The Dalrock research department* brought the latest divorce empowerment movie to my attention:
My first thought was that we are due for another epic divorce fantasy (courtesy of Oprah of course), with Eat Pray Love showing its age. On the surface, this movie has modern women written all over it:
- ROCD? Check
- Divorce Empowerment? Check!
- Moxie? Check!
- Having it all? Check!
It even stars Reese Witherspoon. Even so, and even though divorce fantasy is normally a foolproof formula for attracting a female audience, I don’t think this movie will do well. The creators have forgotten a key rationalization modern women still require with their divorce fantasies, the rationalization of spiritual morality. This rationalization is absolutely essential to avoid raising the audience’s slut shield.
Seeing the divorcée as a slut inhibits a woman’s ability to truly fantasize about breaking up her family. For most modern women the specific kind of spiritual cover for the empowered divorcée’s sluttiness is mostly unimportant, or at the most a matter of taste. What matters is that the cover is there and that the woman breaking up her family is seen as moral. For most modern women the Hindu aspect of Eat Pray Love was sufficient, with the very title assuring them of Elizabeth’s spiritual purity. However, at least some modern Christian women would have been put off by the fact that the moral cover for Elizabeth’s sluttery was something other than Christianity. In this case Fireproof is the natural alternative. Some of my longtime readers may recall when Sheila Gregoire commented on this site strongly objecting to my characterization of the wife in Fireproof as “whorish”. Thinking of the wife as whorish would prevent the women in the audience from identifying with the wife and thereby ruin the whole divorce fantasy.
This is where the Wild movie trailer falls down in a serious way, because even modern women have their limits on what level of sluttiness they will accept. Not only does the trailer fail to provide sufficient moral cover for the intrepid divorcée, it portrays her as having been both a hard drug addict and a slut:
You’re using heroin, and you are having sex with anyone who asks.