Sorry Darcy, I’m just not that into you.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about Austenland, Shannon Hale’s entertaining book about a woman who won’t accept any man who isn’t Fitzwilliam Darcy. It was entertaining but sad. It’s one thing to have an ideal but something completely different to have an idol that you obsess over.

While writing, I felt like I was somehow betraying my sex by confessing that I’m just not enthralled by the idea of Mr. Darcy. He’s been everyone’s ideal for so long that it seems like decrying him is like betraying the secret code of womanhood. Darcy-lovers are their own sisterhood, a sorority of women who yearn for the archaic gentlemen of the Regency period in English history, or more specifically, a certain frat house. Dissing Darcy is like admitting to your significant other that you hate the dog they dote on so much. It’s not going to go over well.

Still feeling a massive amount of misplaced guilt, I tried to revisit the movie. I popped my favorite version of P&P into the DVD player and hoped to figure out what the Darcy lure was. It didn’t work. I got bored. I still found his accent charming and his vintage Shelby Cobra amazing but he wasn’t intriguing. Misunderstood, yes. But still essentially snobbish and cold. Maybe that’s the rub of it. Darcy never really changes. He’s still proud and cold throughout the whole book but it’s Elisabeth’s prejudice and perception that changes. He becomes warm to her but to the rest of the world, he’s still an aloof man whose net-worth has a direct correlation with his attractiveness. He’s not driven by kindness like Knightly. He isn’t affable or fun-loving like the often forgotten Tilney.  He’s just…brooding. He’s not the type that I’d bring home to meet the family.

It’s more than the personality, it is the objectification of Darcy bothers me. He’s not someone’s ideal, he’s held up as all women’s ideal. Yes, there are Darcy’s out there (but chances are they are without the land, title, looks, and secure portfolio) and they’ll have to get married. And somewhere out there, their perfect-for-them mate is out there. But that doesn’t mean that they should be lauded as the perfect specimen of man. Women decry being objectified as brainless sex symbols. We’re more than our measurements. Barbie’s and Bratz aren’t accurate representations of the average woman. We recognize that and it is something that is discussed within American culture. So why do we allow ourselves to objectify men emotionally like they do women physically? I’m not a flaming feminist. I love men. I love love and my friends call me a closet romantic. But I cringe when I see one woman’s ideas being held up as demi-gods. I hate seeing a nice guy rejected simply because he doesn’t match up to a long list of whims created after years of studying Austen’s manuscripts. If there are essentials that are missing or even personality flaws, by all means, cross him off the list. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just don’t nix him because it was his misfortune not to be named Fitzwilliam Darcy. If his name is George Wickham and he hits on your younger sister, by all means, get rid of him!

But if he’s a nice guy, give him the same grace you’d want him to show you.

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Comments
3 Responses to “Sorry Darcy, I’m just not that into you.”
  1. Fig says:

    Unsurprisingly, I wholeheartedly agree. 🙂 Strong and silent is also, well, it has so many possible motivations.

    Or as Dorothy Parker said:

    And thus they are, whose silly female dust
    Needs little enough to clutter it and bind it,
    Who meet a slanted gaze, and ever must
    Go build themselves a soul to dwell behind it.”

  2. Ansli says:

    this just sounds like someone wanting to dislike a popular character because the character is popular. i absolutely love Mr. Darcy, after reading the books and then watching the movie about a year ago. I know a lot, i mean a lot of people like him- but i didnt know i was apart of some massive sorority where we giggled and *********** all night together in our Mr Darcy Clubhouse.. what?

    and what are you talking about he doesn’t change? he isn’t snobbish and cold he is reserved. why? he has a lot of money. people want his money, not him, not his sister. he has been burned severely in the past by whickham and he wont let the same thing happen to bingley that happened to his sister.

    initially he appears cold snobbish and boring, but by the end of the book this is a hot blooded man willing to pay off Whickham just so he wont utterly ruin Elizabeth’s family. Yes he pays sets down to pay off the main who broke his baby sister’s heart for the rest of his life just so he wont ruin the reputation of a girl he could care less about in order to protect elizabeth’s name. why? because he -loves- her. he could have any woman, hell Ms Bingley would have brought him more money, and had he married Lady Cathrine’s daughter and had EVEN MORE money.

    he is snobbish and boring at the first party because he has been used for his money. everyone knows he’s rich, there’s no avoiding. his sister’s heart was broken by a man who only wanted her money (and coincidentally, probably played up to Darcy’s own father just for the eventual payday)- and he does not want it to happen to Bingley. He misunderstand’s Jane because she’s ******* introverted as hell, and mistakes are made.
    What does he do when he realizes his mistake? Take off to london like a bat out of hell to set is straight.

    This is a man who cares deeply and loyally for those he loves and will do anything to help them without all the abusrd nonsense you see in literature and movies today. He’s entirely in control of his emotions and the reader see’s his change through the book as he learns that to love someone means you do actually have to let some of your guard down.

    Go read the book again. Seriously. There’s a reason why this book is going to be 200 years old in 2013 and people still ******* know about it. its one of the few books where almost every character changes in themself, or to the reader.

  3. becca copu says:

    bravo!

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