We have already discussed the imperialistic and racist dimensions of Eat, Pray, Love. Today, a movie based on this book is coming out and it is predicted to be a huge success. So why is there such a huge (mostly female) following the book and movie about what one reviewer calls a "pampered princess on constant display" with a "petulant, overblown ego"?
It is no surprise that women are sick and tired of this restrictive model. They gulp down rubbish like Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia because it offers a celebration of an escape from the obligatory marriage and motherhood, from the ubiquitous and unattainable standards of female thinness, from the condemnation of women who put their own pleasure before the that of men and children.
What saddens me is that this female discontent is not being channelled in the direction of political activism. Feminism does not have much to offer to these women since "choice feminists" have made the movement completely toothless. "Choice feminism" proposes that the greatest freedom women can desire is the freedom to be obedient little consumers. It is terrified of questioning any aspect of the gender status quo. The two major ruling parties in the US (which are mirrored by regional equivalents petty much everywhere in the West), have no use for women. Hatred of women is part of the Republican agenda. As for the Democrats, the first thing that Obama did when he came to power was to sell out women. Politically, such topics as parental leave, accessible and affordable daycare, equal pay, etc. are dead. If politicians talk about women at all, it is to patronize us and condescend to us. Women are needed to come to the polls, vote, and shut the hell up afterwards. Which is what women do because, as usual, the eternal female role is to do what men want them to.
Until there is a legitimate political force interested in channeling female discontent into activism, women will have no alternative but to escape into idiotic fantasies like the one offered by Eat, Pray, Love.