Sexy Feminist: Zooey Deschanel

Some girls in the spotlight become more than the sum of their parts, and not in a good way. Zooey Deschanel is a prime example: Just by being her, she ignites extreme emotions, many of them unfavorable. She basically invented the idea of the “manic pixie dream girl,” the archetype of a woman who can change any young, repressed man with one stroke of her quirkiness. But the fact remains: She’s a stone cold feminist.

How do we know this? Let us count the ways, and they have nothing to do with those irresistible bangs and big blue eyes. First, her character on her sitcom New Girl is quietly revolutionary: She shows us that girls who are inherently as sweet and quirky as she is love sex and have plenty of it. During the current otherwise insufferably drawn-out flirtation her character, Jess, is experiencing with roommate/friend Nick, we’ve learned that she’s all about having tons of emotionally unattached sex with her current boyfriend. Yes, blue-eyed, aggressively-banged (ha-ha), ultra-feminine Jess has knock-down, meaningless sex with a dude. Score one for the Mary Richardses of the modern era.

Second, Deschanel is a solid, multi-faceted actress, going back as far as Almost Famous. How awesome is Almost Famous? How awesome is she in it? She’s the big sister we all wish we had. She also happens to be a rock star, literally, with the band She and Him, and to throw her weight behind a very feminist, very funny, yet unabashedly girlie, website called Hello Giggles. Roll your eyes all you want about how cutesy Deschanel is, but you have to admit: She’s more comfortable with the idea of femininity than anyone we know.

5 Qs with ‘New Girl’ Creator Liz Meriwether

New Girl on Fox was this close to making our list of feminist shows to watch this fall — and has garnered our affection more with time — so we were thrilled to have a chance to talk to Liz Meriwether, the creator, writer, and executive producer of the show. Meriwether told us about creating a female centric show, the emerging prominence of female comedy in Hollywood, and the polarizing presence of star Zooey Deschanel.

Was it hard to pitch a series that revolved around women to a network?

It wasn’t hard. I felt really encouraged by the way the network received the show the whole way through. I think the first time I met Kevin Reilly, who is the head of Fox, he said to me, I want to keep this female character really unique and I want you to protect her throughout this whole process, which was really rare and the first time I had heard that from a network exec. I actually found that there wasn’t resistance to an odd female character at the center of the show, which I found really gratifying. I really don’t think the show could work if the network hadn’t understood it and really supported it.

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