Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Great job, New Yorker: Read this painfully apt “profile” of a hot actress

The New Yorker 90th Anniversary Special Edition cover (Art: Christoph Niemann)
The New Yorker 90th Anniversary Special Edition cover (Art: Christoph Niemann)

We here at The A.V. Club obviously aren’t the only ones who took note of Vanity Fair’s hilariously bad, maddeningly sexist profile of Margot Robbie. While we called on writers to stop jizzing all over journalism, Rachel Axler at The New Yorker mocks Rich Cohen’s bizarre syntax and objectifying tone with her own profile of a new Hollywood it-girl, “Jane Neighbor.” It brilliantly sends up the noxious breed of writing that reduces talented women to sex objects through a heavy male gaze:

Neighbor is 28 and 22, at once. She is a kind of gorgeous that can only be found in or very near rivers. She is blonde but also blond, depending on the spelling. She is tall when she is on a ladder, and medium-­tall when she is halfway up the ladder. Her eyelashes spell “glory.” Her naked hands can open wet jars, with just the strength of her slender fingers. She can be sexy and pointy and things that aren’t even adjectives, like glossary, or aren’t even words, like hilabrion. Her voice sounds like a truck full of rain.

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Axler captures the gross way women are often written about in media while latching on to the specifically weird ways Cohen writes about Robbie, including the bizarre exoticism with which he writes about her Australian nationality, his tendency to make up words, and the fact that he didn’t seem to take notes during his interview.

Head over to Vanity Fair to read the original, if you can get through it without vomit obscuring your computer screen. Wipe it off to appreciate Axler’s fine prose in The New Yorker and consider the dismal truth that the first sentence isn’t that far-fetched of a way to open a profile of a woman.

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