novice Buddhist, expert neurotic. writer. aspiring adult.
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While I understand that this moment was supposed to be a declaration of self-awareness for both Zooey re: her career, and for the show, it didn’t nail the point as hard as it should have. It hasn’t earned the rebloggability. I’ve seen this on my dash like four times this morning, so I’m gonna try to figure out why it’s a good swing and a miss.
This touches on the fact that there’s no right way to be a woman, which, yes. Fine. Correct. There are a lot of people who might tune in to a Fox sitcom to whom that is an important thing to underscore, but it makes that point while still baby-fying the Jess character and that’s what’s insulting.
The set of identifiers they’re working with to spark an Important Social Media Discussion about feminism are dumbfoundingly shallow. Dessert? Ribbons? This is not what I talk about with other women. This is not why I hold grudges or form opinions on a person. The fact that this moment of empowerment is coming from this baseline, examples-your-four-year-old-could-give level of comprehension of what a woman thinks about or feels — or what goes into a day, consideration-wise, of being a woman — speaks to how lazy the writing is, but also what a trend piece female empowerment is right now. This is some Sumi-art, farty, gestural pseudo-feminism that they’re hoping we’ll be lazy enough to ingest and identify with.
The word “cuter” and the assumption that women have to be cute is still a problem when I read this. The assumption that a blazer isn’t cute to some people. It reaffirms a canonical Cute and that the Jess character is it. That a Lizzie Caplan character isn’t cute. That black isn’t cute.
And while, yes, you can dress a character like a J. Crew Amy Winehouse and still have her be smart and tough and strong, the clothes are still part of a cultural narrative. They don’t exist solely in the moment she’s wearing them, in an LA courthouse contesting a traffic ticket for stopping to help a baby bird. The constant harkening back to the aesthetic of our grandmothers, that doo-wop, coat hanger abortions, secretary jobs and soda fountain romance-chic, is a politicized decision. It just is. And that’s good — women should subvert and reinterpret those images and reclaim them — but at the same time, seeing someone dressed so deliberately, and then speak so vaguely (but passionately!) about her femininity is such a disappointment. It’s such a missed opportunity. Here you are talking about the exact things that oppressive culture would have assumed were the only things you cared about. Here you are with a national spotlight, and you’re going to fight for a woman’s right to say she wishes blazers had ribbons on them.
I wish we were all reblogging a thing that was two women disagreeing on politics but respecting each other. Two women fighting for the same job but respecting each other. Two people with some stakes in their lives, with concerns outside of liquid eyeliner and briefcase vs. clutch.
Christine knows what’s up.