Zooey Deschanel has a thing or two to say about internet haters. “Even I get slammed and overwhelmed by how negative the Internet can get, and I’m an adult. I don’t pay any mind to it,” she says in an interview with Marie Claire, “but it’s pretty shocking how when you give people anonymity – it’s like the worst of human nature.”
In 2011 Zooey tweeted “I wish everyone looked like a kitten,” as an experiment. She was new to Twitter, and found that when she tweeted about cute things, she got a bigger response from her Twitter followers. After the tweet Zooey says “A lot of people were like, ‘What the f**k! Who said that? How stupid you are.’” Comedian Julie Klausner went after Zooey about the tweet, with her thesis that Zooey’s girly, feminine image wasn’t good for women.
“My theory is that people in this day and age want to dismiss things. So they want to be able to dismiss you,” Zooey says. “They say, ‘You don’t belong, you don’t deserve this because here’s why, and let me find an intellectual argument for why you wearing pink or cuff sleeves or a bow makes you not worthy of your accomplishments. Everything you’ve done doesn’t matter because you wore the wrong thing or you speak in a way that’s feminine or you identify yourself as feminine.’ And I just think that’s bullsh!t. And smart people are doing it, and that’s surprising to me. I’ll give them being smart, but they’re being very shortsighted.
“It’s just attacking who I am. A lot of times it doesn’t have to do with what I get paid to do,” she continues. “It has to do with, ‘Oh, you stupid person.’”
Zooey co-created the website hellogiggles.com with Sophia Rossi and Molly McAleer in part to help combat some of the negativity on the internet.
“I just felt it’s important to teach young girls to be strong people, to not think, I can’t do this because I’m worried about what people will say. There are worse consequences, but online negativity stops people from being creative, part of which is having bad ideas as well as good ideas. When somebody says, ‘That idea’s stupid,’ you stop your flow of ideas. We can’t have the next generation be so afraid because they have been attacked.”
What do you think about all the negativity on the internet? Can anything be done about it? Should we always be nice?
P.S. Maybe everyone should look like a kitten.