Feminism is being quietly redefined in the post-#MeToo era, played out in a very modern way in the Amazonian divorce coming our way. The Bezos’ are splitting. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, is separating from his wife MacKenzie Bezos; $137 billion and four kids are to be divided.
The headlines of course are very vocal on his lewd selfies, sexting and clandestine affair that the paparazzi have laid out in great photogenic detail. But the one headline that stands out is the cost of the impending divorce to Mr Bezos and what it means in financial terms to Mrs Bezos; former somewhat in the red, latter in the black for life. Rising like the sun behind the debris of beer bottles and bar fights in
the contemporary fairy tale is the wife.
In the current anti-patriarchal narrative, it is not the man or his love, but the wife who is emerging the new heroine. She is the one who helped him build his business, is bringing up children with him, and lived with him for 25 years.
Feminism has rotated 360 degrees, arriving at the same viewpoint but from the other side. Traditionally, leaving a spouse is seen as a rip in the social fabric. The other woman is to be feared, the home-breaker is a heartless interloper. Men who remarried had to be widowers or burdened with paralysed wives. Then it made sense. But by and large a woman who gave you multiple sons and stood shoulder to shoulder with you in your poor days had to be respected with a mangalsutra for all eternity.
Then women went to work, they had their own money, they decided they may not have children. These women turned to marriage, if at all they did, late in life; and married men were viable options. The sisterhood could only nod in agreement. Wife was the woman who chose kitchens and not birth control, aprons and not lipstick.
But then the twist in the tale: social media and mobile tracking. Nothing is private anymore. Nothing is just between two people. The protagonists have to contend with CCTV footage. And trolls. And the world reading their intimate texts like a comic book.
So now we have a silly man, a cheating woman and the bland, all-powerful wife, who is the only one to have retained her mystique in all this; none of her dirty linen is washed in public. In the hastily printed photos of her, MazKenzie strides tall next to her husband, her toned arms bare and flexed, ready to take on the next role in her life: that of being the world’s richest woman.
So while Jeff spends his time showing Lauren Sanchez his body, and his lips and his eyes, and very soon, smelling her and breathing her in; MacKenzie, it is presumed, will spend her time spending. From being one half of a power couple she is going solo with power.Divorce still carries a stigma, but for the first time it is the man who will have to fight it.