In Defense of Zooey Deschanel

Until my friend emailed me an article the other day - In Defense of Zooey Deschanel - I had no idea how much hate Zooey was getting for calling herself a feminist.  One of the great, and not so great things about feminism is that it's such a broad and all encompassing term, and it can mean pretty much whatever you want it to.  There's no one solid definition - I suppose the most basic way of describing feminism (in the words of Nona Willis Aronowitz) is that it's "a code word for having gender awareness." I know feminists that think stripping is a way of owning your sexuality, feminists that are anti-abortion, and then there are women like Sarah Palin that claim feminism as a path back to traditional family roles.  I still find it strange that if someone says they're a feminist, the media feels like they have the right to debate whether said person actually is or isn't.  It's so abstract, there's just no sense in trying to unclaim the term for someone else.

via tumblr
Nona Willis Aronowitz - who brings up some really brilliant points in this interview - says 'I’m beginning to realize that the question “Are you a feminist?” tells us much more about the feminist movement’s own branding failures than it does the beliefs of the women prompted to respond.'  The term can place women in box, with expectations about how they should act, based on other people's perceptions of what a feminist should look like.   It's a bit of a paradox.  In trying to claim something that helps us break through the gender expectations of a woman, we can end up moving right into another set of stereotypes about how women should behave.  

At any rate, I think the most important thing about feminism is that women feel free to behave how they want, look how they want, and do what they want.  If Zooey Deschanel wants to wear a fucking Peter Pan collar, she should.  

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