Notwithstanding my girl crush on Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada presents a ridiculously optimistic and naiive view of work. The movie, I must admit, is 10 x less annoying to me than the book. But the book is hideous. Here’s why:
1) Main Characters (writer) are Clueless, Naive, and so Gen Y In the movie, Andy’s boyfriend is a sous chef or something. In the book he’s a do-gooder teacher. I don’t mind idealism, but in both versions he looks down his nose at Andy’s job. And then gets self-righteous about what she’s spending her time doing, like it’s nothing. Being the assistant to a fashion goddess at a magazine may not be her dream job, but it’s certainly a job worth trying hard for. He acts like she’s sold her soul to the devil just because she works long hours and tries hard. It bothers me so much. Since when is a good work ethic something to sneer at?
2) It Tells You You’re Selling Out if you Work Hard Andy in the book is a TERRIBLE worker. In the movie, she improves, but in the book she’s surly, snarky, and flat-out a BAD employee. She complains about everything. She back-bites her boss. She does stupid things like buys coffee with corporate cards and then gives them away to homeless people and thinks she’s being charitable. She’s not doing it out of love, she’s being spiteful. She gives 50% to everything she’s doing and never gets better. This is where the movie for me was the only saving grace. At least there she actually does try somewhat, but in the books she’s a bad employee and then curses her boss for being demanding. Wake up call: Bosses are demanding. They have a right to be Another wake-up call: To move up the ladder you have to work your butt off. You have to be there before anyone else and stay later. That’s just life until you “make it” and there’s no shame in that.
3) It makes being an assertive, successful, aggressive female akin to being the devil. Is there anything more anti-feminist? The boss isn’t someone I may aspire to be in entirety, but she has a lot of great qualities and incredible influence. But the book just views her as a mean, ruthless, byotch without a soul. It’s so disappointing that media is stuck on portraying successful women as heartless and one-dimensional.
I watched it again last night and I’m not sure why. Maybe because of Meryl Streep. Maybe because I love the fashion world, though I have no part in it. The closest I have ever come to DG is a knock off I bought on the streets in Manhattan. I can barely pronounce designer names, let alone afford them. But I still think the glitz and glamour is fun.
The part that makes me crazy every time is the scene in the movie when Andi brings all the freebies to her friends and they insult her, steal her phone and make her almost miss a call from her boss, and then call her crazy. That’s the theme of the entire book. Right there. I should write book summaries.
Have you read the book? What did you think?