The scored bitter ex narrative needs to die

Martin Lawrence Paltrow Love Triangle
Photos courtesy of Flickr

According to gossip chatter, the romance between Chris Martin, Gwyneth Paltrow’s consciously uncoupled ex, and Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be back on, and this has made Paltrow a chain smoking, boozy mess. It seems she worked overtime to drive a wedge between Chris Martin and Jennifer Lawrence, and when news first broke that they were dunzo, she was not so subtle in lapping up her supposed victory. But now that the romance might be back on, Paltrow is pissed. Apparently it’s because this romantic rekindling messes with her agenda to control her ex. At least that’s what I gleaned from various gossip sites.

This scenario sounded so familiar to me- a man and woman splits and the dude moves on to another woman. He seems genuinely happy but the woman just can’t seem to move on. Eventually it struck me why this Patrow/Martin/Lawrence saga was giving me a case of déjà vu. So often when a high-profile heterosexual couple splits, the woman is cast as as a bitter jealous wreck, especially if the ex starts dating a younger woman. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous or accomplished a woman is, as soon as her marriage goes bust and her ex move on to someone else, she immediately morphs into a modern day Miss Havisham – destined to spend the rest of her days subsisting on booze and her own tears.

Demi Moore got this media treatment after her split with Ashton Kutcher in 2011. The New York Daily News said Moore was “devastated that Ashton has moved on so quickly,” and that she was “beyond heartbroken.”

Cameron Diaz got it a bit when she and Justin Timberlake broke up in 2007 and he went on to date Jessica Biel. But how Moore and Diaz were portrayed in the gossip rags paled in comparison to how Jennifer Aniston was portrayed post split from Brad Pitt.

Sure, Jennifer Aniston might have money, fame, beauty and iconic hair, but according to media spin, she spent years trying to pick up the pieces of her life and still struggles to make a romantic relationship last all because she failed to hold on to her man.

 A commentator called Etheldreda on the original story from Celebitchy about Paltrow losing her cool, nailed what’s wrong with gossip media’s insistence on this narrative:

“…all these ‘spurned wife eaten up with jealousy over husband’s much younger woman’ stories appeal to a certain sexist stereotype.”

Actually, there are at least two glaring sexist stereotypes at play with these stories:

  1.  Men are more capable of being stewards of their own happiness than women
  2. Older women are less sexually desirable than older men

The truth is many people, both men and women, feel crippling insecurity and depression after a breakup. Reducing women to jealous vindictive wrecks post breakup is one tired narrative that we all need to dump!

One thought on “The scored bitter ex narrative needs to die”

  1. Women need to stop taking responsibility for the man’s actions and let go of the idea that men can be controlled and held onto and that those women who do stay married and “hold on” have some sort of superior power to those who “cannot hold onto” their men. The media still defines a woman’s worth by her relationship with a man. It is so old, as in Eve old, sure, she was to blame for everything that went down in the garden. I give Gwyneth props, she published a killer turkey meatball recipe I used weekly for months, Jennifer Lawrence has given me nothing.

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