The tale of the Divorced Man is always an exhausting one. And in this tale, the only winner will probably be Kris Jenner.
The Divorced Man is one of today’s most fascinating archetypes. He is defined by his need to soothe his wounded ego in a way that’s both pathetic and patriarchal. Let me break it down.
The Divorced Man has been conditioned by heteropatriarchal society to believe that he is the shining knight, slaying the dragon, rescuing the fair maiden, and carrying her home as a token of his strength and manliness. The wife is a mere trophy, a symbolic jewel in his cap of self-conception. And the more beautiful, shiny, and desirable the wife is, the greater his accomplishment … until she decides to leave him in the dust.
Suddenly his ego is crushed. After all, he’s not the Man Who Asks for a Divorce. This trope not only rests on him being the problematic element but he must refuse to acknowledge it. The sheer shock at his trophy’s decision to leave him rattles his sense of self so much that he’s left on shaky ground — scrambling to regain his identity. And the identity he chooses? The victim.
Do not mistake him for the apologetic lover in a romance film. He’s not John Cusak standing under a window with a boombox in Say Anything. He’s not Ryan Gosling endlessly penning letters to a woman who never replies. This would require contrition and selflessness — traits that the Divorced Man does not possess.
His goal is not to fix anything, that’s not his job. He wants three things: the freedom of the single life, the social respect that comes with being a husband and a father — and being perceived as a good one, and to make his ex-wife out to be the villain.
But this is not just an overwrought movie trope. No, the Divorced Man is most compelling in real life — especially when he’s a celebrity who’s acting out for millions to see and cringe at.
Think Brian Austin Green post-divorce to Megan Fox. We get it, if Megan Fox left us, we too would be distraught. We’d also be especially hurt if she immediately began a PDA-filled relationship with Machine Gun Kelly (congrats to the happy couple on their impending nuptials — but I digress). However, Green dealt with his frustrations by taking to … Instagram comments?
When their relationship ended in 2020, the pair carried out multiple heated Instagram exchanges, in which Green attacked Fox’s character and her maternal devotion.
After Green shared a now-deleted photo of their children on Instagram, Fox commented: "You're so intoxicated with feeding the pervasive narrative that I'm an absent mother, and you are the perennial, eternally dedicated dad of the year. You have them half of the time. Congratulations you truly are a remarkable human! Why do you need the internet to echo back to you what should be inexhaustibly evident in the way your children love you?"
Fox’s comment gets at one of the Divorced Man's most pitiful tactics in his bag of tricks — not just portraying themselves as the devoted family man, but in the same breath painting their ex as the opposite.
The latest Divorced Man carrying that toxic torch is none other than Kanye West, who is emerging from his divorce from Kim Kardashian with several projects: a new fashion line, a potential new album, and a new romance. But the primo project of them all is proclaiming himself the father of the year.
But isn’t Kanye the king of rebranding? He’s rebranded himself from rapper to music-genius to billionaire businessman, and fashion innovator. He also had a hand in Kim Kardashian’s rebrand from reality star to major fashion and lifestyle mainstay. Apparently, he’s doing the same with his new GF, Julia Fox. And he’s doing all of this while attempting to tear down Kim’s reputation as a mother.
Recently, West took to Twitter to claim that Kim was keeping him from their children, and tried to bar him from his daughter’s birthday party.
“I’m just wishing my daughter a public happy birthday,” Ye claimed in a video he published online. “I wasn’t allowed to know where her party was.”
The party was a joint celebration for Ye’s daughter — Chicago West — and Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott’s daughter, Stormi Webster, who were both turning four. After Travis Scott — the rapper behind the Astroworld tragedy — texted him the address, Kanye reportedly made it to the party much to Kim’s surprise.
However, this wasn’t before Ye claimed that “the games” being played by Kim were intentional attempts to sabotage him … and his mental health. “There’s nothing legal [in place],” he claimed. “This is the kind of games that’s being played. It’s the kind of thing that’s affected my health for the longest.”
Weaponizing his following to blame Kim for attempting to destroy not just his relationship with his family, but also his mental health, is just the kind of gross hyperbolic victimization that is peak Divorced Dad. This is especially wild considering the statement from the Kardashian camp, which claims: “There were always two parties planned for Chicago, which was Kanye’s idea.”
From reports about the Kardashian-West divorce, Kanye’s outrage at being supposedly kept from his children is surprising. The rapper had taken to spending most of his time at his compound in Wyoming … meaning away from his wife and children … long before the divorce. Where was this family man attitude when he was spending weeks away and pretending to be in Halloween photos?
His Divorced Man metamorphosis comes just as Kim enters her own new relationship with Hollywood’s favorite enigma, Pete Davidson. We may love him, but Kanye West doesn’t. In a recently leaked track from Ye’s new album, he raps: “God saved me from that crash just so I can beat Pete Davidson's ass.”
His anger at their relationship feels hypocritical as he parades his own ‘relationship’ with Julia Fox in Interview magazine. However, to the Divorced Man, this reaction is typical. He feels Wronged enough to justify his own pursuit of another trophy — one who will appreciate him the way he’s convinced he deserves. Then there’s Fox calling her two weeks with Ye a “Cinderella story”. Sure sounds like it fits the bill — but he also still feels ownership to his ex.
We are not excited to see how this plays out — Kanye’s unpredictability and emotionally erratic behavior means this cannot end well. We’re not rooting for anyone except the kids here — well, maybe Pete Davidson. The tale of the Divorced Man is always an exhausting one. And in this tale, the only winner will probably be Kris Jenner, puppet master extraordinaire who seemingly lives on press — negative or not. Wish us all luck, we need it.
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