Thursday, 31 January 2013

Zooey Deschanel, she's not just a pretty face.

Many women as bloggers, journalists, or critics have recently been labelling actress and musician Zooey Deschanel as "too girly", behaving and dressing as if she is still a little girl and complying to the idea of a perfect woman by being flirty and pretty and a human connotation of cupcakes and rainbows. However, I am in complete disagreement with this rather unfair judgement of a talented and intelligent young woman who is no way deserving of the type of criticism she's beginning to receive from fellow females. Women writing for feminist publications have argued that she simply isn't helping with the fight for equality, that she just plays the same sweet and innocent characters in every movie and continues to like sparkles and unicorns even in her early 30s. Zooey is often criticised for being 'type cast' into roles that closely resemble the archetypical 1950s woman. They must have been watching different films to me because I certainly haven't ever noticed this.

I admit Deschanel often plays a quirky part, especially in new sitcom New Girl, but I don't believe this is any reflection of her acting ability and in fact I view it in quite the opposite way. I believe she has acted incredibly well in a lot of her work and, whilst many of her characters tend to be quirky and adorable, I find it hard to find comparisons between each one. I don't watch '500 Days of Summer' and recognise Summer as being irritatingly similar to Jess Day in New Girl because they're not, and I think this is almost solely down to Zooey's acting talent.

I find it odd that so many women dislike her for being cooky and cute and judge her quite unjustly for being apparently different to them. Why do they care if she's seen wearing floaty skirts and girly dresses  quite often? I could wear floaty skirts all day and just float around all over the place, I often do, it doesn't make me "less feminist" it just makes me me. Because feminism is all about choice, and if women who slag off Zooey claim they believe this then why are they condemning her choices? They don't know her. I don't know her but at least I don't judge her for being, well, for being who she decides to portray herself as.

I don't think she's even close to this "girly and flirty and pathetic" persona she's been labelled with. I believe from interviews and from her own work that she's as talented and as intelligent and as aware of feminism as these women are and still chooses to look "adorable" too. She's never struck me as being arrogant with the fame she has risen to from her work, or that she promotes herself purely on her looks. Are we now attacking women who are beautiful because being that way is antifeminist? Who is anyone to judge a woman who is clearly very smart and talented for her image? In fact, Zooey recently told Glamour magazine something that has become a quote doing the rounds of the Internet as an inspirational message. She said, "I want to be a fucking feminist and wear a fucking Peter Pan collar. So fucking what?" which I think beautifully sums up my point. She proves that she's not the woman everyone thought they could mess with, that she doesn't care how she dresses and that she knows it doesn't somehow effect her beliefs of feminism and equality. Why should it?

Zooey co-founded an entertainment website/blog for women to share creative, funny and independent pieces where they weren't going to be pushed behind blokey men who laugh when the word 'boobies' is said like on LadBible. The website is, would you judge a woman's mental capacity and involvement in feminism for that?

I don't understand why feminism has actually started to take on a new stereotype, a group of elitists who create this image for themselves that makes them look kind of obnoxious. They appear to have this snobbery about how other women who call themselves feminists behave when it's not the same as their middle class fashion adorned group. Going back to a previous blog post of mine about playing with Barbies and baby dolls didn't effect who I am today, why should women who cut of Barbie's head and flushed it down the toilet be considered more feminist than me? Just like wearing a Peter Pan collar doesn't make Zooey Deschanel any less of a feminist than the women who are criticising her.

If feminism is defined by being about choice, then we should try to refrain from condemning any man or woman's choices for how their image is portrayed by the public. I think arguing against Zooey Deschanel is a very poor and weak argument to make, and it isn't going to get us anywhere. There are far more important and real issues to be dealing with than to be slagging off another woman's dress sense. I don't see Zooey Deschanel as stupid and ignorant and just a silly little woman who doesn't know any better, I see her as a very talented, very clever, unbelievably beautiful woman who I wouldn't be exaggerating when I said she was one of my idols. Because I do believe that she is. She's badass and ridiculously adorable, why shouldn't I look up to her for being completely who she wants to be? Isn't that what I'm supposed to be doing?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Poem: To cease to write.

Should I ever cease to put my pen on paper
and write
then I will have come down with the flu
or have lost my sight.

For when words cannot flow like water
in streams
then I must have amnesia and have forgotten
my dreams.

Because, I only dream of words
and of writing
and it would be an awful shame to stop
like a bird unable to sing.

If I ever cease to put my pen on paper
and write
then I must have fallen to eternal sleep
and lost life's fight.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Guns. And why I hate them.

When I think of guns I don't think of safety or of reassurance, I think of the violence and the misery they bring to so many of us. I've only ever held a gun once, at an adventure holiday aiming at paper targets, and even then I felt a little uneasy about holding the potential weapon. I felt so uncomfortable knowing that in my hands I held the potential power to kill or seriously injure another being. Granted I knew nothing about aiming and shooting but the power it possessed was an uneasy and nasty one. I didn't understand why people would use these for fun, why having such a head start with the weapon and aiming it at helpless animals was considered a sport. I knew for certain that if I kept a gun in my house I wouldn't feel safe, I would feel restless that such a violent object lay somewhere near me, that I owned such a thing. What a horrible thought, that with this thing you could easily, heartlessly and quickly end someone's life. That by owning a gun, you have the potential to play God. How utterly terrifying.

Which is why, and I say this with  unfaltering confidence, I am in full support of Obama's attempt at changing the laws of owning guns in the USA. The Connecticut school shooting was just tip of the iceberg in convincing almost the rest of the world that such casual ownership and sale of weaponry was a terrible and fatal mistake. The fact that in America it is easier to buy a gun than to have health insurance is surely a twisted statistic and an ironic view of priorities in the USA. Conservative Americans claim it to be the land of the free, but how free would you feel if anyone had the right to possess a dangerous weapon and you couldn't afford to be treated if you got shot? To me, that sounds extremely condemning.

I would feel safer in the knowledge that those who decided to own a gun had been checked and licensed and were more unlikely to go on a killing spree of innocent people than to know that I could buy the weapon if I so wished. I think that the 'right' to own a gun is quite frankly a very foolish right, you are essentially giving people the go ahead to play around with life, choose who may die. I simply find it a frightening thought, that people even feel they need this access to killing machines to feel secure. I personally feel that if I was in a situation when someone had broken into the house or put me in some kind of danger I wouldn't hesitate about killing them or not, because I just wouldn't do it. I would find another way around it because ending someone's life, no matter who they were, would be an unbearable thing to do. It is in no way my right to cause somebody's death, and I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I did.

What kind of a person doesn't question killing a human being? Independent of whether you are in a life or death situation yourself I think you'd be more likely to do damage to your mental wellbeing if you made the decision to take another's life than you would be physically hurt in not doing so. So why would one fight for the right to have this horrible decision and to carry on the higher potential for more ghastly events like the school shooting? I do not normally condemn another person's right to make their own opinion known and to have that opinion but in this situation I believe that those clinging onto the Second Amendment are quite simply wrong. The people such as those trying to get Piers Morgan deported are to me exactly the type of person you wouldn't trust in anyway shape or form with a gun in any situation. To be frank, they appear in interviews to often have a screw loose, to be one sandwich short of a picnic, which is not giving me total reassurance that they are making the right decision in fighting for this right.

I am supporting President Obama in his decision to reevaluate the laws about the possession of guns because I believe them to be a great threat in the wrong hands, or quite often in any hands at all. I am not American, and I do not live in the USA but I believe that for the welfare of the citizens there this conservative view of such weaponry must be reviewed. So you can stick your Second Amendment, dear traditionalist, right up where the sun don't shine. Because it would be a safer world for everyone if we had a gun free nation to follow by.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

A letter to my future self.

Dear Mollie,

I am writing to remind you of your teenage years and to hope, oh so desperately hope, that life has become a little bit easier. Because although your life is happy and fun at this time there are many, many things to be worrying about. And worry you do well.

I don't know if you remember, but at this time in your life the future seems a very long and very unlikely place to imagine. There is still a multitude of public examinations to get through before even thinking of university or anything remotely interesting and cool. Seeing past these exams and into a life where everyday is not plagued with homework or revision or the tense feeling of knowing that hard work is ahead is extremely difficult. Therefore, at this moment any life that involves any of my wildest hopes and dreams is a far, far away idea that I can only wish very hard for. I feel as if, at this point, the best job I could ever have is working in Waitrose. Not even a super indie and cool job as a waitress in Harris & Hoole down the road is an option right now, because not only are you not old enough but you are certain that with your luck they will not deem you hipster enough to work there.  Not hipster enough. Imagine that. I don't know what is scarier, that you actually day dream about wearing indie clothing and serving fabulous coffees to customers with leather messenger bags and MacBooks and brown, expensive brogues, or the knowledge that no one will even employ you to babysit.
I sincerely hope, therefore, that you are not still waiting for mothers to call and ask you to look after their children but are working with some brilliantly cool people writing excellently quirky and intelligent things. Any things.

On a more trivial note, I also want to remind you that as a fifteen year old girl most boys seem to be irritatingly uninterested. Fortunately, however, you have no interest in these male peers either because the overwhelming majority of them are lanky, spotty, awkward, immature, and hopelessly tragic. Please, future self, do tell me that by the time these boys grow up they improve at least slightly. And please say that you eventually get past the stage of only being able to be the token girl holding hands with a boy who still watches Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and relates every part of his life to COD. It would be disastrous if in the future you still settled under the category of singletons because of your uneventful teen years.

Oh, future Mollie, I just desperately wish that your life is a little simpler now you've become a fully grown, fully functioning adult. That you do not cry at everything remotely happy or sad because of your fragile hormonal state. That you have your own income and finally understand what a mortgage is. That you have seen a lot of the world, all of the cities you've always longed to go to. That you adore whatever career you have, and you achieved what you wished for now. That you speak fluent French, and maybe even live in Paris. That you wear devastatingly cool clothes and navigate around London with such ease like all those beautiful women you saw as a girl. That you have friends who make your stomach ache with laughter.
That you are happy, that you are safe, that you are peaceful. And most importantly, that you have found love. First love, hopeless love, and love everywhere you go.

So, Mollie, I can only hope that how ever bad you feel now or lost or helpless or scared your life in the future is 100 times better. I can only hope that you've worked, at least some things, out and life has begun to make a bit more sense. I can just only hope, for now.

Yours lovingly,

Mollie, aged 15, 1 month and 16 days.