⚠️ This article contains Netflix’s Rebecca spoilers.
➡️ Click here for the YouTube Video of me reading and giving commentary on the content of the article.
I recently watched Netflix’s Rebecca. It was shamefully obvious the movie was trying to invoke a psychological fear based on an insecurity. Ironically, this insecurity has been created and instilled in us by Hollywood and the media.
If you were scared by the movie Rebecca you should read this. If you weren’t scared by the movie you still want to read. This article will give you an idea of how Hollywood, the media, and even individual people use psychology and insecurities against us. These insecurities can evoke emotion in us, get us to buy things or manipulate us to act certain ways.
Synopsis of Rebecca
Maxim deWinter’s wife Rebecca dies. Max is heartbroken. He meets a young, unsophisticated woman and remarries. They go to live at his home where the “new Mrs. deWinter” (she is never given a first name, ouch!) is constantly reminded of Max’s previous wife Rebecca.
Apparently Rebecca could do no wrong and was the most amazing person in the entire world. An employee of the family, Frank, describes Rebecca as “not being afraid of anything” and “the most beautiful creature he ever saw in his life.” (yawn)
The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers plays a big part in forwarding this narrative. All throughout the movie Mrs. Danvers treats the new Mrs. deWinter as if she is an afterthought. Constantly reminding the new Ms. deWinter of Rebecca and how beautiful Rebecca was. (double yawn)
Maxim’s secretiveness regarding his previous wife and her death does not help. There is more to the story but this is the part we are focusing on for this article.
It wasn’t long before I noticed the fear in the movie wasn’t in the suspense or spooky music. The fear evoked was one that we may often experience in our relationships and in our lives. The fear in this movie was fear of not being enough or fear of insecurity. Of being in someone’s shadow. Of someone not being satisfied with us as we are. Of, eek, not being liked!
To some, watching this movie could have been whatever, just another movie. But to others is could invoke that fear. Or, rather, a feeling of discomfort (from facing an insecurity) that we misinterpreted as fear.
For instance when the new Mrs. deWinter thanks Mrs. Danvers for helping her, Mrs. Danvers responds “Oh, I’m sure you won’t disappoint him, madam, if that’s your concern.” No one was thinking that was a concern but now they may be!
When we go somewhere new, meet new people we want to put our best foot forward and to be liked and accepted. That is exactly what the new Mrs. deWinters (from here on out we’ll call her Charlotte) was experiencing in the movie. But instead of being able to make an impression she was being judged against an impossible standard of Rebecca who was being made up to be some type of God in everyone’s memory.
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My Experience Being the “New Mrs. deWinter”
While others may have been caught up in the fear of being “not good enough” while watching Rebecca, I was unimpressed. And actually, quite annoyed. I had been down this road before with an ex. He would constantly talk about his ex wife. How successful she was and how they were attracted to each other like magnets.
At first this played on my insecurities and I would get upset and think I wasn’t good enough. I started to loath hearing her name and I would immediately dislike any other woman with her name. When, what I really should have been doing is reconsidering my relationship.
It was a constant in my life, hearing about his ex. I felt horrible and like I would never live up to her. I would be nervous he was going to leave me and go back to her. He talked about her all the time. I was really sad. Then something happened. I am still not sure what but I think it was that I just had enough. I couldn’t feel any worse about myself and enough was enough.
How This Insecurity Plays Out in Real Life
Insecurities are bread and fostered in may other areas of our lives and in several different forms.
- In society in general. We live in a society obsessed with physical appearance. Your value can sometimes me misunderstood as your ability to keep up with current trends.
- Celebrities and influencers. Influences and celebrities bank on your insecurities and use it as a way to sell you products you don’t need.
- Any company selling anything. Not all companies do this but a lot of them hone down on an insecurity of their target demographic and then market around it.
- Manipulative people. Negging is when someone manipulates another person by trying to lower their confidence so that person seeks the manipulator’s approval.
People and things can play on our insecurities in every area of our life. For instance, in a movie like Rebecca, or during a relationship. This can also happen outside of a relationship with people intentionally trying to make us insecure or if someone unintentionally triggers our insecurity with something they say or if they have a quality we would like to possess.
Another large founder of insecurities is Hollywood and the media. They project an unrealistic body images that we may feel the need to keep up with. Society has become a cesspool of insecurities. With capitalism a lot of money is being made off of making people feel insecure and then selling them a product that will temporarily quell those feelings.
Insecurities Are Not Gender Biased
The insecurities of a woman is the focus of the movie Rebecca, but I’ve noticed insecurities with guy friends as well. They tend to put a lot of emphasis on the looks of women they are dating. It just feels so superficial and intense at times.
When we’re really into someone they look more attractive to us. But I think there is more to that here. I think it is a result of men feeling they are defined by the looks of the women they attract and date. So these guys are describing women in a way to feed their insecurity. To feel more confident. That they feel better about themselves when they can describe themselves as someone who attracts a 10. (eyeroll)
This can in turn make women feel insecure about themselves because they may start to compare themselves to the women they are hearing about. Or in the case of me and my ex, may feel like they can never live up.
Rebecca Wasn’t All That
We find out at the end of the movie that Rebecca wasn’t all that. She was actually a pretty shitty person. Max didn’t love her and felt trapped. She was cheating on Max with her cousin (ew). The only one who seemed to really be into her was Mrs. Danvers, who was psychologically deranged.
As I was watching it reminded me of Bianca Stratford in “10 Things I hate About You,” and how everyone was obsessed with her. That was, except for Patrick who didn’t see the hype and so eloquently asked, “What is it with this chick? She have beer-flavored nipples?”
Charlotte Should Have Been Living It up!
Charlotte was living in this amazing home with a kitchen staff and anything she wants at her fingertips. She is also married to this guy, who seems really nice and kind, albeit the jury is still out due to him being so secretive and sometimes kind of angry.
She should have be living it up and not focused on Rebecca even though everyone else was. Similar to how everyone in the movie was focused on Rebecca, in life people may be focused on unrealistic and unhealthy beauty standards. It may be tough and we can fall into the trap of trying to live up to these standards or feeling we are “less than” and not deserving.
All of this confusion and focus on insecurities can bring our attention from what really matters: living in the moment, making connections and enjoying life. The entire time I was watching the movie I was thinking of what a waste it was for Charlotte to be focusing on the “beauty” of Max’s ex. She would have been happier if she focused on the beauty of the scenery and grounds she was living on.
How We Can Resolve These Insecurities
Some weren’t as lucky as I was to have a manipulative ex force myself out of insecurity. But now that you know we live in a society that plays on your insecurities you are in a better starting position to become aware and manage those insecurities so people can’t use them against you and they don’t ruin your day, week, month or even your year.
What we need to do here is say, enough is enough. I am who I am and that is what I am. Focus on building confidence and bettering yourself in ways that you can. For example, being a better listener or learning something new. Find people who accept you and like you for who you are and ditch the people who compare you to others or neg you. There are those people who may ignite your insecurities unintentionally. When that happens, don’t shut yourself off from those people (you would be missing out on a great friend), grab that insecurity, figure out where it is coming from and acknowledge it.
We also need to be, very, very aware of how Hollywood and the media create insecurities and then play on them. It takes some time, change of thoughts and some willpower but you can build your confidence.
Watch me read the article and give commentary on my thought process while writing the article here: