Winona Ryder is the coolest.
So is Heather Havrilesky (a.k.a one of the internet’s best advice columnists via ‘Ask Polly’), who interviewed her this week for New York Magazine‘s cover story.
Havrilesky talks to Ryder about what it’s like being the poster girl for ‘unstable’ women.
“I wish I could unknow this, but there is a perception of me that I’m supersensitive and fragile,” Ryder says.
“And I am supersensitive, and I don’t think that that’s a bad thing.”
Ryder has a lot of empathy for Joyce Byers, the character she plays in the increasingly hyped Netflix series Stranger Things.
A lot of attention has been given to Byers ‘anxiety’, and Ryder’s having none of it.
“I’m like, ‘Okay, wait a second, she’s struggling,’ ” she says.
“Two kids, deadbeat dad, working her ass off. Who wouldn’t be anxious? Even that word, anxious. It’s a bad word.”
Ryder explains to Havrilesky that by trying to normalise the emotional challenges so many women go through—taking on projects like Girl, Interrupted, talking honestly about her depression—she tied herself to a very limited public persona: the unstable girl, whom people were comfortable to shame for her vulnerability.
“I’ve realised recently it’s literally impossible to try to change that story,” she says.
“I’m so sick of people shaming women for being sensitive or vulnerable. It’s so bizarre to me.”
“I’ve always been super-private and protective of certain experiences and certain friends. I don’t regret opening up about what I went through [with depression], because, it sounds really cliché, but I have had women come up to me and say, ‘It meant so much to me.’ It means so much when you realize that someone was having a really hard time and feeling shame and was trying to hide this whole thing … And even the whole, like, sensitive, fragile thing. I do have those qualities, and I just don’t think there’s anything wrong with them. There were times when I let it feel too overwhelming and almost, like, shamed, but I had to just get over that.” Read #HeatherHavrilesky’s interview with #WinonaRyder at the link in our bio. ????: @normanjeanroy A photo posted by New York Magazine (@nymag) on
And it’s exactly this fragility—and openness—that’s always made Ryder so important to us.
“I’ve always been super-private and protective of certain experiences,” she says, and you know it’s true. (Havrilesky writes that she seems to spend “a lot of time in her own head”.)
But she’s always been happy to share what’s going on inside it, even at her own expense. “It sounds really cliché, but I have had women come up to me and say, ‘It meant so much to me,’” Ryder says.
“It means so much when you realise that someone was having a really hard time and feeling shame and was trying to hide this whole thing …”
A photo posted by New York Magazine (@nymag) on
As Havrilesky points out, Ryder’s ability to bare herself and do her own thing “[gave] shape to all the strengths and flaws of an entire generation… well before most high-school kids understood that they had fashion choices beyond bright-coloured clothing and hair permed to look like Jennifer Grey’s in Dirty Dancing“.
Once, she was “America’s original Manic Pixie Dream Girl”, giving us all permission to have feelings and wear whatever we wanted.
Now, Winona Ryder has “grown into a comfortably complicated adult”, who’s still giving us permission to have feelings, and wear whatever we want.
#winonaryder #icon A photo posted by Norman Jean Roy (@normanjeanroy) on
Featured image: Universal Studios
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