Rashida Jones Stepping Away From Acting To Write & Create More Female-Led Comedies

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As if Ann Perkins and Leslie Knope weren’t your fave on-screen BFF’s (let’s be honest, there aren’t too many of these couples to choose from…). Well not only are the really great friends in real life, but they are also comedic dynamos in their own right, paving the way for the new generation of feminists everywhere.

Amy Poehler recently said she couldn’t understand any woman who doesn’t want to be a feminist, which makes sense. Which woman in their right mind doesn’t want equality and a choice? And last year Rashida Jones unashamedly went on a twitter tirade saying how sick to death she was of all the female popstars who feel they need to get their vaginas out and gyrate on stripper poles to get attention. Since that little ditty, she also signed a contract with Glamour Magazine to write a relationship column.

Aaaaand if that’s not enough for your Rashida Jones fix, she is leaving her show ‘Parks and Rec’ during season 6 so she can pursue other non-acting activities.

She told The Guardian that she is excited for this new phase in her career, and excited for the type of opportunities female comedians are getting these days. Opportunities that are being created by women like her, because they were so sick of the same stereotypes being perpetuated by Hollywood.

“I realized I was in this small space with all these super-talented women vying for one part in one movie, and it was always the shitty part in that year’s one good movie: someone’s wife, or someone’s shrew girlfriend. So that has definitely played a part in my decision to act a little less and create a little more, because I want to add more to that conversation about what it takes to be a woman.”

Rashida and her best friend, actor Will McCormack, are in the process of developing six TV shows, some drama and some comedy. THat is one of the main reasons for her leaving ‘Parks and Recreation’.

“We’re trying to inundate the market with women characters and create choices based on quality and not on stereotypes,” she says.

Sounds like she is in good company, with actor Will Ferrell also just announcing he is launching a female-led production company whose focus will be to create shows based around strong women.

Her friendship onscreen was intentional, she says, and it portrays something different than what girls are used to seeing in the media. It was a special relationship to both Amy Poehler and Rashida which was clearly born out of a personal desire to see female friendships thrive. Its the only way we can get ahead, if we work together and build each other up.

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One thing Rashida is adamant about, is not lowering her standards as a woman just to get noticed. And although she did get a lot of heat for her comments on twitter, her reasoning is pretty clear.

“I consider myself a feminist… There is a difference, a key one, between shaming and holding someone accountable.”

“I’m just asking people to take a breath and talk about it,” she tells me now. “I also wanted to say there’s more than one way to be a woman and be sexy – like, you’re a really great dancer, or you’re really fucking smart.”

The other thing she doesn’t like is feminists pretending to be pro-women, when in fact they do the same thing and tear each other down in another extreme way. When she first tweeted about “the pornification of pop culture” as she so aptly titled it, feminist blog Jezebel praised her. When she announced she will be writing a relationship column for Glamour magazine, they dissed her saying because she is single they don’t want a bar of it.

“To suggest that the way to be a feminist is to snark about other women is such a dangerous example to set.”

Fun fact about Rashida, her older sister Kidada was once engaged to Tupac Shakur. Yup! She is a true Hollywood child, without all the entitlement. She has never ridden on the coattails of her actress mother Peggy Lipton, or her music producer father Quincy Jones, who famously worked with Michael Jackson.

Instead she chose to go to Harvard University to study religion and philosophy, then started from the ground up to be where she is today as an actress. It has all led her on her own unique path, which she feels is now about being part of the revolution of female comedians taking over Hollywood. She wants to break down the stereotypes that have for too long been portraying women in such a one-dimensional light.

“I feel things are changing, and there are real female comedy stars now – and that’s exciting, isn’t it?”

Hooray for more women living outside the box and creating new opportunities for other women.

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