Dating Tales: Do men prefer a Scarlett O’Hara or a Melanie Wilkes?

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Not long ago, Gabrielle Reece, the world famous model, volleyball star and wife to pro surfer Laird Hamilton, sparked controversy with her new memoir “My Foot Is Too Big For The Glass Slipper”.  In her memoir, she claims that ” to truly be feminine means being soft, receptive, and submissive.” It just so happens that around the same time, I was enjoying a day full of watching old classic movies. One of my favorites is Gone with the Wind. When I heard about Gabrielle’s controversy, I immediately thought of the stark differences between Scarlett O’Hara and Melanie Wilkes.

The question is, do men prefer a Scarlett or a Melanie? Let’s use the Scarlett and Melanie characters from the movie as a basis for a comparison/contrast to the modern woman.

Scarlett O’Hara

scarlett ohara

She truly has to be one of the most popular characters in cinema and classic fiction.  Even if you have not seen the movie, most are familiar with the characteristic traits of Scarlett.  She was spoiled, ruthless, conniving but a survivor.  However, she was not always like that.  In the beginning, she was hopeful, in love and plotting a future with a man she felt she loved.  It was the harsh realities of the war that changed her and made her cold, calculating and money hungry. She became fiercely independent, despite her many marriages.  In the majority of those marriages, it was obvious that she was the one to wear the pants.

Melanie Wilkes

melanie wilkes

Melanie is the polar opposite of Scarlett.  She is sweet, indulgent and self sacrificing.  She puts her husband’s needs and everyone else’s ahead of her own.  She is so submissive to her husband, that she even participates in his self perpetuated illusion of a world that allows him to avoid facing reality due to his cowardice.  Despite being drawn to Scarlett, Ashley knew she was too much for him and chose Melanie because she was more like him.  Melanie is still a pillar of strength, similar to Scarlett, she just goes about it in faithful and loyal manner.  The Melanie’s of the world are the homemakers.  They take great pride in their families.  They allow their husbands to lead and they don’t mind being the background to their foreground.

scarlett vs melanie

This leaves us with the question, who would make a better wife- Scarlett or Melanie?  Which one do most men seek out?

I believe there will always be a debate about whether or not a woman should be submissive to her man.  A lot of women view submissiveness as a detriment to their independence.  Yet, there is the other spectrum that believes wholeheartedly the man should be the head of the household.  In Gabrielle’s memoir, she felt the reason her marriage is such a success is due to her submissiveness.

Is this why so many women are choosing to remain single; because men are really seeking the meek and mild?  I would love to hear what others think about this topic.  Feel free to leave your comments to spark up a discussion on this topic and remember to keep it respectful!

~ Mara Prose




4 Comments on “Dating Tales: Do men prefer a Scarlett O’Hara or a Melanie Wilkes?

  1. I’m a big GWTW fan. You pose a fascinating question. I don’t think there are too many Scarletts in the world!

  2. I saw Gone with the Wind as a little kid about 10 years old. Melanie just captured me. I wanted to marry someone like her. Her goodness and peacefulness even made a 10 year old boy understand that life would be grand with a wife. Like her. I’m 62 years old now and have been married to my Melanie for 37 years. I couldn’t be happier.

  3. Melanie was actually much stronger than Scarlett. She was a leader in her community among women as well as men. At the dance, the man asked Melanie’s opinion to proceed. Melanie used her wits after Frank Kennedy was killed so that the men were safe. She chose to think well of Scarlett even though Scarlett did not always deserve it. Melanie was not as sexy but she she gained her power through integrity whereas Scarlett often used men.

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