Thursday, February 16, 2012

Forget the Virgin/Whore Dichotomy...Welcome to the Sweet/Bitch Split

I actually like Zooey Deschanel, and I even sort of like hipsters (begrudgingly)...but I think "New Girl" is highly problematic in its portrayal of Jess and her relationships with her roommates.  I think that it is wonderful that Jess is not a glorified sex object on this show, unlike other clips we have watched in class like "Are you there Chelsea?" however, it has gone in the exact opposite direction and made her appallingly infantile. I've only watched the trailer for this show, but even in the trailer the way that she speaks and interacts with people is so unbelievably childish that it actually made me wonder if she had a legitimate social disorder. So, she is not a sex object, but instead she is a six year old girl in a grown woman's body.  Her "quirkiness" is in actuality a refusal to grow up and be an adult.   I do not watch this show but based on the description of the characters of Jess v. Julia, if the writers truly wanted a real woman, they would combine these two characters and have it. Through these two female protagonists it seems as though a new version of the virgin whore dichotomy is emerging: the sweet/bitch split or something like that. You can either be a sweet childlike doormat, or a corporate working class bitch, but God forbid you are ever both. This idea is then echoed in Deschanel's discussion of how her character "Summer" is perceived by modern audiences.

Summer is established as the classic Manic Pixie Dream Girl (sweet), and then when she instead decides to be a real person with her own wants and needs, is branded a bitch by modern society. The minute she isn't the perfect, giving, sweet childlike woman she is a horrible selfish bitch instead. When in actuality she should be viewed as a real person with her own wants and needs beyond those of her boyfriend.

I want to finish this blog post with a quote from "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" because I think the film, and this line, is an incredible example of what modern media should be moving towards in its portrayal of women: a fully realized, fully flawed, real person. Who is sweet, a bitch, and everything in between. But most importantly exists for herself instead of the enjoyment of men.

Clementine: "Too many guys think I'm a concept, or I complete them, or I'm gonna make them alive. But I'm just a fucked-up girl who's lookin' for my own peace of mind; don't assign me yours."

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