Jenny from Forrest Gump. She gets so much goddamn flak from people who have seen the movie. It’s like they tuned out completely at the normal human experience just because they think Forrest is adorable.
Jenny didn’t think she was in love with Forrest because she thought she was taking advantage of him the same way her father molested her.
For fucks sake, Forrest is retarded. Jenny, out of everyone who’s ever met him, knows this best of all. She knows that her closest friend and only loved one is a fucking idiot. Imagine that. Imagine for one second that the only person who was always kind to you was someone who didn’t know any better. Everyone in the world who knew about your father looked at you either as a victim or as something disgusting, but that one man doesn’t.
And it’s because he’s retarded.
Jenny doesn’t think that way at the start. As a kid, she just thinks he’s different and is just glad to have a friend. But as she gets older, especially as a teenager, she realizes that her closest friend will never mature like she does. He loves her like he would anything and everything else, so long as its nice or cuddly, like a pet or a sibling, at least in her mind. Her father treated her like shit, and there was no way in hell others didn’t do the same when they found out she was molested. She would have wanted to feel loved.
That’s where she gets the abusive relationship crap. She wants so much to be loved that she doesn’t understand that they are taking advantage of her. She thinks that as long as they aren’t forcing her to have sex, that’s normal. Getting beat on, pressured to drug addiction, and dragged around into whatever dangerously extreme political bands they’re into is just fine, as long as they don’t rape her. That’s why she’s so shocked when Forrest defends her from harm. Why would anyone do that if what they’re doing to her is normal?
She keeps leaving Forrest behind because she convinces herself that he doesn’t really love her. She convinces herself that his affections are shallow, since he would never be able to really understand love either. I mean really, how many of you honestly think someone who is that mentally challenged could understand the complexities and nuances of love? There’s no way they could. What they have is something simple, and Jenny doesn’t think that could be real.
And even IF she believed he could, even IF she got out of that abusive cycle, she knows better. FFS, if that scene with Forrest and her in her college dormroom had the genders reversed, people would be so fucking uncomfortable about that scene because it’d be inching so close to rape. Jenny knows that. She realizes that. That is why she shuts off her feelings for Forrest, above any other reasons to stay away: she thinks she is molesting him. She saw how uncomfortable he was when she did that and thought holy fuck, what the hell am I doing?
Can you imagine how twisted you must feel after realizing in that moment that you turned into the father who molested you? How the fuck can you love yourself after doing that to your best friend, when you know what that’s like? Would you ever let yourself get close to them again if you really cared about them?
So Jenny kept running away. Every time Forrest gets close and saves her, she runs off before she falters. She won’t let herself get near him, and as the movie goes on, she fails a little more each time. First she blows him off after the strip club, telling him to stay away. Then she walks with him in DC, but still leaves with her boyfriend. Then she stays with him in his house and finally sleeps with him, after that one critical moment.
When he tells her he does know what love is, and asks her why she doesn’t love him.
She finally gives in and does sleep with him, but can you imagine thinking afterwards? Would you, in her shoes, with absolute and unwavering certainty, think you did the right thing? Or would you be afraid that you did exactly what you had been avoiding because you do actually care that much about him?
So she runs away. She hides her child from him, because she thinks he shouldn’t have to worry or pay for something he can’t handle. She thinks she’s wronged him, and the least she could do is set things right by raising a good child, without dragging him down.
And then she gets sick. Doctors don’t know what it is, but she’s going to die. Her kid is only a few years old. Can you imagine struggling with that decision to tell your victim that they have a kid and now they have to take care of it because you’re going to die? That’s what she struggles with before coming to terms with the fact that she’s happy with him, and he’s happy with her, and that’s what love actually is. It’s something simple and unconditional, and even Forrest can understand it.
It takes her her whole goddamn life to figure out that love is just that simple, and she dies months afterwards. She realized she had been running away from what made her happy, and it isn’t wrong, and she only gets so much time together before it’s over.
And instead of realizing that narrative even exists in the story, people just bitch about how Jenny is such a slut, but she won’t even love the only person who cares about her. Jenny always loved Forrest, during the whole fucking movie. She loved him so much, she thought she was taking advantage of him and ran away for his sake. She didn’t realize she was wrong until it was almost too late.
Fuck, that’s depressing.
Reddit user Namtara on why Jenny Curran is the most misunderstood character in fiction