Gillian Flynn’s Feminism

By Dani Pettas

Prior to learning otherwise, I would have guessed Gillian Flynn is an anti-feminist. I got that impression from an exchange between two characters in her first novel, Sharp Objects. It’s between the main character, Kathy, and a detective on a date (starting with Kathy).

“If I got a little too drunk tonight, and was out of my head and had sex with four guys, that would be rape?”

“Legally, I don’t know, it’d depend on a lot of things–like your attorney. But ethically, hell yes.”

“You’re sexist.”


“You’re sexist. I’m so sick of liberal lefty men practicing sexual discrimination under the guise of protecting women against sexual discrimination.”

Flynn’s latest, Gone Girl has been on The New York Times Best Sellers list for 51 weeks. It’s number eleven this week. Movie rights were sold to 20th Century Fox last July.

Flynn came under fire from Eva Weisman and others because Gone Girl’s main character, Amy–who’s portrayed as a master of deception and murders someone–makes false rape accusations in the story. Weisman says, “when the world is not on the side of the victim, other women will play along with rape culture in order to feel safe.” And continues, “This is one of the effects of perpetuating the fiction that women lie about rape – we end up attacking ourselves.”

This may have prompted Flynn, who’s said to identify as a feminist, to defend her brand of feminism. She’s quoted in The Guardian, “Is it really only girl power, and you-go-girl, and empower yourself, and be the best you can be?” And, “the one thing that really frustrates me is this idea that women are innately good, innately nurturing.”

I’m sorry, but that might have passed for grandma’s feminism 1.0. Feminism 3 or 4.0 is about removing AVFM’s content for challenging a statistic, twitter blocking, and listing urls on as misogynistic.

Is “out of your head” consent? No. Is anything other than “girl power” (power to the dude-bros?) feminism? No.

Where’s the snarky debunking of her misconceptions on Jezebel? Does Flynn need to get in line and Lean In, or is feminism broad enough to include someone who espouses the views of Men’s Rights Activists?

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  • Ginkgo

    “or is feminism broad enough to include someone who espouses the views of Men’s Rights Activists?”

    Hmmmmm…. maybe. There was a spate a few months ago of feminists coming onto the MensRights subreddtti saying they agreed with a lot of MRM criticisms of society.