“The Devil Wears Prada” used to be one of my favorite comedy films, because I love fashion as an art form, and most importantly, I love the characters. The actors were just all really really likeable. Meryl Streep should’ve won best actress over Helen Mirren for this role, honestly. Her portrayal was SO GOOD and realistic that she reminded me of several people I know in real life in how they act in business and their approach to be assertive (e.g. speak in a calm, lower tone with that aristocratic flare). On top of that, something about living in a glamorous city with friends just hits my soft spots.
Recently I saw the film again, but ever since I became an anti-feminist and got red-pilled by the HoneyBaders on men’s rights issues, I saw the film with new eyes. I read a lot of other people’s problems with the film, mostly complaining about the characters (especially le boyfriend), and how they have a problem with the film portraying career women as “selling out their souls.” For example, Greta Christina, a notable feminist, has written a piece on it.
Well, if you want to read a critic of the film that you probably will not hear about very often at all, read on. But if you are somebody who wants to live in a fantasy film bubble and are scared about reality cynicism. You can stop right here.
Here are the problems I, as an anti-feminist have with the film:
- Andrea “Andy” Sachs would’ve never gotten that job to begin with. There was just too many things wrong with how Andy could’ve gotten that job.
- First of all, this is quite a high level position. You are literally being one of the assistants to an Editor-in-Chief in a multi-billion dollar industry, you think you could just get an interview for such a position without having ANY experience in the field whatsoever? The answer is a big NO. Andy is somebody who is fresh out of college. The most she would be able to get is an internship, of which experience would be pretty much REQUIRED in order to apply for anything CLOSE to the position that she interviewed. We are told that she came out of a prestigious university and she has won national awards for her college journalism. Sorry, it doesn’t matter. The position she applied is an assistant position, not anything to do with your writing skills, just your organization skills and also how good of a memory you have. So they wouldn’t even take her resume into any kind of consideration and certainly wouldn’t have considered her resume to be “impressive” by any means. An “impressive resume” in this case would be if she has worked years in a similar position in another prestigious company that Runway would know about, and getting a really good letter of recommendation from there. The most Andy would get is some kind of writing or editing internship.
- Second of all, we are told that the reason why she got that job was because Miranda Priesley wanted to “take a chance” because the girls who are suitable for the job all ended up disappointing her in their incompetence and stupidity. As we later found out that what the job really required is, like I said, somebody with extremely good memory and organization skills, this is really just one of those stereotypes regarding girls who like fashion. I’m sorry, I don’t care how “stupid” those fashion girls are, the chances that you will find somebody who is a fashion geek and has just as good of memory and organization skills as Andy, is quite high. In fact, women are by nature quite good at tasks that require organization. You are telling me that you have to resort to book smart to find such a woman? Please gimme a break. From what I’ve seen it’s the opposite: the more interest into girly stuff like fashion a woman is, the BETTER she is at tasks that require organization. So this explanation just doesn’t fly, sorry.
- Last but not least, as somebody who enjoys fashion very much, I have a personal pet peeve against how the movie makes the extreme cases: you either spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on fashion, or you dress in lumpy sweaters and grandmother skirts. I spend a lot of money on clothes but each clothing item is on average 30 dollars. That’s right, $30, not hundreds (although there are a couple of exceptions when I indulge myself in holidays/vacations or my birthday, but 230 on a single item is my limit, and they are probably less than 1% of all my fashion items, including bags, shoes, and jewelry). I spend 30 dollars on average and I dress extremely well (I’ve been told that I’m the best-dressed person in the institution where I work). My secret? Buy things when they are on super-sale, and if you want luxury items, buy used/vintage. It’s really not that hard when it comes to dressing well. You just have to be thoughtful. Andy doesn’t have to be as fashionable as even me, she can spend 20-30 dollars to turn up to work and interviews dressing DECENTLY. What she was wearing is highly inappropriate in any job interview from a big company like Runway. She doesn’t have to show up as a “glamazon” but she can show up dressed all in black or navy blue or gray. She doesn’t have to wear Jimmy Choo there are plenty of shoes that are far more appropriate for the interview. Her hair was horrendous and no, she doesn’t have to have her hair done, just tie it in a pony-tail would make her look far more professional. The way that she dressed alone would’ve have her turned down. Believe it or not companies do judge you on how you dress.
- The film tries to suggest that Andy got a very difficult job in which she gets paid piss poor. There was a scene in the movie where her father has to help her with her rent and complained to her about how her pay is terrible. Once again, this is just another (often feminist) stereotype that the work women do are just as hard as the jobs men do, yet they get paid far worse than men. Sorry, but this is a myth. Andy landed with a job which is being a personal assistant to the editor-in-chief of a prestigious company, and she has to work almost all the time. In reality she would’ve been paid EXTREMELY well for that position. That’s just capitalism. The film seems to suggest that even though the job gets paid little, but because it’s fashion, a million girls would kill for it. This is simply bullshit. It doesn’t matter what type of work it is, stress is stress is stress. People’s motivation would be lost very fast doesn’t matter how much they enjoy the job, if the job is THIS stressful and they are not well-compensated. The company’s reputation would also be on the line if they hire people and make them work like a slave, especially a position as VITAL as Andy’s job. So Andy would’ve been well-compensated for her work. Not only so, but this is pretty much SHOWN in the film where she started to dress in clothes that would cost up to thousands a piece. How is she able to afford all those clothes? Oh the company provides for them? So they are willing to provide her thousands of dollars worth of clothing but pay her shitty? Common gimme a break. And this leads me to say:
- The film wants to hint how the society, especially men, finds “career women” those who sell out their souls. The movie wants us to sympathize with Andy, that she has become a career woman but her boyfriend just can’t sympathize with it very much but is still right that she shouldn’t do it. There are several things about this that the film (and also feminists) doesn’t want you to think about.
- We are told that Andy lives with her boyfriend Nate in their shared apartment. We are also told that Nate has a job but at the start of the film Andy is still searching for a job. This means that she was already living in the apartment (in SOHO New York no less) with Nate BEFORE she found a job herself. So how is she able to afford such a living temporarily with no income of her own? The reasonable deduction would be that Nate was their temporary financial provider until she pays her share. So Nate essentially has to pay for the expensive apartment, as well as the food for the both of them. If you have ever been a sole financial provider for two people or more, you should know how stressful that is.
- But, as I’ve mentioned above, Andy’s job would’ve been paid very well. In fact, her position should in all reason be paid waaayyy more than Nate’s job as some kind of catering assistant to a chief in some (let’s just assume) upper-class restaurant. So, unless Andy does not in fact contribute her share of the income to their household, Nate should immediately recognize how his burden has greatly lifted in terms of the financial situation, especially if Andy contributes more with her much higher income. But in the film Nate doesn’t seem to want Andy to go through with the job. What this basically is saying is that Nate is somehow okay with taking up so much burden of their financial situation. Well then, he’s either stupid or it’s just the patriarchy.
- But still, it’s possible that Nate just doesn’t think it’s worth it, or he thinks that Andy could get a much better job (most likely with lower pay) and spend more time with him as he cares about that more. But if that were the case, if Nate has at least 10% of the brain, he wouldn’t have broke up with Andy over such petty issues as her going to Paris which ends up stepping on Emily. We are supposed to believe from the movie that Nate is a wise guy. Wise men would not do such a thing, because you know why? They KNOW how shitty it is for them to take on so much burdens of being the financial provider and they KNOW how rare it is for a woman to willingly fill their shoes. That’s the reality folks. If you feel sympathy to Andy with how hard she has to work, have some sympathy to men, to your husbands who probably are in similar positions. Think about Andy the next time you whine to your husband or your boyfriend about how he always works and never has any time for you. He does that to bring food on the table and to provide for you that glamorous life. You might protest that this doesn’t describe you, that’s fine, but you would be the exception and not the rule. Statistics proved so.
- The film shove the all too-familiar feminist line of: “if she were a man, no one would say anything except how great he is at his job.” No sorry. In reality, people would say something on the lines of: “yeah another dickhead/jerk/sleezeball, what a surprise.” The irony is, it’s true that if you are a dragon-lady, instead of just a “dragon,” you would have more headlines. Why? because you are the abnormal, the unusual, which would sell more papers. On the other hand, our culture has ACCEPTED the archetype of the “evil CEO” male type. We have accepted that this is just the norm: men who are in those positions have huge egos (Nigel in the film even says that about their chairman: “you know what they say, small man, HUGE ego”, showing that it’s a commonly well-understood idiom), and that that is the NORM. In the film that’s what it showed too. Both Nigel and Christian Thompson, two very successful men, are jerks with huge egos. So which is worse? Accepting that it’s normal that a rich man would just be jerks, so much so that no one will find your paper interesting if you make that as a headline, or a woman’s name is all over the headline because she does a man’s job and has those stereotypical male traits? Well, you decide.