Quirk as Commodity

Zooey Deschanel provides an interesting frame through which to analyze postfeminism. As an actor and performer, Deschanel has found a niche in quirky roles. She’s weird, she plays weird characters, and people like it. My problem with Zooey Deschanel is that she has capitalized on her persona. It’s one thing to be yourself: “to be a fucking feminist and wear a fucking Peter Pan collar.” But the commodification of her weird-girl hipsterness lends itself to postfeminist’s emphasis on consumerism.   

Zooey doesn’t challenge postfeminist culture that “works to commodify feminism via the figure of woman as empowered consumer”(Tasker and Negra). Instead, she reinforces it. The “Commodification of Quirk” is manifested in The New Girl. It’s Zooey Deschanel in an exaggerated form. She’s “Simply Adorkable.” Zooey has also capitalized on her quirkiness through her Cotton commercials. The fact that these shows and products appeal to young women reinforces that postfeminist idea that identity can be created through consumption. Women can watch The New Girl and buy big-rimmed glasses and thus produce an image of the self. The problem with this though, is that it’s not empowering. Not even a little bit.



2 thoughts on “Quirk as Commodity

  1. I really agree with your last point that Zooey Deschanel’s character is far from empowering. The quirk is the awkwardness, the clumsiness, the strange emotions, etc., and while they may make her cute and marketable, they also make her as non-threatening a character as I have ever seen. Zooey Deschanel is the wholesome girl that just doesn’t know any better–and that’s not empowering. Sure she’s funny, but she’s usually funny (at least in New Girl) at her own expense. I honestly see Zooey Deschanel as a sort of Taylor Swift, but instead of singing songs about break ups she’s laughing at what she portrays in New Girl as a kind of miserable life.

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