Zooey Deschanel. The perfect picture of a cute girl. She is even described in (500) Days of Summer as being a “woman. Height : average. Weight : average. Shoe Size : slightly above average. For all intents and purposes, Summer Finn : just another girl. Except she wasn’t. To wit, in 1998, Summer quoted a song by the Scottish band Belle & Sebastian in her high school yearbook. “Color my life with the chaos of trouble.” The spike in Michigan sells of their album “The Boy with the Arab Strap” continues to puzzle industry analysts. Summer’s employment at the daily freeze during the summer of her sophomore year coincided with an inexplicable 212% increase in revenue. Every apartment Summer rented at an average rate of 9.2% below market value, and her roundtrip commute to work averaged 18.4 double-takes per day. It was a rare quality, this “Summer effect.” Rare, yet something every post-adolescent male has encountered at least once in their lives.”
What does this tell us? She is a one of a kind girl. But what is it that makes her this way? In general, Zooey Deschanel is considered “too cute”. The article I read particularly mentioned her “doe like eyes, to her hip vintage style, her hypnotizing folk band singing voice, the hearts on her cell phone, and her website’s URL (hellogiggles.com). Even her first name has a favorite childhood fieldtrip destination hidden right in it!” In relation to post-feminism, that’s pretty much it. Deschanel is playful- from her ukelele playing and fun songs, along with her colorful dresses, to her attitude towards life and being a woman. In New Girl, Deschanel plays Jess, a young, lively school teacher living in an apartment with three men. On one hand, she is a perfect definition of a post-feminist type woman. She is very into girl type things. She likes to wear what she wants to wear (as, related to what we talked about in class, she is very involved in her ability to purchase), remain girly in a very masculine environment, and also be fun (she loves games, speaking in weird voices, and being CUTE).
This, however, is conflicted a little bit by some other aspects of her character. Jess has enormous sexual freedom, and expresses it constantly. She, at one point during the show, has a “sex buddy” of sorts who she initially introduces herself to with a fake name. This is more of a feminist ideal. She can sleep with who she wants to sleep with, and instead of the word “slut” floating around in the apartment, she is often greeted with signs of encouragement (including the occasional high-five from one of the three men). In the episode we watched in class, the importance of her job was stressed more than her ability to be a typical woman (when Schmidt hires her as a shot girl). She says “I am a teacher. It’s what I do.” This side of her is somewhat less post-feminist. She finds more pleasure in her ability to work at a respectable job than she does in embracing the idea of being appreciated for her sexiness.
It is difficult to say whether Zooey Deschanel actually fits under either category. She has said herself that she wants to be a feminist, responding to people’s comments on her actions by saying that “I’m just being myself. There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say. We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f–king feminist and wear a f–king Peter Pan collar. So f–king what?” But sometimes this is countered by the way she presents herself, which is much more post-feminist. Does she need feminism if she is so in tune with some of the other ideas of post-feminism?