Scarlett O’Hara: Manipulative Vixen or Misunderstood?

About 2 years ago, I got to thinking a little more about dear Scarlett and it hit me: I want to BE a modern day Scarlett O’Hara.

I made this proclamation to a friend who is a therapist and she told me I better have a good explanation or she’d be putting me in therapy twice a week, and pronto!

Although many profess to be fans of the epic saga “Gone With The Wind”, digging deeper it is hard to find any true Scarlett fans.  Like many strong, modern day women, Scarlett O’Hara is misunderstood.

While watching the movie with my boyfriend, he could barely sit through it.  He found Scarlett to be ‘evil personified’ – everything he finds unattractive in a woman.  He too, was concerned when I told him of my desire to be a modern day Scarlett.

Don’t get me wrong, her moral compass was in need of repair.  Her “fiddle-dee-dee’s”  eyelash batting and the whole “I’ll worry about that tomorrow” could be a bit much.

But Scarlett O’Hara was a woman who knew how to succeed in the environment she lived in, and what woman doesn’t want that? (Or man for that matter)

Here are the top 5 reasons I want to be a modern day Scarlett O’Hara.
(And I don’t even include how great she looked in evening wear!)

1.    Scarlett Knew How to Read and Relate to Her Audience

If you watch the movie again, see how good she is at presenting herself to get what she wants from the people around her.  With her keen sense of human behavior, she knows to play “Daddy’s Little Girl” with her father.  She should get an Oscar for her ability to play the “Damsel in Distress”.   While she acted innocent and in need of protection with most men, she knew that the way to get Rhett Butler’s attention was to let her spoiled little girl side and temper show.  Remember when she wanted to be in Atlanta to see Ashley?  How well she played the role of dutiful niece to Aunt Pittypatt.

2.    Scarlett was an Agent For Change

Scarlett O’Hara didn’t blindly accept the norms of her time.  Throughout the movie we see her bucking the system.  She doesn’t see why the women have to nap during the barbeque. She wants to eat and enjoys food, in spite of constant reprimands by Mammy.  She wants to run a business, own property, be in charge of her own destiny – not simply sit and look pretty while being taken care of by a man.

3.    Scarlett Had Amazing Strength When She Needed It

How many women can go from “Damsel in Distress” to helping men who are wounded in a war with the blink of an eye? When Atlanta is being bombed, Melanie is giving birth and Miss Prissy is completely losing it, Scarlett takes firm control of the situation and keeps everyone safe in spite of huge obstacles.  (Like bombs, fire and stampeding mobs!)

4.    Scarlett Could Swallow her Pride & Get the Job Done

It isn’t easy to stand tall when you haven’t made the best choices, or when you must admit you need help—especially for a strong-willed gal like Scarlett.  When the plantation is in shambles and her sister’s are falling apart, Scarlett takes charge.  She organizes the family and works the land to grow food for their survival.

Scarlett makes a dress from curtains, trying to show Rhett Butler she is doing well when she needs his help. She holds her head high, with a stoic look on her face as she enters Melanie’s party wearing her red dress, ready to accept whatever consequence there will be for putting the men in danger.

5.    Scarlett was a Shrewd Business Woman

Women couldn’t own businesses in her day – so she found a man who could and who would let her run it.  It is unfortunate that this man happened to be her sister’s fiancé, but that does make for good movie drama.  Thankfully women don’t have to resort to stealing our sister or friend’s fiancé to own a business these days!

Through it all, Scarlett remained a woman with vulnerabilities and a very feminine side.  So I say keep your ‘fiddle-dee-dee’s’ and swooning to a minimum and channel your “inner Scarlett”.  Let the strong, self-assured woman inside shine!

Who doesn’t need a little of her spunk and tenacity these days????

~ Tara

P.S. You guessed it – I was named after the plantation, which I’m sure, at least in part, accounts for my love of the movie.

P.P.S.  Pictures are ©WarnerBrothers / MGM and the movie “Gone with the Wind”

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