Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Eat Shop Love" - Really?

A bit behind in my subscriptions, I was catching up with the Harper's Bazaar August 2010 issue and I came across Simon Doonan's article, "Eat Shop Love." Having just seen the on-screen adaptation of the travel memoir Eat Pray Love (which I ironically got around to reading while I was in Ghana), I was intrigued. But, within the article, Doonan denounces the idea of women going abroad to "find themselves" and he credits Elizabeth Gilbert's book for putting these flowery ideas of travel and self discovery into women's heads. Instead, he proposes an alternative path to self discovery - shopping. Now, I understand that buying a new pair of heels that magically give you Gisele legs can give you that extra 'umph' in your step, but these quick fixes are just that. Don't get me wrong, I love a good retail therapy session just as much as the next girl but, I know that after I've gotten my purchases home, safely hung them in my closet and closed the door, I'm back at square one. So, it is an understatement that Doonan's suggestion, "instead of going deep, why not go shallow? Instead of the high-minded, why not allow yourself to experience the transformative joys of the profoundly superficial," left me more than a little peeved. I felt like I was reading an advertisement straight out of the fifties- 'Don't let your frustrations get the better of you. Instead, treat yourself to a new iron and steam away!' Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love is a story about a selfish endeavor but, is un-apologetically so. It's not masquerading as a story of philanthropy or cultural understanding. It's about me, me, me- and, why not? For a women's magazine, I was very surprised by the inclusion of this article - especially coming from a male writer. Check out the article (linked above) and let me know if I'm just overreacting or if you think Doonan's article is a bit over the line too.

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