Too much Kirsten Dunst is bad for one’s dreams. We blame the one-two punch of taking in both Spider-Man 3 (thumbs down, by the way) and the May issue of Jane on the same evening. Combine that with the news that the magazine will soon be the subject of a reality show, and we conjured a rather vivid dream about the Jane TV show last night. Which would be weird enough, except that in our dream, Brandon Holley was played by Kirsten Dunst.
Despite our subconscious fixation with Kiki, it wasn’t her joint interview with Spider-Man co-star Bryce Dallas Howard—“Even Kirsten & Bryce Have Quarterlife Crises”? Excuse us for not feeling terribly sympathetic— or even the vaguely creepy collage of disembodied breasts on page 125 that stuck with us after a night’s sleep. Rather, it was “30 Under 30,” which features
Thirty inspirational women. (Okay, it’s really 31, but that’s not as snappy.) We didn’t have room for all 57 million.
Aw, shamelessly flattering the readers. Never a good sign. (And we’re exempt, anyway—not only are we too old to awe Jane, but Brandon Holley thinks we’re “mean.” Sniff.)
Anyway, since our idea of an interesting woman differs so markedly from Jane’s, we wanted to take a closer look at their honorees. And while there are some truly accomplished women on the list (did you know that someone could be a molecular biologist and a comic book artist at the same time? What have we been doing with our life?), there are also some typically dubious choices.
• Four actresses (Amanda Seyfried, Anna Paquin, Kristen Stewart, and Jessica Rose) and three singer/actresses (Ciara, Hilary Duff, and Lea Michele) make the list. Hilary Duff, “inspirational”? Only in that her music inspires us to stab a letter opener into our eardrums, but we’re pretty sure that’s not what they mean. The piece’s intro cites a sushi chef, a student activist, and a political adviser, yet actress and singer/actress are the only two occupations represented several times over.
Also, the demographics of the list were interesting:
• Eight women—about a quarter of the list—live in New York. Another six live in Los Angeles.
• The average age of the listees is 20, thanks in part to the two 17-year-olds who made the list: actress Kristen Stewart and “Internet it girl” Cory Kennedy. (And the fact that Cory Kennedy is deemed “inspirational” is indicative of how credible this list is. She’s the absolute epitome of being famous for, well, being famous.)
• Six of the women—three actresses, Ciara, Duff, and Broadway performer Michele—were dressed by the magazine for the shoot. The others are, presumably, wearing their own clothes. Nothing’s more inspirational than a woman dressed by a stylist!
We know it’s impossible to craft a list that will please everyone, and that no magazine would put, say, the first African-American polka dance champ (page 106) on its cover. But Anna Paquin, who comes across as mature and level-headed, could take the cover.
We’ll give Jane points for trying, but next time around, how about a list comprised entirely of non-famous women? What about an in-depth exploration of their lives and issues instead of a handful of not-too-enlightening quips? We’d love to hear the bodybuilder and the ballet dancer’s thoughts on skinny models. Or why not let the transgender student and the carpentry foreman discuss gender roles?
Instead, we get Stewart bemoaning how restricted she feels by being 17 (!), Ciara breathlessly awaiting her “prince,” and Duff spouting banalities about being famous allows her to be an inspiration to other women. Give us a break, okay? Were these the best quotes their publicists could come up with? It’s great that Duff is learning to cook, but, somehow, the idea of a wealthy 19-year-old cooking her own dinner doesn’t exactly inspire us to lead a better life.