On ‘Fatal Attraction’ as the Horrorshow ‘Lean In’

me when hungover

It is a pleasure to read Sady Doyle, Stacia Brown and Amanda Hess on Fatal Attraction as the horror-movie version of Lean In: their talk is part of the ongoing Backlash Book Club. Here’s Amanda Hess on recent bullshit, same as the old bullshit:

I submit that the Fatal Attraction of today is The Other Woman, the 2014 romantic comedy that brings an ostensibly feminist twist to the old adultery tale. […]

But beneath the top-level plot summary, The Other Woman is really, as Wesley Morris put it at Grantland, a “negative-sisterhood movie” seasoned with “contempt for womankind.” […] The Other Woman is tethered to a host shell of female empowerment, selling a sheen of female friendship and female revenge to female audiences — so far, to the tune of $194 million dollars worldwide.

This is what Faludi, in her 2006 preface to Backlash’s 15th-anniversary printing, describes as “worse than backlash”: The commercialization of feminism that pretends to sell empowerment but is really just hawking more shit. “We have stopped to gather glittering trinkets from an apparent admirer,” Faludi writes. “The admirer is the marketplace, and the trinkets are the bounty of a commercial culture, which has deployed the language of liberation as a new and powerful tool of subjugation.”