Fashion Doesn't Make Me Dumb

Last year, when Zooey Deschanel began starring as Jess on New Girl, I wasn't quite sold despite how much a adore Zooey. The show took some time to fall into a rhythm and I wasn't sure I was a fan of Jess at first. Then she said this:
“Okay, hey! I have something to say to you, man! I brake for birds. I rock a lot of polka dots. I have touched glitter in the last 24 hours. I spend my entire day talking to children, and I find it fundamentally strange that you're not a dessert person. That's just weird, and it freaks me out! I'm sorry I don't talk like Murphy Brown. And I hate your pantsuit, and I wish it had ribbons on it -- or just something to make it slightly cuter. And that doesn't mean I'm not smart and tough and strong! I'm about to go pay this $800 fine, and my checks have baby farm animals on them, bitch!”
--Jess, New Girl, S1 E11, "Not A Dessert Person"
In case you hadn't guess from reading our blog, Jael and I are kind of into fashion. We love to experiment with our clothes. We spend a hefty chunk of time talking, reading and writing about clothes, accessories and makeup. While we both rock a variety of styles, we are often girly. We wear a lot of dresses, skirts, tights, Mary Jane shoes, bows and ruffles. We're grown women who like wearing tutus and bright yellow shoes.

We are also educated, well-read, intelligent women. During this particular episode of New Girl, Zooey Deschanel's character, Jess, tries to be friends with her roommate's new lawyer girlfriend, Julia. Julia doesn't buy Jess' "act." She can't imagine why Jess would behave or dress the way she does. Julia works in a law community where she has to dress "professionally" and act "smart." In reality, these terms are often just PC ways to saying she has to behave more like a man. For some reason, being feminine has come to mean the opposite of intelligent and professional.

In college, I worked on a research project that was scheduled to be presented at a national conference. My research partner cut her hair, making her look older and less girly. This inspired our advising professor to suggest I do something to my curly hair to make it "more professional" too. He went on to tell me my high waisted skirt suit with a ruffle-front white shirt wasn't professional either. This same professor told me my goals to edit a fashion publication were beneath me. He didn't see fashion as something that could be valuable, smart, artistic or important to how we communicate with others. He just thought fashion was dumb.

An interest in fashion doesn't make me dumb or silly just like being a woman doesn't make me unprofessional or less powerful. Fun clothes make me happy. I'm not suggesting we dress by our whims and wear kitten-print sundresses to job interviews, but we don't have to forgo wearing or doing things we love either.

So, thank you, Jess, for standing up for the girly girl.  I hope you have a good season two premiere tonight.



Jael Paris said…
Someone was shocked the other day to find out that not only have I read T. S. Eliot but that I've also written a 25 page thesis paper comparing and contrasting his use of Biblical references in The Waste Land to those in Ash Wednesday. This can't be, of course, because I wear pink ruffles.

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