I don’t want to blame Zooey Deschanel, honestly.
However, I have to say something. Zooey Deschanel has given a dangerous example to follow.
Enter: the quirky girl.
(or as I like to put it: JUST BE WEIRD AND THE BOYS WILL BE LININ’ UP FOR YA!!!!!)
I guess we can blame Hollywood moreso and the fact that several scripts in the past ten years have crafted female lead characters who are quirkier than an antique store. Cleverly called Manic Pixie Dream Girls, or MPDGs, these ladies often are so overexaggerated to the point of annoyance. I will quote film critic Nathan Rabin-
” An MPDG is “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures’.”
Sound familiar? Furthermore-
“MPDGs are usually static characters who have eccentric personality quirks and are unabashedly girlish.”
Famous examples include: Annie Hall, Summer Finn in (500) Days Of Summer, Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown, Sam in Garden State, Sophie Fisher in Music and Lyrics and (my beloved) Penny Lane in Almost Famous.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I am a fan of Zooey, was entertained by Natalie Portman in Garden State, love Annie Hall so so much, consider Almost Famous one of the greatest movies ever made, get told my parents and nearly everyone I know that I am Sophie Fisher and still identify heavily, I mean, HEAVILY with Claire Colburn from Elizabethtown.
(Sidenote on ETown: Yes, I know it’s not everyone’s movie. But it’s my movie and I am emotionally attached!!!! And yes, it’s a little sad to identify with a character so much and tell other people. But I trust you, internet. I’m being truthful, don’t judge me. I’m a Claire! Always have been! And Elizabethtown is a masterpiece! I will forever be defending it. But that’s another conversation, moving on-)
All this to say that somewhere in the past ten years, girls like myself were taught that there is a certain cuteness in toeing the ‘weird’ line. Having strange obsessions and different music tastes has always been interesting to a certain extent but it has been dialed up to where “awww, her vintage spoon collection is so adorable!” and “she has the whole weather girls discography on vinyl?” is not so far off from admirable. I’m not saying these things are wrong at all, but I’m just saying that sometimes weird quirks are just that….WEIRD! And there’s not anything wrong with that! It’s okay to be a little strange!
I don’t by any means think that every single thing I do is supposed to be cute, quirky or not, but I feel like certain movies lead us to believe that there are certain girls whose very sweat is adorable. Me blowing my nose? Not exactly precious. The fact that I seem to always finish my food first? No one’s lining up for that. How my first crushes were Han Solo and Marty McFly? Uhh, yeah.
So while I’ll continue to be sucked into films with women who have a boatload of little quirks, I aim to remember that not telling everyone every detail within the first ten seconds of meeting them is okay. Leave a little mystery. Have your quirks, but don’t assume they are all downright attractive! And most importantly – don’t aim to be quirky for quirks’ sake! Love what you love and if it’s a little weird, don’t worry. I assure you that everyone else is as well.
Oh and one last “toeing-the-cute-line” quirk – The way I listen to Lord Of The Rings audiobooks often and cannot talk about Middle Earth in a serious manner without nearly tearing up because I am so attached to Tolkien’s masterpiece and furthermore, Peter Jackson’s magnificent film adaptations and even furthermore, cannot hardly WAIT for the new Hobbit films to be released and will see them twice in theaters, both in 3D and regular and compare them? Well, if you think that’s cute – PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL ME, BY ALL MEANS.**We’ll ride off into the Rivendell sunset on Shadowfax together.