Leonardo DiCaprio’s love life is more than just a punchline
Leonardo DiCaprio, who is approaching 50, has never dated anyone over 25. Thanks to his recent public split from model Camila Morrone, just months after his 25th birthday, DiCaprio’s dating trends have resurfaced online as a trending topic. . From an onslaught of ridicule on social networks to a viral chart made on Reddit and playful prompts during Kenan Thompson’s speech at last week’s 74th Emmy Awards, it seems that regardless of their interest in his career, pop culture consumers are united on this front. . DiCaprio’s uncompromising consistency in exclusively dating young women is oddly comical.
Beginning with Gisele Bündchen in 1999 — his first high-profile relationship — DiCaprio has maintained a strict mold for the women he publicly dates: White, under 25, model, and often an immigrant to America. As he ages, the age gaps between him and his partners also increase. Morrone is 23 years younger than DiCaprio, which makes him more than double his age at the start of their relationship.
While the weirdness of DiCaprio’s love life produces a degree of humor among audience members, Buzzfeed’s light-hearted articles and tweets obscure a darker underbelly. The women he enters into relationships with are certainly consenting adults in the legal sense, and there’s no evidence that explicitly points to any of DiCaprio’s relationships being unhealthy. Yet the power dynamic between an older man with his wealth and influence and a young woman entering one of her first romantic relationships is often lopsided, raising concerns about manipulation, grooming and conformity to the age-old gender norm of male and female control. addiction. These issues should not be normalized with casual banter. Indeed, if Zendaya’s sheepish reaction to Thompson’s speech proves anything, it goes to show how uncomfortable it can be for a woman to be seen as just a romantic interest, even hypothetically, and especially as the target of a man joke.
Since many of DiCaprio’s ex-girlfriends are models, they are already widely perceived for their physical appearance and hypersexualized by the general public. Since many of her partners are immigrants, their exoticism and what it means to be an “outsider” woman in America come into play. This further locks women into various oppressive and dehumanizing stereotypes related to their ethnicity. When women of certain identity groups are hypersexualized, it not only reduces them to their appearance value, but fetishizes their “exoticism.” Women from different cultures are forced into another vessel of comparison between themselves, where they are pitted against each other as the ‘instruments’ of men.
If the entertainment industry is a puppet show, then patriarchal conventions are pulling the strings. DiCaprio is attractive, wealthy and never settles. These toxic male attributes are expected, if not revered, in Hollywood. The women that famous men wear on their arms must have appropriate social capital by being pretty accessories. Props won’t complain when they’re objectified for profit, when their paycheck is significantly lower than their male counterparts, when their age is negatively correlated with job opportunities, or when they face sexual harassment at work. work. DiCaprio and his dating preferences are a minor part of a larger web of misogyny that views women as profitable sex objects.
The entertainment industry is the main source of the media we consume, based on the subordination of women and the validation of men. Celebrities and the content they produce act as powerful catalysts for social trends; they influence what is normalized in contemporary cultural discourse. By dating exclusively women who meet a narrow set of social expectations in the public arena, male celebrities such as DiCaprio trivialize relationships with harmful age gaps in comedic exchanges and perpetuate an often unattainable and destructive norm for the women. Glamorized standards in the entertainment industry have a wider set of consequences than meets the surface. This ultimately serves to tighten the grip of patriarchal conditions on the norms of our everyday society. When joking about DiCaprio’s love life, women don’t have the last word.