As you may or may not know, I am beyond obsessed with Gone With the Wind and Titanic. Both feature spunky leading ladies who are played by amazing British actresses with studied American accents. There are also insanely gorgeous leading men in both films aka Clark I-don’t-give-a-damn Gable and Leonardo Dreamboat DiCaprio each with impressively amazing hair. Both Scarlett and Rose challenge society’s notions on womanhood. Also they both have terrible boyfriends before they realize the heinous error of their ways and ultimately choose Rhett and Jack (although, I gotta say that Billy Zane had a pretty handsome head of hair himself). Not to mention each has to survive some pretty crazy stuff like a giant boat sinking and the burning of Atlanta before they come out on the other end stronger, fiercer ladies. In short, Rose and Scarlett are two of my biggest heroines. Like, I wanna be just like them when I grow up with a dash of the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey added when I’m an old lady.
BUT I’m 95% sure I won’t be anything like them. In this two-part blog, I’ll break down why Rose and Scarlett (both named after shades of the color red…coincidence? I THINK NOT!) are way more awesome than any woman alive and why I’ll never live up to them.
First and foremost, Scarlett has a 17-inch waist. I do not have the discipline (or probably the frame) to support that kind of petite waif-ery. I’m from the Midwest and was raised on a diet of carbs and potatoes, so…ain’t nobody got time for that, ya know? Even in a corset after the Master Cleanse AND P90x, I wouldn’t be able to hit that number. After having a baby, her waist is like, what, 19 inches? Then she COMPLAINS about it. I MEAN, COME ON! Can you even TRY to make us feel less inferior, Scarlett?!
- Vivien Leigh. I adore her, she was the most beautiful woman in the world, her acting is unreal, and she was married to Laurence Olivier, the greatest actor in the world. Can you guys imagine anyone else playing Scarlett? NO. Because Vivien is perfect. And no one else is.
- Scarlett goes to the Twelve Oaks barbeque mostly to see Ashley Wilkes (ugh) and winds up surrounded by a bevy of hot Southern gentlemen who all want to feed her ribs and probably okra, but really they all just want to politely get into her pantaloons. I’m going to be honest when I say I would mostly be going to Twelve Oaks for the barbeque, not the men, because I really love barbeque. And unlike Scarlett surrounded by men, I would be surrounded by empty plates. This is why I’ll never have a 17-inch waist and probably be single forever. See? No discipline.
- Scarlett possesses an undying devotion to her family’s plantation, Tara. When she finds herself in times of trouble, she always goes back to Tara. After the war, she takes it upon herself to revive her land by working it with *gasp* HER OWN HANDS.
Keep in mind this is 1865, and proper young ladies only use their hands for delicate needlework or raising cups of tea to their mouths. I’m so impressed Scarlett actually knew how to plant and pick crops even though she was raised to take afternoon naps and be admired. I may have grown up in the Midwest, but I don’t know the first thing about real farming. I can barely keep floral bouquets alive for more than a few days, so…saving a plantation? Forgeddaboutit.
COMMON GROUND: the Ashley Wilkes problem
Here is where EVERY woman can identify with Scarlett: we all have or once had an Ashley Wilkes in our lives at some point or another. You know, that one guy you just feel all the feelings for, and they’re kind of unrequited but also kind of requited which makes everything extremely confusing? That’s Ashley Wilkes. Scarlett throws herself at Ashley every chance she gets despite him being in love with his cousin Melanie (Was incest like, seriously a thing back in those days? I mean gotta keep those bloodlines going, I get it, but…ick). However, Ashley perpetuates the situation by constantly giving in to Scarlett’s advances.
After the war, he even makes out with her a little bit at Tara. This is clearly not okay now or pretty much EVER. Ashley is the kind of guy who likes all the attention he can get, even though he’s just not that into you. I’ve totally been there; probably 75% of all the guys I’ve seriously liked were Ashley types, and it’s just not fun.
Thank god Scarlett FINALLY realizes Rhett Butler is way hotter than Ashley, not to mention treats her like gold and truly loves her. Also, let’s be honest: who would rather kiss Leslie Howard over Clark Gable? No one, children. NO ONE.
No offense to Leslie Howard, but Gable is sheer sex with a fab mustache. I like tall, dark, and handsome, not blonde and wishy-washy. And don’t forget Rhett paid an exorbitant amount of money to purchase a dance with an in-mourning Scarlett because he knew how much she wanted to dance. Back in those days, if a lady was in mourning, she wasn’t allowed to have fun, so Rhett and Scarlett basically committed social suicide just by waltzing around. If that’s not a sign of devotion and ballsy-ness, I don’t know what is. Ladies, hold out for a Rhett. Ashleys are just not worth it.
- Scarlett pulls a Lady Sibyl from Downton Abbey and works as a nurse in a Civil War hospital. Okay, so we all know that Melanie really is the Lady Sibyl of Gone With the Wind because she’s super nice and selfless and quietly volunteers herself to help with everything whereas Scarlett begrudgingly helps so she LOOKS as selfless as Melanie. But Scarlett does start to suck it up and get the hang of it (even though watching an amputation makes her sick…but who wouldn’t want to vom after seeing someone’s leg cut off?). She sweats and gets blood on her and still looks amazing and beautiful. Like, her hair looks even better than all those beauty queen doctors on Greys Anatomy (does no one EVER look frazzled on that show?). While initially I would be gung-ho about helping with the “War Effort,” the minute I saw someone cutting off a limb or scarred worse than Freddy Kruger, I’d probably faint and then hightail it back to Aunt Pitty-Pat’s where we’d discuss her getting a new nickname because Pitty-Pat suggests spinsterhood, cats, and too many hours spent crocheting things.
- BIRTHING BABIES. Since Prissy is an idiot (and with a name like Prissy, how could she NOT be an idiot? My apologies to any Prissys out there because you probably would at least be able to dial 911 in case of a birthing emergency), Scarlett is forced to birth Melanie’s baby while Atlanta is literally burning down around them. I mean has there ever been a bigger drop-the-mic moment?!
Like, Scarlett births that baby then flags down Rhett in a carriage and gets Melanie and the baby inside before hauling ass back to Tara. Hi, my name is Scarlett O’Hara and I birth babies, save people from mass fires, and drive a carriage by myself back to my home plantation. [drops mic] Even Jay-Z couldn’t do that…but I bet Beyoncé probably could because she’s a fierce diva like Scarlett.
- Taking down a Civil War burglar. Technically, Melanie is the one who shoots him, but Scarlett gives him a whole lotta shade and sass. Ladies, THIS is how you deal with would-be rapists and plunderers: grab your shy BFF and make her shoot him for real while you just shoot daggers with your eyes and yell things like GET OUT OF MY HOUSE YOU VARMIT! (Side note: let’s all make a pact to bring back the word “varmit”) That’s what I’d do…and also call the police, because God knows Prissy sure wouldn’t know how to do THAT either.
- The curtain dress. Only two ladies in history have ever gotten away with this drapery couture: Scarlett O’Hara and Maria from the Sound of Music (okay and those VonTrapp kiddos).
It’s a tricky business wearing your own household decorative items, but Scarlett makes it look like literally the best thing in the world. If Vogue had existed in 1865, Scarlett would have been on the cover in that thing. I can barely get away with wearing bedsheets at a Toga party, so there’s pretty much no hope for me wearing window drapes. Also I don’t have any luxurious, long curtains anyway, so I’d wind up in my window blinds, which would probably come off more Lady Gaga and less Lady Cora Crawley.
- Face it, ladies: none of us will ever find a man as dashing as Rhett Butler.
That whole “you should be kissed and often and by someone who knows how” thing makes me weak in the knees. Men, you have your work cut out for you. Always be a Rhett, never be an Ashley.
Basically, Scarlett is the bee’s knees. Also Mammy because she always gives Scarlett the lowdown when she’s acting like a major beyotch. Anyway, I’m sure there are a million other reasons I’ll never be as cool as Scarlett, but I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day…
STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO: Rose’s Turn!