This is a book/film I was really interested in until I actually read what the plot was.
Thing is, it’s not about whether the book is good, or even about some abstract need for complex female villains. It’s about this particular type of female villain getting hugely popular at this particular time, and how that doesn’t happen in a cultural vacuum. Intentional or not, Gone Girl plays into every single hyper-conservative redpilled MRA (and/or fundamentalist theocratic) stereotype about what women “are”. That’s… a problem. Because pop culture and culture aren’t separable, and a hugely successful fiction about a psychotic woman weaponizing rape accusations against a string of helpless schlubs is damaging. It’s damaging to women in general and the most vulnerable women–those who truly are victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault–in particular. Even the goddamn title is weaponized, in its implicit linking of the term “girl” with sexualised female predation against men; “She said what? Oh, man. She’s totally gone girl on you!”
Don’t get me wrong: I truly don’t believe Gillian Flynn intended this to be the legacy of her novel. I really do believe her when she says she just wanted to write a “violent, wicked woman” as a pushback against endlessly regurgitated feminine purity. I get that impulse, I really do, but…
Sometimes, we have to live in the Really Real World. And, sometimes, the texts we produce have consequences beyond our intentions. Gone Girl is, I think, one of those texts.