Rashida Jones: ‘There’s more than one way to be a woman & be sexy’

Rashida Jones

Rashida Jones sat down with the Guardian for an interview to promote the UK release of Cuban Fury, which sounds like a comedy about a washed-up salsa dancer. I don’t know. It seems like a weird movie that won’t do well at the box office. (It’s not out in the US until May.) Maybe we’d watch on USA Network reruns in a few years, right?

Rashida is undeterred by this unpromising film, which she doesn’t talk about at all during the interview. That seems telling. What she does discuss is a supplement to her outspoken message to female celebrities: “Stop acting like wh-res.” Her outburst came after a steady buildup of Miley twerking and Lady Gaga booty-crack single covers. Rashida had a valid point for sure. What’s really sad is that Gaga’s crack didn’t boost sales at all. Rashida followed up with a Glamour column about how she yearns to “just like a song without having to take an ultrasound tour of some pop star’s privates.” I dig that sentiment, but I still think Rashida shouldn’t have used the “wh-re” descriptor. Let’s go in for another chapter:

On the pressure to be sexy: “Oh God, that whole LA Barbie doll look, right? It’s weird that everybody wants to look like everyone else. I love what you can do with fashion, but that look is just not my nature. I like conservative dressing. I don’t like to dress to tell people that they want to have sex with me.”

She’s not a Hollywood brat: “It was never a reaction, really. I’m obsessed with the nature/nurture argument, and the older I get, I think nature is paramount to everything. I am who I am, and I wanted to go to Harvard when I was four years old, and I still wanted to go when I was 18, and so I went. I was never going to be like, ‘You know what my last name is, right?’”

Her childhood was awkward: She was “a chubby nerd. Nobody was trying to have sex with me, so I had to find other things, like reading and being good at school. That is so it. Every time I look at a photo of myself as a teenager, I think, this is who I feel like. So uncomfortable, so sad, so much food… On family vacations, I used to wake up before everyone else and make a sourdough bread sandwich with butter, eggs, bacon and cheese, and then go back to bed and, like, one hour later be, ‘So what’s for breakfast?’” She laughs. “So sad.”

Limited roles for women: “I realised I was in this small space with all these super-talented women vying for one part in one movie, and it was always the sh-tty part in that year’s one good movie: someone’s wife, or someone’s shrew girlfriend. So that has definitely played a part in my decision to act a little less and create a little more, because I want to add more to that conversation about what it takes to be a woman.”

On telling girls to stop acting like wh-res: “I’m just asking people to take a breath and talk about it. I also wanted to say there’s more than one way to be a woman and be sexy — like, you’re a really great dancer, or you’re really f—ing smart.”

On criticism of her Glamour column: “I’m old enough to say, just f— off. But to suggest that the way to be a feminist is to snark about other women is such a dangerous example to set.”

On possible nepotism: “I would never say ‘poor me’, but there definitely was a lot of pre-judgment about how I got my job in the beginning, when the truth is I was just another actress getting knocked back at auditions for years. I do have a hang-up about it sometimes. No, I just don’t care any more.” These days she is just happy no longer “having to fight for the sh-tty role. I feel things are changing, and there are real female comedy stars now — and that’s exciting, isn’t it?”

[From The Guardian]

Rashida’s denial of nepotism caused a few eye rolls over here. It’s hard to convince celebrity offspring that they do get their feet in the door a little easier than civilians do. Rashida does make an excellent point about limited roles for females though. Natalie Zea tweeted a few choice words on that very same topic a few weeks ago. Natalie welcomed Michelle Monaghan to “the ‘Underwritten Wife Character on an Otherwise Brilliant TV Show’ club.” Funny but sadly accurate. If Rashida is serious about creating better roles for females, then nothing but good can come from this.

On the whole “sexy” debate, I obviously don’t have a problem with Rashida choosing to dress conservatively and not flash her hoo-ha every time she exits a car. It’s nice to have a little feminine mystery from a female entertainer. I only wish she’d figure out how to style herself a little better. She picks some awful dresses. You don’t have to be frumpy to not show off your rack.

Rashida Jones

Rashida Jones

Photos courtesy of WENN

 

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43 Responses to “Rashida Jones: ‘There’s more than one way to be a woman & be sexy’”

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  1. Dawn says:

    I think she is one of the smartest and funniest actresses around and I respect her. She is right there is more than one way to be sexy and showing your t&a day after day gets old really fast. At the end of the day a good conversationalist is better than just a body with nothing of interest to say.

  2. Original Tessa says:

    It doesn’t hurt that she’s gorgeous with a perfect figure. It’s easy to be effortlessly sexy and not try hard that way.

    • QQ says:

      Basically, is easy for a gorgeous chick that already has more than enough attention telling girls not to bother with that… When we’ve been trained and socialized that …well, male attention IS the goal, non?

      That said Has anyone else found it strange how she strongly aligned herself with her white jewish heritage and Kidada was basically the opposite? I’ve always found it fascinating (not a diss in any way, I believe multicultural and mixed folks should be wherever their comfort level is!)

      • missy says:

        @QQ: i’ve always thought that was interesting too. is it obnoxious of me to say that i respect her for not levering her light eyes/lighter skin and signing up to play the mulatto/exotic hottie/love interest in “black films.” i get that it’s probably the only option a lot of lighter-skinned black actresses have in hollywood and that no one can choose their phenotype and that those women aren’t the ones making casting decisions but.. eh. I’m not explaining myself well.

      • Original Tessa says:

        Kidada was engaged to 2Pac, right? Yeah, it seems like Rashida definitely leans towards the white half of her DNA, and Kidada the black. I guess that happens.

      • QQ says:

        Not obnoxious at all Missy, her acting choices would have been best described as “shitty” or “Paula Patton” if she stuck on that road, as it is she’s worked inroads in comedy, drama, behind the camera, so Kudos!

        Yes Tessa! The best is that they started dating After Rashida wrote a Lengthy ass letters to the editors in Vibe (which got published) Taking Tupac to task for nasty comments he made about biracial people specifically mentioning Quincy!! And after she eloquently dressed him down he reached out to them but Yeah Kidada is strongly into the black community developing i wanna say skincare and also like kid’s programming and so on

      • Renee says:

        QQ,

        There’s an article in one of the magazines, like Glamour or something, with Rashida and Kidada and they talk about their upbringing. It made me really angry and it broke my heart a bit. Kidada talks about the fact that she was darker and how their Jewish grandparents prefered her lighter sister to her…her mother was sitting in on the interview and didn’t tell her that she had it wrong or anything. Rashida said that she always felt really comfortable with their Jewish grandparents. And their mother said about Kidada, “she always talked with a bit an an accent and had an attitude”. I guess that’s what makes you black??? I thought that my head would explode after I read that bit. After their parents divorced, the “lighter” daughter went to live with their white mother and the “darker” one went to live with their black father. Then Rashida mentioned that when she was in uni she started hanging out with black students and dated this guy who was black but then a lot of the young women in their circle were really angry about it and so they broke it off. She mused that she could have had an entirely different life if that had gone differently. The sisters also spoke about the strain between them over the years, I think in part due to how they were treated differently within their family. I know that they were also very different people, Kidada seemed more head-strong and had difficulty in school, I believe due to undiagnosed learning disabilities, while Rashida excelled academically and seemed more the “dutiful daughter”. I think that they have since mended their relationship, well, I am sure that they have because they are co-creators of a tv show?

        Also, while I think that Tupac was out of line to criticize their parents interracial relationship (and super hypocritical, um it produced Kidada, didn’t it??) but the way that Rashida responded put my nose out of joint. I know that she was only 17 at the time but she told him that he was a disgrace and should help out “his” people. She clearly had rejected identifying as black but I think that she has shifted on this as well. Both of the sisters seem to be doing well now but it makes me sad to think of how they were both treated so differently within their own family. I’ll see if I can find the link to post.

        ETA: Here it is http://bossip.com/623483/rashida-jones-sister-kidada-agrees-she-passed-for-white-but-did-the-mean-girls-at-harvard-scare-her-away-from-dating-black-men-forever/2/

      • Dame Snarkweek says:

        Non blacks are often shocked to learn about the complexion wars that have raged among blacks for centuries. Where is Virgilia Corialanus when you need her lol?

      • QQ says:

        Jesus H Christ Renee.. This whole story/situation is SO Gross!, Ugh

      • BendyWindy says:

        Maybe I’ll approach it differently because I”m a black woman with biracial children, but I simply cannot imagine, as a mother, allowing my family (or my husband’s family for that matter) to treat one of my children differently because she can pass and the other is darker skinned. Hell to the MF’ing naw.

      • Renee says:

        @Dame SnarkWeek

        Not sure if the “non-black shocked by shadism” comment was directed towards me but I’m not “non-black”, and I’m not shocked by complexion wars…I’ve been on negative receiving end of it, thank you very much, lol. I was shocked that this was transpiring with Quincy Jones offspring and that it seemed to have gone on unchecked by either of their parents. I used to really dislike Rashida Jones because of what I perceived as her negative attitude towards black people but after I read this interview and heard her speak about her own experiences my attitude towards her shifted. As QQ said, it was gross and to me all shades of f*ckery that her mother didn’t intercede when their own grandparents were treating them differently based on the tone of their skin and that she herself (the mother) seemed to harbor her own f’d up ideas about race. Kadida is not even that dark so to me that speaks to how racist her grandparents really were.

      • V4Real says:

        Guys I’m going to say that does sound a bit obnoxious. Are you saying because she is mixed she shouldn’t play bi-racial roles or be in a Black movie. Paula Patton was mentioned, so lets talk about her. Most of the time Paula does not play bi-racial in movies, she just plays a woman of color. In Jumping The Broom she was just a light skinned Black woman with both parents Black. In Idle Wild she was just a light skinned Black woman. In Precious she was just a light skinned Black Woman. In Mirrors she was just a light skinned woman. In Mission Impossible she was just a woman agent. Halle Berry is biracial and most of her roles she’s just Black or just a beautiful woman. It makes it seems as if you’re saying if she stars in a mainly Black theme movie that she’s limiting herself. IMO maybe she’s limiting herself because I don’t think she’s that good of an actress.

        Also ease up off the term exotic when it comes to women of color; a lot of us don’t like that. I did say I was ok with it but look at it this way. Think about exotic pets. They are described as anything not being a dog, cat horse and so on. They are considered nontraditional. Now think about how that sounds to women.

      • missy says:

        @V4Real: don’t think anyone was saying jones shouldn’t play biracial or black in “black films.” i was saying that i respect her for not having followed the easy path like a paula patton and cashing in her color/beauty privilege as a lighter-skinned, lighter eyed black women playing the love interest in “black films” or urban music videos. plus, i think in the context of black beauty/the entertainment industry, we all know what exotic means: lighter skin, lighter eyes, non-kinky hair, eurocentric facial feature, ethnically ambiguous.

        i don’t know much about paula but i do think that it was significant symbolically that a light-skinned skinny black actress was cast in the role of the teacher who helped precious as a contrast to her abusive, dark-skinned corpulent mother. it may have been an arbitrary casting choice but knowing the way hollywood works, it probably was not. that said, as i said above, ppl can’t help their phenotype and yeah ppl need to make money and will do so however they can but rashida seems too smart to consciously do that. or maybe she would but then, like the model cameron russell, give a TED talk acknowledging the ways in which she is privileged bc of the way she looks and how that opens up many opportunities for her which other (black) women are denied.

      • V4Real says:

        @missy First let me just say that it doesn’t matter the context you use the word exotic in, most women of color find it offensive. Darker skin Black women have been defined as exotic as well in the entertainment industry. Some people have defined Lupita as exotic and she isn’t light skinned, with light eyes, she doesn’t have long hair or European features. Naomi Campbell has been described as exotic.

        A lot of darker complexion Black women have played the love interest in Black films, not just light skinned Black women. Recent films with a mainly Black cast have been using Black women as love interest who doesn’t look like Patton or Jones. Regina Hall in “About Last Night”, Meghan Good, Regina Hall and Gabrielle Union in Think Like A Man 1&2, Tika Sumpter in “Ride Along” Sanaa Latham and Nia Long in Best Man Reunion. Let’s remember at one time Nia Long was the “it girl” for Black cinema. I said that just to say that Black films are not just hiring women who look like Patton.

        Patton could be very well cashing in on her looks to play the love interest in Black films. Zoe Saldana could be cashing in on her phenotype to get roles in urban films as well. Jones could be doing the complete opposite by cashing in on her phenotype to get roles in non urban films. Maybe some actresses just want to be able to walk in and get roles regardless of their race. Look at Mya Rudolph, she’s Black and she plays various roles.

        ” don’t know much about paula but i do think that it was significant symbolically that a light-skinned skinny black actress was cast in the role of the teacher who helped precious as a contrast to her abusive, dark-skinned corpulent mother.”

        So are you saying it’s unbelievable because a light skinned Black woman was able to help an abused dark skin Black girl. You’re not serious right? So Precious should have been assisted by someone who looked more like her or darker skin? That sounds almost as bad as people who were complaining about Halle Berry in “Monster’s Ball. They were saying how could someone as pretty as Halle have those types of issues. It almost seems as if they were saying you’re not supposed to have poor people problems if you look like her.

      • missy says:

        great my response didn’t load.

      • missy says:

        @V4Real: my initial response did not load. ugh. anyway amended version of what i initially said:
        -lupita is probably considered exotic because she is non-american, not only because she has dark skin. I’ve never heard anyone refer to Naomi as exotic but maybe some do when she wears her colored contacts ha.

        -at no point did i intimate that Paula Patton was less believable as her character in precious because of her light skin. i have no idea how your reading comprehension skills lead you to that idea. i was talking about the SYMBOLISM of her light skin as a contract to the dark skin of her mother. does the white savior industrial complex sound like a familiar trope to you? Patton may not be white but her light skin (and the fact that she is biracial) functions in a similar way in precious to the way white skin functions as a means through which dark-skinned people, specifically blacks are saved in films such as “the soloist” and “the blind side.” what kinds of inferences would the average person with basic critical thinking skills make of precious a film in which the “bad” black characters were all dark-skinned: precious’ mother and carl and the “good” black characters were all light-skinned or simply just much lighter-skinned than precious: patton, mariah carey, lenny kravitz? maybe the film is suggesting that darker-skinned people are pathological and that light-skinned people are inherently good or possess ______ positive attribute. do you think in the context of the united states that this casting is merely just a coincidence?

        -you say that in recent black films there have been many dark-skinned love interests. (i don’t consider a nia long, meghan good, sanaa lath an to be dark-skinned black women but i guess in the black-white dichotomy they are dark-skinned but halle berry would be dark-skinned in such a context. i guess it’s all relative and subjective). the keyword in what you have said is RECENT. if you look at the history of black film and black media in general such as music videos and stock images of couples in” black magazines” like JET, EBONY, Essence, I’m sure that the majority of black women seen as beautiful and desirable, qualities inherent a female love interest, are light-skinned black women.

        the main point of what i was trying to say, which you obvious did not get, was that i respect rashida jones for not choosing roles in “black films” that propagate more images of an exclusive, narrow, colorist black beauty standard to which the majority of black women do not conform. and like i said before, even if Jones did play such roles, she seems too smart not to be cognizant of what she would get such roles and would probably give a TED talk about how she cashes in on her light skin/beauty privilege like the model Cameron Russell did. alfre woodward was saying on the oprah special that she was discouraged from auditing for many roles because she was told they were for “cute black girls” and she was not cute, presumably bc she’s too afrocentric-looking. rashida jones by virtue of her mixed phenotype is what is presumably seen as “the cute black girl” in hollywood/america.

      • missy says:

        still won’t post my comment. great.

      • missy says:

        breaking it up:-at no point did i intimate that Paula Patton was less believable as her character in precious because of her light skin. i have no idea how your reading comprehension skills lead you to that idea. i was talking about the SYMBOLISM of her light skin as a contract to the dark skin of her mother. does the white savior industrial complex sound like a familiar trope to you? Patton may not be white but her light skin (and the fact that she is biracial) functions in a similar way in precious to the way white skin functions as a means through which dark-skinned people, specifically blacks are saved in films such as “the soloist” and “the blind side.” what kinds of inferences would the average person with basic critical thinking skills make of precious a film in which the “bad” black characters were all dark-skinned: precious’ mother and carl and the “good” black characters were all light-skinned or simply just much lighter-skinned than precious: patton, mariah carey, lenny kravitz? maybe the film is suggesting that darker-skinned people are pathological and that light-skinned people are inherently good or possess blank positive attribute. do you think in the context of the united states that this casting is merely just a coincidence?

  3. BeckyR says:

    I adore her! She has so many talents and appears to be so down to earth. Refreshing change.

  4. Kiddo says:

    While I agree that there is a proliferation of Barbie dolls who look remarkably the same (plastic surgery special #5 on the menu, I’d argue that they are human blow-up dolls instead), I think she is becoming a bit of a harpy on the subject of sexy.

    Certainly, there is some other middle ground to cover between doing a strip show or performing simulated sex acts and whatnot, and dressing conservatively. There is a difference between mysterious allure and a clinical examination of body parts, KWIM?

    Because she is hung-up on feeling sort of bad about herself in childhood, she seems to prescribe the same generic medicine for everyone. I think the point gets lost and she comes across as a finger-wagger instead.

    It’s not a bad thing to be desirable. She seems to be taking a bit of an extreme position at the other end of the spectrum.

    • V4Real says:

      Damn Kiddo I was just thinking something similar. I think she has some hang-ups on women being sexy in general that stems from her childhood.

      Her words: ” She was “a chubby nerd. Nobody was trying to have sex with me, so I had to find other things, like reading and being good at school. That is so it. Every time I look at a photo of myself as a teenager, I think, this is who I feel like. So uncomfortable, so sad, so much food”

      That statement is very telling.

    • Nerd Alert says:

      I agree with you both. She comes off a little bitter and lecture-y, but I’ve always thought she was so smart and funny. To me, that’s the ultimate sex appeal, so Rashida and I agree on a lot.

      That said, if I ended up with Quincy Jones for a father and having to grow up in HWood, I think I would act like this. I’d be in denial about nepotism, not self-aware but super self-conscious (fat, nerdy teenager, over here!) and irritated by the barbies. I hate to admit that. She is really smart and funny, but it’s clear she thinks those are her only advantages in her world and it affects her.

      Speaking of funny women, which I’m a sucker for, has anyone seen Broad City? I feel like it’s the next generation of Tina and Amy-level funny. Makes sense, since Amy produces, but the two ladies who star on the show write it all. I was laughing so hard last night.

      • Kiddo says:

        @Nerd Alert, I still like Rashida, I was just deconstructing her sermon.

        I haven’t seen Broad City, when is it on, and where?

      • Nerd Alert says:

        I like Rashida too! And I agree with your assessment of her sermon…if I implied differently I didn’t mean to. I just meant that I could see myself falling into her same trap if I were in her shoes.

        Broad City is on Wednesdays on Comedy Central, and I love it…apparently it was a web series first so I’m going to have to watch those now. The main characters/writers/creators Abbi and Ilana are really funny, and I’m obsessed with them now. I think of them as post-college Tina and Amy, BFF-in-NYC style. I hope they stick so I can watch their careers.

  5. Lucy2 says:

    I love her- she is super smart and talented, and I love that she is writing and creating and really making an effort for good material.

    • Kate says:

      The bottom line is that she’s right. We watch even on this site the way people decide that certain women “have no sex appeal” and it’s ragingly sexist. Essentially we have decided that women have to check certain boxes to be “sexy” and those boxes often are entrenched in the male gaze. This is the trick. Basicalky we have been tricked into playing right into male gaze view of women while at the same time believing it’s about our empowerment to play into this very limited idea of what it means to be sexy . And so many people here are guilty of this when it comes to tons of female celebs.

      • V4Real says:

        “We watch even on this site the way people decide that certain women “have no sex appeal” and it’s ragingly sexist.”

        It’s called having an opinion and we do it with the men on this site as well. Are you telling me that you have never judge anyone based on their looks (male or female)?

      • Leila in wunderland says:

        “Basicalky we have been tricked into playing right into male gaze view of women while at the same time believing it’s about our empowerment to play into this very limited idea of what it means to be sexy .”

        I agree with you that there’s nothing empowering about women having to conform to a very narrow, male-defined and modeling industry-defined definition of sexy- which seems to be slender, tan, and cellulite-free, with ‘perfect’ or completely flat abs and no visible body fat anywhere except for the boobs and butt (and if those things aren’t big enough, as defined by the male gaze, then there’s no way that a woman can be can be sexy and womanly, right?).
        But at the same time, I do believe that in a world that has for a long time tied a female’s worth and wholeness as a human being to her sexual modesty- and continues to do so today- it is empowering for women to rebel against sexual modesty and reject it, and to have a choice.

        It’s also true how women impose the narrow idea of sexiness and beauty on each other, and you’re right that this happens here and on other places with certain female celebrities. Women have no problem fat-shaming other women they don’t like, or making fun of women for not having big boobs and a big butt. Women do further the idea that if a woman doesn’t have ‘the right’ body type, she’s not attractive and has no sex appeal.

        @V4Real: You’re right that this is a gossip site and people can express their opinions, but there are people who will also have something to say if they see body-shaming. And yeah, we’ve all judged someone’s physical appearance in our lifetime. But as adults we can all decide what we want to reinforce in the culture by the way we talk about people.

      • Kiddo says:

        @Leila in wunderland, while I agree with a lot of what you said, if you are purposely making a spectacle of your ass, for example, through selfies, then clearly you are intentionally seeking attention for it. You can’t expect that everyone is going to pat you on the head and say, “bravo”. When you make your body your ‘talent’ or craft, then you open yourself up to critique by the audience you aggressively courted.

  6. AlexandraJane says:

    I can’t wait to see Cuban Fury, it looks hilarious, but I love Nick Frost. I appreciate the sentiment of what she says and maybe now everyone keeps asking her about it, so thats why it can be a bit broken record-y

  7. smee says:

    It’s sad that she stands out bc she doesn’t give the curbside gyno show every time she gets out of a vehicle.

    She’s a real natural beauty and absolutely hilarious – I’m REALLY going to miss her on P&R – she was so great with Amy P. Her talent and success should shut the nepotism talkers up.

  8. HH says:

    She was “a chubby nerd. Nobody was trying to have sex with me, so I had to find other things, like reading and being good at school. That is so it. Every time I look at a photo of myself as a teenager, I think, this is who I feel like.

    While I appreciate what she’s trying to do, this particular part had me a little confused. It’s almost as if she didn’t go the stereotypical “sexy” route because OTHERS didn’t see her that way during her formative years, so now she doesn’t see herself that way either. I’m slightly inclined to argue against her logic, but I could be reading into it wrong.

  9. Angie says:

    But… but she’s done lot of sexy photo shoots in her underwear.
    She annoys me but she is really pretty and I like her style.

    • Leila in wunderland says:

      Great point. From Rashida Jones, to Chrissy Teigen, to Katy Perry, and others, Hollywood seems to be full of women who don’t want a dress code imposed on them, who don’t want to be told what dance moves they can and can’t do, who don’t want modesty shoved down their own throats, and who don’t want to be slut-shamed for their own clothing, art, and sexuality, but who have no problem doing the same to other famous women.

  10. Putchka says:

    I love her. No twerking or feigned masturbation from this class act!

  11. Francesca says:

    Rashida is refreshing. Sexy without the vulgar overtones? What a charming idea!

  12. DJohnson says:

    I was surprised to learn that she is Quincy Jones’ daughter. I assumed she was a white woman. Her phenotype allows her to live like that. Her sister’s phenotype does not. For years I have struggled with this concept of biracial particularly in reference to children of black and white parents. President Obama’s mother is white yet he looks like the average man in my African American family. That is because pure African mixed with pure European will yield that. Most of the African Americans in this country are biracial. Some have greater percentages than others. And I would venture to say that most “whites” have some African mix. So it all comes down to phenotype. It becomes complicated when you have siblings who look different and relatives who will discriminate based on that difference. That is why it is very important to know that you do not marry a person but a family and when you decide to cross racial lines, you better know what who you are entangling your life with. I thoroughly understand why the Paula’s, Halle’s and Alicia’s of the worlds prefer to identify with being African American vs. biracial.