When Marla comes to the Paper Street house, and the Narrator is standing outside angrily drinking because he feels abandoned by Tyler, he tells her, “Tyler isn’t here. Tyler went away. Tyler’s gone.” The stunned and hurt expression on her face before walking away is heartbreaking. Once the Narrator realizes he and Tyler are the same person, he understands how dismally he has treated Marla, and worries for her safety.
Still, the narrator actually blames everything on Marla invading his support groups, making it impossible for him to cry. This scene is an excellent example of how the Narrator and Tyler have treated Marla terribly. The Narrator cared so little for Marla that he left her hanging on the phone to overdose alone. She’s spoken about with contempt, like when Tyler calls her, “A predator posing as a house pet.” Marla is the main reason “Fight Club” has been accused of being flagrantly misogynistic.
These accusations link the film to the incel movement, another online men’s group that embraces “Fight Club” and Tyler Durden. As Peter C. Baker with The New Yorker suggests, the negative attitude about Marla reflects incels’ negative feelings toward women, and their frustration with life. They feel entitled to things they can’t get. This attitude is explored in Tyler’s speech when he says, “We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t.”
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.