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Eat, Pray, Love could have been a fantastic book and movie about whiteness and capitalism.
No, it really is about a bored white woman traveling the world, eating food and having sex with various different men while trying to find a word that defines her best. She’s actually a real character who has absolutely no idea what is really wrong with her life. I have a few words for her: white and privileged.
Within the first five minutes, I learned that Cambodian refugees who have seen genocide, war, famines and the worst things imaginable want to talk about their love lives in therapy.
Alright, you know what, I’m going to let that one slide. It’s obviously an attempt to find something safe and something to relate to in a foreign migrant body. Maybe Gilbert should have questioned why people who have been through so much would want to talk about their love lives in therapy with an American psychotherapist. But nevermind.
She tries to consume Indian culture by chanting what is to her boyfriend, some Sanskrit: “Hare Rama Hare Krishna.” That’s when I decided to shut it down. The first time.
I gathered some strength, ate some pizza and decided to give it another try after a few hours. The cultural appropriation continues. She travels all the way around the world to do the same thing: more chanting and meditation in a language she does not understand to find peace. The air-conditioned meditation rooms in India and her sleeping through meditation was the second time I had to shut it down. Then I splurged the contents of my stomach into the toilet.
Can you imagine a person of color doing what Gilbert does in her book and movie? bell hooks tells use that “travel is not a word that can be easily evoked to talk about the Middle Passage, the Trail of Tears, the landing of Chinese immigrants, the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans, or the plight of the homeless.” White people “travel” to find peace while people of color flee genocide, famines and war for the same.
You know, the only way I can consume this movie is to think of it as a satire of whiteness and capitalism.
I’m glad the movie was free because you shouldn’t have to pay for this crap.