recently, i have seen zooey deschanel everywhere. which is weird, because i don’t watch or read the news and i live in germany. i suppose a big part of it is because i spend a lot of time reading hellogiggles, described by the founders (of which, zooey deschanel is one) as: “the ultimate entertainment destination for smart, independent and creative females”.
now, usually, i consider myself a smart, independent and creative female. sometimes more than others and i’ve questioned each of those traits while crying on the couch and watching anne of green gables. but that just shows that i am also neurotic, something that most of the writers on hellogiggles, in fact, i would say most of today’s “smart, independent and creative females” would claim to be as well (but have they ever cried while sitting on the couch and watching enchanted, wondering if they weren’t neurotic enough one day and then done the same exact thing the next day [again watching enchanted because it is THAT GOOD], wondering if they were too neurotic?).
and what’s up with that? when did it become so cool to be so neurotic? i realize that in america we have wholeheartedly adopted therapy and emotional disorders and everyone has a label that they wear like an id card (hello, my name is… social anxiety), displaying their neurosis proudly and knowing that not only does it make them wise and opinionated, it makes them interesting and experienced. and i myself am guilty of that. but isn’t there more than that? isn’t there another side? the side that is paralyzing, scary and heart-breaking? when the hellogiggles authors speak out on depression or any sort of emotional disorder, or anything serious, they ignore that side, or, they “giggle-ize” it, meaning, make it appropriate to follow a post on rainbow brite (which i’m surprised no one has done yet.). neurosis becomes innocent and just slightly awkward.
still, i like hellogiggles and i like zooey deschanel, and frankly, it’s called “hellogiggles” – i get that deep, serious thoughts on gut-wrenching issues isn’t what they are going for. but for some reason i find this battle within myself growing stronger. first of all, i’m caught between my initial excitement on seeing that something like hellogiggles exists and immediately starting a blog on tumblr and following all of the contributors (none of them followed me back, of course) and the now realization that half of their content is about the “real” housewives (which are somehow different from the desperate housewives), the kardashians, and some show about ice-t which isn’t law and order, but seems to be a horrible reveal that ice-t is in fact, quite lame. which frankly, i could have happily lived my life never knowing.
i have since quit my tumblr blog and come back here to wordpress, because it’s so much easier and there are just as many people trying to get published, but at least they aren’t writing about saved by the bell – a show that was on twenty years ago and if people are still that obsessed with it, they need to get a life (says the girl who watches pride and prejudice [bbc mini-series] religiously – hypocritical judgment, noted). and frankly, i’m quite disappointed. there are some articles on there that are quite interesting, but the majority is such vapid fluff passed on as clever insights, that i’m wondering what to do when even this alternative women’s site, started by “indie heroine” zooey deschanel, is basically just the same old fashion conscious, media obsessed, superficial pandering, but minus the boob job.
i think it’s necessary at this point to say, again, that i might have completely misunderstood what the aims of hellogiggles were. i understood them to be the entertainment i was needing in my life (isn’t everything about me?), and i think they meant “entertainment” as in the industry, something that only vaguely interests me when i have a short flight and am not allowed to knit (flying via heathrow, for example) and don’t feel like reading a book. that’s when i pick up a people or us magazine. and i’m usually disgusted half-way through (and feeling fat, ugly and poor).
and i know there are a lot of other sites for women out there, but those tend to be too extreme, too political or too focused on one subject. i liked that hellogiggles seemingly had it all and kept it’s naiveté in full bloom. and honestly, that’s just one of the things i still really like about the site. hence, the inner debate.
i could say the same thing about zooey herself (she just seems like the kinda girl who’d prefer “zooey” to “deschanel” – and frankly, i like her for that). i haven’t seen a lot of what she’s done, according to her imdb bio, though i did love the good girl, almost famous and (500) days of summer and it goes without saying that, being a christmas junkie (which, it seems, she is as well; her band, she & him, is putting out a christmas album), i adored elf and have watched it multiple times. so, i’ve liked her in everything i’ve seen, but there’s something about her that just makes me want her new show not to do well. but at the same time, i’m going to download it and watch it… weird? yes… but maybe not uncommon.
here’s what one journalist, a ms. jada yuan of the new york magazine, said about this issue:
among women, deschanel tends to be more polarizing. they either covet her bangs or they resent her for seemingly playing into the male fantasy that women are only attractive when they act like girls. plenty of blog posts have used deschanel as a launchpad for this very debate. then there’s grumbling that while alt-heroines of the past (winona ryder, parker posey) had a kind of edge to them, deschanel is all sweetness and light: not enough kohl on the lens.
of course, this quote comes just after ms. yuan remarks that all men love her (zooey, i mean, i have no idea how many men love jada yuan), so while some people may covet her bangs or resent her girliness, maybe it’s just plain old jealousy?
i will admit it. there are some girls in this world who are just so cute and pretty, so up on all the trends that they, in fact, start them and also are just self-deprecating and humble enough to seem like someone you could be friends with. they are all annoying, even if they actually are your friend.
the thing is, though, that i in no way at all resent her for acting “like a girl”. in fact, the positivity and sweetness is what keeps me going back to hellogiggles and will make me download her new show. but the thing is, she’s always perfectly girly. and it isn’t the girliness that is the issue there, it’s the perfection. maybe because the blog world is so casual, so seemingly-friend-like (which is maybe why i prefer to call her “zooey”), i want to see a bit of her “unplugged”, as it were. and i would say that’s true about all of the hellogiggles girls. so, maybe it is edge that i am craving.
winona wasn’t perfect and neither were her characters. and they weren’t flawed in the “a-dork-able” way that zooey’s are, they were flawed in a raw and at times cringe-worthy way. i mean, compare reality bites to any of the roles that zooey takes on. she was messy and disturbed (i mean, i doubt we’re ever going to hear about zooey getting arrested for shoplifting) and she wasn’t okay with herself. zooey oozes self-confidence. and really, what kind of insecure asshole would hate her for that? a winona, that’s who. someone who desperately wants to be sweet, girly, confident and most of all, happy, but isn’t. (ahem. me.)
parker posey was maybe a bit in between the two, and maybe that shows some sort of timeline of “it” girls – in the nineties, we wanted ’em gritty and dark and now, we’re all sweetness and light, with a lot of singing. i do have to take a time out and give parker props for dazed and confused, probably one of the best films of my generation.
what it comes down to, though, is that these girls are actresses and what i resent is them trying to be normal by having a blog about normal girl things, and then retaining their actressy sides, so i don’t get to see any of the watching (insert cheesy girly movie here) and bemoaning their fate as a (insert emotional/behavoiral disorder here), i just see the sort of edited-down-to-four-paragraphs, lightly humorous anecdote about the day that they did that, followed by an ironic, yet still gorgeous, head shot and a bio of all their professional writing and where you can see their work. and you know, some comment about them feeling fat because they ate, like, three whole times…
okay, that last part was just mean and i’m showing my true colors. i’m jealous that they are sweet and sunny and girly and happy. i think they represent southern california (where they all live) to me, and i’m stuck here in germany: a little scared of my past, grey, rainy and gloomy, and unable to interact with anyone around me.
(but, they are also blond and tanned with a fake smile and a fake gucci, and i have history and speak different languages…)
in the end, i will keep reading hellogiggles, but i wish it was a bit more gritty and a bit less hollywood.
even more important, however: i wish they edited themselves better. i realize that it started out as a blog (and i’ll be the last person to say that my blog is perfectly edited), but it’s moved into another phase. it’s almost like an online magazine. there shouldn’t be as many typos in their posts, in their titles and in their facebook updates.