Zooey Deschanel: “I don’t know why femininity should be associated with weakness”

Can you believe this is cover image Allure Magazine chose? For real, Allure? Granted, Zooey Deschanel is “quirky” and she’s a “funny girl”. But that’s not a good enough excuse for putting this photo of her ON THE COVER! Anyway, Zooey is on the cover of Allure because she has gotten a career resurgence with The New Girl – she’d always been a relatively in-demand actress, often in independent films or part of an ensemble in bigger movies, but now she’s got a hit show on Fox, and everybody is paying attention to her. Honestly, I was never much of a fan until The New Girl. Now I give her a pass on most of the stuff that used to annoy me, although I would love for her to do something different with her hair. Yes, I take issue with the bangs, but mostly I just want to get all of her hair out of her face – but Zooey seems to think that “bangs and eyes” are her signature. Here are some highlights from Zooey’s Allure interview:

Zooey’s signature: “I’m bangs and eyes,” she says. “It’s who I am. There have been periods when I’ve grown my bangs out, but I always cut them back, so it’s like, why go through the trouble?”

She’s a lot like her New Girl character: “Because I have brown hair and a low voice, I would get cast as dry, sarcastic, ironic people, which I can do, but it’s not my sense of humor. I’m a very positive person. I get excited easily, and I like to jump around.”

She doesn’t read gossip: “I can’t go on Gawker. I actually think the writing is really funny, but there is a chance that somebody is undercutting me,” she says.

Criticism about her “overly girlish” style: Deschanel has both worshipful fans and snarky critics who find her overly girlish. Her defense? “If you feel like dressing like a girl, there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t know why femininity should be associated with weakness. Women should be free to express who they are without thinking, I need to act like a man, or I need to tone it down to be successful. That’s a very good way to keep women down,” she says.

She’s not an obsessive dieter: While Deschanel watches her weight by sticking to a diet of vegetables, grains, and proteins, she isn’t obsessed. “Some people around me, they’re like 89 pounds,” she says. “I’m not going to say I’m a big girl. I’m a very small person, but I’m a healthy weight. That might be a little weird for Hollywood.”

It Girl status: Deschanel finds irony in the label “It” girl. “‘It’ girl is supposed to be something that only lasts a certain amount of time,” she says. “They keep calling me an ‘It’ girl, and at this point it makes me laugh, because they’ve done that so many times: ‘You’re it’; ‘you’re not it.’ What is ‘it’?”

Being bullied in school: “Girls spit in my face. People were so mean to me. I’d cry every day.”

She went to Northwestern University briefly: “I went to Northwestern because I had gone to a really nontraditional high school. I was like, ‘It’d be cool to have a traditional college experience,’” Deschanel, 32, explains. “Then I was like, ‘Oh, but none of these people understand what’s cool about me. My specialness is not appreciated in this place.’”

Straddling mainstream and outsider status: “I’ve always straddled a weird line — there’s a lot of mainstream stuff that I love. At the same, I still feel like an outsider. I’m the outsider who’s on the inside.”

[From Allure & Us Weekly]

I do like that Zooey isn’t pin-thin – she’s been in some short skirts and some lingerie in The New Girl, and I was surprised to see how lovely and healthy her figure really is – she looks like a girl who eats healthy most of the time and stays active, but really isn’t obsessed with it. It’s nice. As for the whole “My specialness is not appreciated in this place” – is she serious? Or is she making fun of herself at the age of 18? Because one of the great things about college is that you’re away from home and you learn that you’re not a beautiful, special and unique flower, you know? Maybe she was joking.

Photos courtesy of Allure.

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86 Responses to “Zooey Deschanel: “I don’t know why femininity should be associated with weakness””

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  1. Jenny says:

    I, too, have had bangs all my life. For some people it’s just a part of them.

  2. merski says:

    Kaiser, why are you always so strictly anti-bangs? :)
    Is there any kind of bangs you wouldn’t be against? Just curious…. :)

  3. CF says:

    i like the interview but def feel she wasnt joking with that specialness line

    • LadyJane says:

      Irony and sarcasm doesn’t come across clearly in print. I feel she was being self deprecating here, with a tinge of truth. She probably didn’t fit in at Northwestern and probably didn’t like it because it was so traditional, and she is making a joke out of it. A lot of her humour is self deprecating, which I think Americans don’t always pick up on because you think everything has to be about self promotion and self esteem.

  4. D says:

    I don’t know why either, Zooey. I do, however, completely understand why self-consciously twee hipster quirkiness is associated with being incredibly annoying.

  5. Mia says:

    She’s really pushing the “Im a quirky non-Hollywood type” strongly, isn’t she? “what is ‘it’” “I’m an outsider on the inside” “specialness” etc. It comes across as though she is really selling an image instead of just being what she is. But that aside, do quirky people only take weird photos where they look like they are eating sour patch kids? What’s with the faces in all the shots minus the last one? Contrived and just plain ugly (the photos and pose not Zooey)

    • Liz says:

      One of the most useful things that my Daddy imparted to me was this:

      The harder someone tries to persuade you of a personality trait, rather than just living it, the more of a scam it is.

      In other words, look at how people actually act, not how they repeatedly tell you they act.

      I don’t see anything particularly quirky or talented about Deschanel. I know it’s her USP, and lots of people think she’s awesome. I know she’s successful in an insanely competitive industry, so she’s clearly bright.

      But I just find her annoying.

    • Azure says:

      What great advice from your Dad. I think that’s completely true. In fact, I was put off Zooey by following her twitter earlier on, when every tweet was about cupcakes and cutesie shit (now it’s constant New Girl promotion, and retweeting flattering tweets). It was just so very obviously contrived, and before that I had presumed she wasn’t so invested in creating an image.

      Someone above says she is joking about the ‘specialness’ thing. I say, no way. For one thing, she seems to have no sense of humour about herself. The girl who does the parodies of her on youtube, which are affectionate and absurd, revealed on LJ that Zooey finds her ‘mean’, for example. But more importantly, it’s completely in line with a ton of other stuff she has said about herself. She has a bad case of special snowflake syndrome.

  6. lisa says:

    I love her but her defense against people calling her ‘overly girly’ is because they see femininity as a weakness?

    No, Zooey people call you ‘overly girly’ because you bring forth the ‘puerile’ image i.e the Taylor Swift. It’s eerie after a certain age.

  7. Liz says:

    I don’t dislike her because she’s too “feminine”. I don’t think anyone wants her to act like a man, whatever that means.

    I just find her persona (the “adorkable” thing) annoying beyond words, especially in her thirties. 31 year olds should not be talking about dressing like a “girl”. They should not be using the word “girl” to refer to their present selves. Ever.

    It doesn’t help that I don’t like anything she’s been in. No, not even “(500) Days of Summer”. I watched it twice, just to make sure that I wasn’t just in the wrong mood the first time. Nope, still don’t get why everyone seems to love it.

    But I’ll give her this: I think she was making fun of her 18 y/o self with the “specialness” comment.

  8. whatevs says:

    i just read the specialness quote and i have a feeling she was serious about that. i heard she is really full of herself and sorry, i don’t buy the “omg i’m a poor nerdy celeb who was bullied” bs. that’s been going around so much lately. and for those of us who were really bullied, we’re not filthy fucking rich today, we have to deal with the recession to make ends meet, so no sympathy from me.

    • Asli says:

      Exactly! I think it’s the new image-booster in H-wood. Claim bullying, get sympathy. It’s in practically every interview with celebs nowadays. “Oh, I wanted to act. I worked and made an insane amount of money -People hated me”. ( I’m looking at you K-Stew, Taylor, Miley) It’s f*cking annoying.

      • ol cranky says:

        I am sooo glad others feel the same way about this.

      • Asli says:

        LOL! Yeah, me too. Especially since they’re lying most of the time. Miley – she says she used to get bullied but every picture there is of her as a kid she’s the center of attention. She lived on a huge farm, had a famous dad, was a cheerleader – it just doesn’t add up. And then there’s the fact that people from her hometown came out and said she was lying.

      • whatevs says:

        miley was bullying others, it’s been confirmed many times. idk which taylor you were referring to but if it’s tswift, she too has a reputation for having been a mean girl in the past. the lady gaga stories are also fake as hale. everyone says she was the rich girl in the rich kids school, a music school where everyone was creative, and she was pretty normal, average and not at all an outcast. why do they make up these stories anyway? it’s not like anyone is buying them…

      • Asli says:

        Oh, I didn’t know they’d all been confirmed :) They pretty much DO get away with it. Their hardcore fans will pretty much believe any old story they put out. Which is ridiculous. Research is your friend, people!

    • Sarah says:

      I work with someone who was at Northwestern when she was, except he graduated, and he has always said that she was horrible during that time. He even gives her the benefit of doubt and says it is entirely possible that, at 32, she isn’t the same as she was over 10 years ago. Buuut, both female and male friends of his corroborate his stories of her being an absolute mean girl.

  9. Sloane Wyatt says:

    I’m 50 and I’m all Girl! I can call myself a ‘Broad’ if I want to, and I do, sometimes! My husband says I’m a Bimbo, and former employees just called me Boss.

    The point is when Helena Bonham Carter gets ‘girlish’ and ‘adorkable’ on the red carpet and anywhere else she pleases for that matter, no one call HER out!

    Geez, Zoey was joking about her image and poking fun at herself. That girl seems to be in on the joke of life, and I say let your freak flag fly!

    For the record, on the outside, I’m the preppy, peppy Bree Van de Kamp next door. You know, everyday could be a costume party if you let it!

    • D says:

      I’ve never heard HBC get called “adorkable” by anyone.

      I’ve heard “crazy bag lady style”, “Victorian Gothic”, “fierce as hell”, and “that woman looks homeless” – but there is nothing twee or cutesy about HBC’s persona or the roles she’s chosen. She’s more in the “grand English eccentric” tradition (see also Tilda Swinton).

      While people seem to like Tilda’s & HBC’s brand of quirk, Zooey’s pixie hipster vibe apparently grates on a lot of people.

      Though mostly women, I suspect – men actually tend to find Zooey-types very cute & charming. On the other hand, I feel it’s mostly women who like HBC’s & Tilda’s style – men are definitely not checking for women who dress like they do (i.e. weird in a truly “WTF is that?” way rather than Zooey’s perfectly mainstream style) & probably find them more frightening than anything else.

      • MsCatra says:

        Very insightful comment. Being a 31 year old somewhat “quirky girl” myself (minus the “acts like a 13 year old” part, which I honestly don’t see in Zooey), I prefer Zooey and her hipster quirk to the deliberate weirdness of HBC and SWINTON. And since childhood I’ve always gotten along better with “boys” than with “girls”, lol.

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        Agreed muchas with your comment! I happen to like Zoey & Helena equally. HBC is completely cute in ‘A Room with a View’ and ‘Lady Jane, but I do get the gist of what you’re saying.

        I think folks can be a little jealous of an attractive and gorgeous, (albeit quirkily or differently dressed), member of the same sex. Someone’s style of dress would have to be completely inappropriate, such as wearing a bikini in church, for me to get all *tsk*tsk*.

  10. curious says:

    obnoxious photoshopping. no woman over 30 could make that cover face and not create even ONE wrinkle or crease.

  11. lipsy says:

    Anybody enjoyed last night’s episode? I thought they overdid it with the Schimidt shtick. I love me some Schimidt, but they know he’s the breakout character, so the entire episode was about Schmidt and how douchey he is! Ughhh I don’t need whole 30 minutes of it.

    Maybe my expectation is getting too high now because I love this show :(

  12. EmmaStoneWannabe says:

    I like her and the show. However, I think those shots are beyond flattering of her figure. I think she is healthy and beautiful. That being said, if you watch her live or see candid shots, she’s not THAT tiny (unless she’s recently lost 15 lbs). I say that as one of many who are constantly annoyed at Photoshop and how it sends a message that women are skinnier and more perfect-looking than they actually are. Stop messing with natural beauty!

  13. Sam says:

    I think she was totally being sarcastic. I can hear her saying it in her sarcastic voice. It is really hard to convey sarcasm in print.

  14. jessie_dee says:

    Ugggh, she is insufferable. She is a child-woman and that is very different from femininity. No one is saying she should act like a man, just act like an adult.

  15. Shelly says:

    Love her, love the cover, love her bangs and eyes.

  16. Sasha says:

    How does Zooey not act her age? She is clearly professional on set (no diva stories, etc) and I’ve never seen pictures of her drunk. She also doesn’t get her breasts out at every available opportunity so her dress sense is FINE by me (I actually really love the way she dresses). She seems like a lovely person and you can see from the New Girl that she’s totally willing to look stupid and make fun of herself. I like Zooey a lot!

  17. original kate says:

    she’s a twee, hipster doofus.


  18. Mouse says:

    I like her all right as an actress, but she’s getting pretentious. The more she talks, the less I’m liking her.

    My criticism with her style is that she’s over 30 and dresses like Taylor Swift. She can get away with it for another couple years maybe, but then she’s going to look like a woman in her late thirties playing dress-up. And if that’s her selling point, she’d better have a backup plan. And I don’t understand how she jumped from the topic of dressing girly to acting like a man or being weak. What the heck does that have to do with it? Her comments make her sound like a twit. So yeah, I think she’s an “It” girl and I agree with her, it only lasts “a certain amount of time.”

  19. J says:

    I kind of feel bad for her with that Gawker quote…They can be truly vicious over there. She’s annoying, but kind of harmless, and a decent enough actress but they [Gawker] act like she is Chris Brown.

  20. Mouse says:

    Haha oops, sorry #6 Lisa–you beat me to the TS reference.

  21. Penguin says:

    I’m surprised I thought she was only about 24.

  22. Floridaseaturtle says:

    I really like her, and her sister. So, might be a little gimmicky…forever-ish to us older folk. But still ‘cute’ and good for her, IMO. Actually, SHE is the one that I really remember from the Good Girl film. She was a Quiet Riot to me. Loved, loved that deadpan humor.

  23. Zoe says:

    It’s not her femininity that people dislike, its the hipster act. Honestly, hipsters just farking annoy me.

  24. Ally says:

    Here are two weird Zooey clips:

    blonde (with sideswept bangs) & harsh on Frasier:

    and with Joseph Gordon-Levitt inexplicably doing Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy fighting (and Joseph is Nancy):

  25. Rachael says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s not called “THE New Girl”, it’s just called “New Girl”. Not to split hairs, but, I mean, you know, I’m just saying. That’s what it’s called.

  26. Lindsey G. says:

    I don’t know what it is, but I have become increasingly wary of any celebrity that claims to have been ‘bullied.’ I don’t discount the experiences of those who’ve actually experienced bullying vs. childish antics/getting picked on, but I’m just gonna call bullsh*t. It just feels more and more like it’s the thing to do; to play the sympathy card.

  27. Azure says:

    What troubles me is, there is a thread on IMDB where people talk about her being rude to fans. I mean, sure, some of the comments were just like ‘she didn’t sign autographs’, and those didn’t seem like a big deal…but the ones that stood out were a couple of different people who worked at events for her and said she was rude to staff and even made fun of fans behind their backs. The last part bothers me the most – that’s not just being in a bad mood and being short-tempered, that’s being actively mean. If these are true, then I feel like maybe she didn’t learn anything from being mistreated.

  28. Nigra Fela says:

    Sorry but her eyes are nothing special. The boy from Hugo has azmazing eyes and does does Elijah Wood. I don’t really care much about Zooey Deschenl but I don’t buy the stories of her being spat in the face by other girls. I mean I heard she went to private schol,and she comes from an family of entertainers and same goes for that Gaga. She went to the same school as Paris Hilton, so that proves how wealthy her family(and most likely snobbish) must have been. Taylor Swift,hard to belive too. She is like what 5′ll? How could a girl her height have been picked on? Why does these rich,privleged kids who become succesful,still lie? Even that boy who played Anakin Skywalker from the Phantom Menanece said he was made fun of! He was in Stars Wars for gods sake, who would make fun of you for being in a Star Wars movie!? Liars. All of them. Daniel Radcliffe went to Sussex, a rich kids school in England. He said the kids did not bully or harass him but they were rather star-struck and were asking him alot of questions about being an actor. I believe that guy now. All these other phonies should stop lying and grow up. Especially Zoeey Dechanel and Gaga,who are both either mid-twenties or early thirties.

  29. rockys says:

    Her and Joeseph Gordon-Levitt are annoying. Both are like 30′s and act like 13 year old kids who have crushes on each other. I think they are especially annoying with their singing. Joesph singing “Hey Jude” was awful. Guys a good actor but really needs to stop trashing beatles songs. I can’t believe some of the youtbe comments are like” he so good ” and ” his voice is amazing,should become a singer” Please no.

  30. lindsey says:

    I think she should continue to dress the way she wants, whatever her age. The only ones bothered by her are the ones who are her age and look like there over the hill. Even if she was 40 and still dressing like a young woman, then its still up to her. I can tell you all something as far as femininity goes, im 31 too and have dressed masculine most of my life, and i will continue to do so, not because i think femininity is a weakness and masculinity would make me powerful. But because this is who i am and this is what i like to wear, im fed up of the whole politics around gender and im fed up with people who think that someone like me dresses the way i do because of politics, were not in the 1980′s anymore.

  31. Shona says:

    first of all Zooey D. is okay – she is not super hot – she’s just a plain girl who has a great stylist – hair extensions – etc – and gets far too much media coverage for someone so average looking. Bangs look ridiculous on anyone older than 13 (so do pig tails) – Zooey actually has chunky legs – if you look at her legs – especially around the mid-calf area they are like two tree trunks – at the moment she is thin – but this kind of body shape will chunk out when she hits her mid-thirties. She is not even a very good actress – in fact she reminds me if another over-rated actress – Jennifer Aniston – who is also not hot. It behooves me to understand why guys are all over Zooey Deschanel when she simply is just average and I can pull any girl off the street and throw a fringe wig on her and she’d still look 100 times better. btw – I train fitness models at the gym I work at and I choreograph their routines – I know a thing or too about hotness – Zooey is Average – she is not hot – Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie, and Meghan Fox are hot – they also have fit toned bodies – Deschanel is a plain Jane who’s face is very manly – almost androgynous – her body and posture are atrocious – to have the media cram her down our throats as the new “hot sexy it girl” is just plain insulting.