If you haven’t seen the 2006 classic The Devil Wears Prada, you need to watch it ASAP. It has an incredible cast (Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci, and Emily Blunt), and is one of the best coming of age films from the 00s. The plot follows new college graduate Andy (Anne Hathaway) who gets a job working at Runway Magazine (based on Vogue) as an assistant to the brutal editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep).
I’m not here to talk about the power of this film and its lack of acknowledgement in pop culture (that’s a topic for another day), but rather I’m here to discuss the character of Andy’s boyfriend, Nate Cooper, and the fact that he encapsulates everything that is wrong with men.
First of all, he is ridiculously unsupportive of Andy and her career. He is lucky as he already has a job as a chef, but Andy is just getting started in her journalism career. As a new employee, of course, she is going to want to be impressing industry professionals and her boss, yet he seems to always complain that she is putting her career before him. A) she isn’t, and B) is just a selfish and pathetic attempt to get sympathy from her and make her question her career choices.
There are so many moments in the film where Nate is rolling his eyes or hinting that she is wrong for the job (which she is working hard to be good at), it’s almost as if he is putting her down to make himself feel good. It is mentioned several times that Nate isn’t in his dream job, so is he jealous of Andy and her accomplishments? Probably. In my opinion, he is putting Andy’s accomplishments down to make himself feel better.
As the film progresses, Andy’s sense of fashion transforms from a ‘geeky’ vibe to high fashion. Nate, of course, doesn’t like this. However, the issues with Nate disliking Andy’s appearance starts at the beginning of the film when Andy calls her loving boyfriend to tell him that she got a new job at a fashion magazine, and he replies with “what was it, a phone interview?”. He is saying that she isn’t attractive enough to work at a fashion magazine. LET THAT SETTLE IN. Once she becomes more attentive to her appearance, he has even more things to say about it. He complains that he prefers her older look and that she’s changing for the worse. She shows him her new items and he looks at her in disgust.
Nate cannot handle Andy’s newfound self-love and confidence so he has to make her feel like crap. What an awful man!
Those were the big issues that I have with Nate, but he’s also just super annoying. When Andy has to work late at a big event on his birthday, he throws a massive passive-aggressive hissy fit. She didn’t forget his birthday, she still brought him a cupcake, but that wasn’t enough for whiny Nate! Also, he is always complaining about how much things cost to, yet again, put Andy down. An $8 cheese toastie and a $5 strawberry are mentioned by Nate to make Andy feel like crap for being too tired to eat. It’s this quiet yet soul-destroying toxic behaviour that makes me hate Nate.
She’s not hungry, don’t make her feel bad for wasting money after she’s just spent all day working extremely hard! Don’t buy such expensive food! Poor Andy has bigger and more important things to worry about than wasting a cheese toastie (which he ends up eating, so what’s the problem?).
Let’s face it, Nate hates that Andy is starting to experience success. He prefers her as a quiet student who dresses in ugly skirts and lumpy jumpers. As soon as she finds joy and confidence in expressing herself, he has to put her down to make himself feel good. Men are scared of powerful women, and Nate exposes himself to be scared of his girlfriend growing and expressing herself differently. To put her down for just wanting to express herself differently is so unbelievably awful of him. In reality, Andy doesn’t change throughout the movie, what changes is Nate’s support of his girlfriend.