Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Quirky Girl (and why she won't go away)

Deschanel, the It girl for quirkiness
And so begins a new category of blog entry for ALC ... POP goes the world - a discussion of all things pop culture.

Am I just bitter because there is no chance that I will ever be the Quirky Girl that everyone loves? Am I just envious? Perhaps. Possibly that is so ... or is it because the world seems like a much more serious place and I want grown men and women to behave a tad more seriously (oh, that old lament ALC? yes, that old lament). Quirky Girl's predominance has been emerging for decades now. She is the It Girl of the 21stc.

Let us examine this anthropological specimen closely: 

Her physical attributes:
> Young (never over 30, ever young).
> Gamine.
> Sexy but not threatening.
> Pretty but not beautiful.
> Never fat (because then she becomes something else ... perhaps Fat Party Girl, another species entirely).
> Sexually appealing to boys and men. 

Zoe Kazan
Her emotional attributes:
> Ditzy ... but that's just a cover for being clever in a unconventional way.
> Unwise to the ways of the world.
> Always cute and dresses in same said manner usually in bright colours, makeup and occasionally hats (sometimes with pretty dresses) and always in a cute, quirky fashion. Might also be a bit slovenly but that just adds to the cuteness.
> Pop-eyed enthusiasm (see picture above) for the world and all it brings.

Where does she abide in popular culture? 
Her predecessors are legion: the characters of Gidget and Tammy (film series in the 1950s and 60s); Laugh-In go-go girl Goldie Hawn in the late 1960s; Diane Keaton in Annie Hall in the 1970s; the character of Mayim Bialik in Blossom and Lisa Bonet (in general) in the 1980s; the sometimes sullen character of Rayanne in the TV series My So-called Life in the 1990s; the character of Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in the 2000s.

Her current manifestations: Greta Gerwig in Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha (2012); Zoe Kazan in Ruby Sparks (2012) written by Kazan herself; the character of Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010); the character of Summer (Ms. Deschanel again) in 500 Days of Summer (2009); and, of course, The New Girl Zooey Deschanel in ... anything.

I want to put Lena Dunham of the HBO TV series Girls in this category but she doesn't quite fit ... being a little too cerebral, not really pretty/cute or not cute in that customary quirky way. And I honestly think she is trying to do something quite different for young women and their self-image. (Why she is on the verge of quirky: gets tattoos like many a wannebe bad girl but they are from Eloise as if she is saying, "See, just kidding, I'm not really a bad girl!" Quirky.)

Why is the Quirky Girl so popular? Why won't she go away?
She is non-threatening. She represents youth and beauty (fine things in and of themselves) unspoiled by womanhood and maternity and responsibility. She is not fully perceived as an adult woman but is closer to a doll or a sex toy; therefore, pliable, easier to manipulate, undemanding. She is attainable, manageable, and she is the female mirror image of the Fan Boy who refuses to grow up.

I would not mind the attire, which personally I think is rather adorable; however, I mind the lack of  involvement with the world, with real life. If only they could get their sh*t together and try to make things better instead of just trying to manage their moods and their wardrobes. 
Lena Dunham, on the verge of quirky
Why she must die ...
She is a concrete manifestation of arrested development - an example of the desire to avoid engagement with the real world, with adulthood. And who could blame her really? I don't want every female to turn into a boring old married lady (ahem) with kids ... it's not that at all.

But seriously, cute after 30 is not cute. Cute after 30 is ... disturbing. It's unappealing. It's depressing. But maybe, okay ... let's not let her die. Maybe we should just hang out with her for a while and then go shopping with her for new clothes. Yeah, that would be nice.


Cheryl said...

My favorite quirky girl? Phoebe on Friends.

A Lit Chick said...

Yes! She woul be an excellent example of what I'm talking about.