses says:

    As Clueless was a reworking of The Taming of the Shrew, does it really qualify as a chick flick?

  46. J says:

    J’s response to my response is 100% shaming….
    The women on this board show a complete lack of empathy with the male experience.

    I’m truly sorry that my comment seems to lack empathy to you. I was just trying to give some honest feedback. I really do think that if a movie threatens an otherwise good relationship, then that the relationship may not be as good as you think. Take my opinion for whatever it’s worth, but no harm was intended.

  47. dalrock says:

    J, don’t listen to him. That’s just his small penis talking.

    (hold your fire, I’m just kidding)

    Edit: He really is right though. This idea that only a wimpy man would ever call a woman on bad behavior is really nonsense. Wimpy men hand their balls to their wives for safekeeping, and would never mention such a thing. A man who is willing to speak his mind when risking the wrath of his wife, or being belittled in any number of ways by women who don’t want to hear it is not wimpy. The man who cowers in silence is the wimpy one. Your husband handles this with humor and grace, but he still gets his point across. I saw nothing wimpy in Badger Nation making his own point as well.

  48. J says:

    J, don’t listen to him. That’s just his small penis talking.

    A talking penis? Now that I can respect and admire!

    Edit: He really is right though. This idea that only a wimpy man would ever call a woman on bad behavior is really nonsense.

    I’d agree. But I think a person needs to pick their battles. To reverse the situation, if I caught my DH cheating, I’d have his balls. If I caught him looking at Playboy or internet porn, no biggie. I suppose there’s data linking porn and cheating, but my DH isn’t a cheater so there’s no real threat. Same thing, in my mind with “femporn.”

    Wimpy men hand their balls to their wives for safekeeping, and would never mention such a thing. A man who is willing to speak his mind when risking the wrath of his wife, or being belittled in any number of ways by women who don’t want to hear it is not wimpy. The man who cowers in silence is the wimpy one.

    Granted. Speaking his mind isn’t the issue. It’s being threatend by non-threatening stuff. If a female friend called me because she discovered a Hustler under the bed, I’d tell her to grow the hell up and call me back when she discovered some other woman’s thong.

    Your husband handles this with humor and grace, but he still gets his point across.

    True, but the movie really wouldn’t bother him. Something like a phone call from another man….well, that would trouble.

    I saw nothing wimpy in Badger Nation making his own point as well.

    Agreed. It wasn’t his making the point that bothered me. I just don’t think the point is a valid one. In all seriousness, if this film, which really looks stupid to me, is a threat to a relationship, it’s time to re-evaluate that relationship.

    And, I think that the fact that all the women on the blog regard the movie as boring except for it’s potential to tempt their husbands into a vacation says somethng important that the guys are missing.

    If I missed how genuinely upset you all are by this movie, again, I apologize for not recognizing your concerns. But really, you all should listen when the women say they see the guys as over-reacting.

  49. JD says:

    ” It’s the simple fact that a man saying “God, what a bitch, I can’t believe they made a movie out of that garbage” sets boundaries, and shows what he thinks is acceptable.”

    He could have said this after (or during) the movie. That was my point; they could have had a discussion about the movie in addition to having a good time mocking it (I would have sure gotten in some snarky comments – I loathe this type of “find yourself” movie. And I wasn’t joking about going to a stripclub afterwards – the women got to have their cheap thrill, the men should have gotten to have theirs. Separates the good sports from the dullards!

    “if both sides are not both totally got for having kids, what’s the damn point of getting married at all?”

    My husband and I have been married for 33 years – no kids – neither of us wanted them. Why did we get married? Love and companionship and all that goes with it.

  50. JackAmok says:

    It’s not insecurity when I tell my son it’s impolite and unnacceptable for him to run around a busy restaurant. It’s not insecurity when I remind my daughter to say “please” and “thank you” or send her to her room if she throws a tantrum. My daughter doesn’t like it either. My son is starting to figure it out though. Daughter will in a couple more years too.

    Frankly I’m fed up with trashy, uncivilized behavior from chronological adults.

  51. dalrock says:

    Granted. Speaking his mind isn’t the issue. It’s being threatend by non-threatening stuff. If a female friend called me because she discovered a Hustler under the bed, I’d tell her to grow the hell up and call me back when she discovered some other woman’s thong.

    Instead of Hustler, how about a magazine filled with stories and pictorial representations of men dumping their wives for younger/prettier models? That might be, what’s the word, oh yes, tacky. And if the wife objected no one would question the efficacy of her vagina, or call her a weak person.

    And this is my point. The whole thing is in unbelievably bad taste. Yet women insist on parading it around to try to normalize it. When they don’t get called on it, they start trying to drag their husbands to this stuff. If they hid this stuff under their beds at least it would show they knew it was tacky. And ironically if they accepted that it was tacky, it would be far less tacky.

    What would you say of a man who reads Hustler on an airplane, for example? Or who leaves them scattered around the house for his wife to find. What does it take to set off your tacky meter?

  52. JD says:

    Well, I’d sure step up my game! And maybe go in for some “cosmetic enhancement.”

    “Or who leaves them scattered around the house for his wife to find. What does it take to set off your tacky meter?”

    This made me laugh! I had a boyfriend who had floor to ceiling stacks of Playboy and Penthouse in his bedroom; I would enjoy reading the cartoons. He was tacky, but his skin mags were the least of the problem.

    Peace. No shame.

  53. J says:

    Instead of Hustler, how about a magazine filled with stories and pictorial representations of men dumping their wives for younger/prettier models?

    How about a PUA blog?😉

    What would you say of a man who reads Hustler on an airplane, for example? Or who leaves them scattered around the house for his wife to find. What does it take to set off your tacky meter?

    Yeah, it’s tacky, but loads of men do it all the time. In fact, it’s viewed as a norm for men to look at that stuff. My point was that most women don’t feel threatened by it.

  54. JD says:

    “My point was that most women don’t feel threatened by it.”

    Right-o! True confession – I gave my husband a year’s subscription to Playboy long ago.

  55. Aunt Haley says:

    Ulysses, Clueless is a modernized retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. The film that is a modern teen version of The Taming of the Shrew is 10 Things I Hate About You.

  56. Aunt Haley says:

    dalrock, the characters don’t marry at the end of Knocked Up. They seem to have decided to form a family unit, however.

  57. Ulysses says:

    Wow, I was wrong.

  58. J says:

    Hey, at CR you’d be the ideal wife.

    Full disclosure–my husband actually doesn’t go for that stuff, but I know a lot of men do. We have a good friend who has an extensive collection of girly mags. I feel pretty unfazed by that knowledge. My boys seem to be going through a period of fascination with the female form. I know moms who’d be all up in arms about this, but it strikes me as normal. I could get prudish about it; I could go all feminist about how girly pix exploit women–but I just think it’s normal for men to want to look at women. I like to choose my battles, and this isn’t where I want to make a stand.

    In all honestly, I must admit that things worked out well in MNL’s case although I think that in many marriages though this would be the wrong place to draw the line. MNL seems to have an issue with people drawing false expectations from media. Since he himself refrains from doing that, I think it’s fine that he would expect his wife to do the same. I don’t feel all that susceptible to the media, and I don’t see my husband as susceptible either. It’s hard for me to see what the big deal is, but I’m glad it was handled amicably between him and his wife.

  59. Reinholt says:

    On the topic of shaming and the tangent it evolved into:

    Quit changing the subject. What was initially said was an attempt to shut down conversation by calling someone out. If you don’t like that some men disapprove of movies like this (or, really, anything else) or feel differently yourself, here’s a suggestion: get over it. I have no problem with people posting their own beliefs, but attacking others for it is juvenile, childish, and pathetic.

    It is the height of entitlement to believe that, because you feel something in particular about something an individual has done, you have some degree of moral authority over them and/or that they should change their behavior just because, in this case, you happen to be of the opposite gender. As, in the end, here’s the list of people in the general populace who care what you think:

    Better luck next time.

  60. Lovekraft says:

    I wonder, though, how often this guy has had to ‘shore up the defenses’ so to speak. Feminism is unrelentless, morphing and insidious and there will always be another Eat-Pray-Queef down the line.

    Faith with a religious undertone is an essential antidote, IMO.

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  62. grerp says:

    Sorry – I commented early in the thread, but didn’t realize what direction this discussion went. I always think it’s valuable to call out bad behavior, and the more it’s being promoted, the louder your voice has to be. Because we really are surrounded by propaganda on all sides and people swallow it whole. Yes, it is true that the number of women who read/watch EPL and then leave their husbands due to the influence of the movie is very low, but it introduces or reinforces the idea that one can do what one wants without regard for other people. If people hear that message enough and it goes unchallenged, you’ve got yourself a nice little culture of narcissism started. And it’ll spread.

    Julia Roberts is big box office and an aging “America’s Sweetheart.” She has influence. If she’s peddling a crap message, she – and Gilbert and the filmmaker – should be called on it. There are so many books and movies about husbands who walk out on their families. They are never the heroes of these tales. Why should women be? Abandoning the commitments and promises you make is bad. No one should pretend it’s enlightenment or self-actualization.

  63. Hope says:

    Hasn’t Julia Roberts always peddled crap messages? Like the fairy tale story of prostitute meets great man and lives happily ever after in Pretty Woman. And this was in 1990.

    20 years later she’s still peddling the message that women can do whatever they want (socially disapproved acts like prostitution, divorce, etc.) and get whatever they want (love, happiness, richness, the man of their dreams).

    Why be surprised?

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  75. I know I’m late to the party here…but can I just say, as a woman, BRAVO!!!!

    When “Eat, Pray, Love” came out I was really confused about the *Christian* women I knew who were posting approving reviews of the movie on Facebook. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the redeeming value of it was. Of course I didn’t bother to watch it to find out what redeeming value it had, because I thought it was trash, and didn’t want to give my hard earned money to support it.

    I do wonder some times about the behavior of women, and whether they really realize how it damages their marriages.

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