Saturday, April 24, 2010

Don't Try So Hard, Zoe Saldana

There are a lot of things I like about Zoe Saldana. Her acting, first and foremost. Granted, neither Pirates of the Caribbean nor Star Trek are exactly Oscar-worthy dramas, but they are two of my favorite films, and I enjoy her performance in both. (I didn't see Avatar. Yes, I know I'm the only one in the Western Hemisphere. But I heard she was good.)

She has fantastic fashion sense too, the muppet she wore to The Oscars notwithstanding. She looked super-cute on The Daily Show and here she is at The Losers premiere looking characteristically sharp.

But as you may have noticed, this post is not titled Rock On, Zoe Saldana. That's because I feel like whenever I read a quote from her, it either starts out okay and then tips over into Wait, what? or it just makes no sense to begin with. I suspect that in her desire to supply provocative quotes to go along with her current status as Hollywood's It Girl, she's just going a little too far. Or maybe, like my mother-in-law, she simply doesn't listen to the words coming out of her mouth.

A sampling:

“I’ve never really been that feminine. Look in my closet and you’ll see things that are elegant, sexy, tomboyish, sophisticated, beautiful, aggressive. It’s harsh. It’s a lot of black. Pretty is the last word you would think of. Sometimes, I have to give myself permission to be pretty.” (Source)

So...clothes that are elegant, sexy, tomboyish, sophisticated, beautiful, aggressive, or black aren't pretty? And I can't even mock the "permission to be pretty" bit, because I honestly have no idea what she's talking about. Let's move on to another quote on the same theme:

"I have a very strong character and I like to be challenged. Men's clothing makes me feel empowered so I often wear a man's suit. Sometimes I think I should have been born a guy! I wear black a lot and I like solid colors. Like me, they're independent, bold and decisive." (Source)

I guess if she'd been born a guy she could wear men's suits more often? Maybe? I have no idea. Also, I have an independent couch, bold tea pot, and decisive bed skirt. I like assigning random adjectives to things. It's fun.

So what have we learned? That Zoe Saldana is not feminine. Just to hammer home the point:

“I love acting with men. I tend to gravitate toward roles in movies where I get to be the only girl.” (Source)

She is all about men. Men, men, men! Her treehouse has a "No Girlz Allowed" sign. Vaginas = icky. Now let's move on to her feelings on social issues:

On sex: “Love it, love it, love it-can’t live without it! I love sex. I love skin. I don’t believe the body is something to hide. I think in American society we’re messing up our kids by taking away the education on and awareness of our sexuality and replacing it with violence, guns and video games-and we’re breeding little criminals.” (Source)

I also enjoy sex. I would gladly trade the gratuitous violence in movies for gratuitous sex. But I'm not entirely sure lack of sex ed is a leading cause of gang violence. Plus, this quote comes from a woman starring in a movie where she blows shit up with a rocket launcher. I don't know that she's in any position to be condemning violence in American society.

Here she is talking about the furor over Vanity Fair's all-white "Young Hollywood" cover:

“I feel like we can spend a lot of time bashing our beautiful country, but we don’t give it enough credit." ... The actress explained that though the magazine might not be the best representation of Hollywood, she’s hopeful the media will catch up with the reality of what constitutes the fabric of the country. “Our pace might be a little slow and it might not be on par to how we, as American civilians, would like it to be, but it is still an amazing country,” Zoe continued. “So, when I look at magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue, I know that it’s just a matter of time, the same way Obama took his time and he got to office and became President… it’s just a matter of time until magazines, the media, our art, our culture, our colloquial lifestyle, tags along to our today reality.” (Source)

Yeah, your guess is as good as mine. Here are her ideas about roles for women:

Zoe also credits Angelina [Jolie], Salma Hayek and Halle Berry for opening up more options to female actresses. "Before them, women were just sex pots or mothers. They were never the heroes who saved the day. They've enabled a generation of actresses to have a bigger variety of roles. If I wanted to be part of a story that is amazing and had a lot of sexual openness, that's fine. But I am so grateful to know that, like them, I can open different doors for women." (Source)

I guess she never saw Alien? Or, if we're talking about movies where women aren't "just sex pots or mothers," Heathers, The Manchurian Candidate, Arsenic and Old Lace, Notorious, and The Philadelphia Story? And that's just the ones in my DVD collection! I bet there are at least, like, ten more.

Let's close things out with the only Zoe quote that actually annoys me:

You're playing a black ops soldier in the adaptation of the graphic novel The Losers, out in April. Do you enjoy roles that require you to run around and shoot a gun?
"Like you wouldn't believe. It turns me on in a way that I shouldn't be saying. It's not the guns that turn me on, though--it's seeing women in a commanding position. It's boring to always play the victim. [In sobbing victim's voice] "Rape me! I'll have your child!" Eff that! Why don't you have my baby and wait at home while I go kill some motherfuckers? It's just very empowering. [Laughs.]"

I have a baby. Until I had a baby, I would have told you that I had no desire to "go kill some motherfuckers." Now, pedestrians who so much as look at me and my kid wrong are in danger of getting their heads ripped off. The idea that men = asskickers and women = victims and weaklings makes me want to punch someone. Possibly Zoe Saldana.


  1. I'm both confused and concerned about her putting "Rape me!" and "I'll have your child!" back to back. Um, what? I don't even know what to say to this.

    And if Zoe thinks that empowered female roles began with Angelina Jolie, she needs to take some crash-courses in both cinema as a whole and women's studies.

  2. Don't get me wrong, I love Zoe Saldana and I'm glad that she's gotten this far. But you're completely right, her quotes leave you thinking "Ummm . . . whaaaat?" She's not stupid, but she seems to have trouble getting her point across, and goes of on a different limb altogether.