Friday Hoyden: belated and generalised

Sorry, all you hoyden fans – Lauredhel and I are just so absorbed with the election nerves that we haven’t been keeping on task and keeping up to date with our Friday Hoydens.

We were having a little IM chat about it, and it veered around to a question about (harrumph) the young’uns of today, specifically the Hollywood young’uns of today, given that we have featured quite a few older actresses celebrated for a life of hoydenism. Today’s gels of the celluloid screen seem far more focused on hedonism, and while that has its delightful place, it doesn’t bring a smile to my face the same way that a hoydenish exploit does.

Obviously, these actresses do on occasion portray hoydens on screen, but as Sarah Michelle Gellar’s post-Buffy career choices have shown, that’s not necessarily who they are deep down inside. Cameron Diaz, who doesn’t let the possiblity of busting a nose or an arm deter her from surfing or skiing, seems to be a genuine hoyden, as does Julia Roberts who refused to shave her armpits or legs unless she was actually filming, but neither of these two is usually cast as a hoyden, and even when they’re kicking butt on screen it’s not particularly boisterous fun: it’s serious business.

So where are today’s Katherine Hepburns? I had been going to mention Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds and Sally Field there, but on second thought I don’t think they really qualify – they’ve all played memorable hoydens, but are they hoydens in their personal life? I can’t really see the pious Doris, the workaholic Debbie or the insecure Sally as carefree enough, despite their famous boisterous moments.

Your thoughts?



Categories: arts & entertainment, culture wars, Sociology

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6 replies

  1. That’s an interesting question. One of the problems with answering it is that one of the hallmarks of hoydenism is flouting convention, and there is little convention left to flout.
    Let me think.

  2. Hmm. Kate Winslet has Hollywood/celebrity conventions throughout her career, notably by protesting when her body was retouched on a magazine cover. Maggie Gyllenhaal turns up to interviews without makeup and breast feeds. Whether Maggie has played a hoyden, though, I don’t know. As for Kate – Clementine in “Eternal Sunshine” is hoydenish. But I don’t see either of them as quite having the gleeful cheekiness I associate with a hoyden (at least in their public image).
    Jamie Lee Curtis comes to mind as well, though she’s not a young’un.

  3. Actually, have just recalled Kate’s turn in “Extras”, and that’s pretty convincing evidence of gleeful cheekiness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bJNSTNLpZk

  4. You’re quite right about Kate Winslet – I’d overlooked her! Yes, a strong streak of true Hoyden there, ably mentored by Emma Thompson back in the days of Sense and Sensibility. Emma is also a Hoyden methinks – one of the reasons her straitlaced characters work so well is, as with Helen Mirren, the sense of the cheekiness within being restrained.
    I’m finding it hard to think of a celluloid celebrity Hoyden under 30 though. Keira Knightley obviously had hoydenitude in bucketsful when she made Bend it like Beckham, and she still plays with that onscreen, but she seems to be trying to leave it behind her offscreen.
    Gyllenhaal is one L and I thought of when we were IMing – her unapologetic public breastfeeding is fantastic, but I don’t know that much more about her.

  5. Yes, Keira Knightly’s unhoydenish offscreen turn has been disappointing. It does seem like hoydenism is a 30+ activity in Hollywood, which is a shame. The only under-30 I can think of as a possible prospect is Julia Stiles – mostly based on “10 Things I Hate About You” and a few interviews I’ve read.

  6. Kate Winslet is starring in a movie about a bona fide hoyden called Mabel Stark. Mabel was a circus tiger tamer. The movie is based on a fictionalised memoir which, though not a particularly great book, has two fantastic (genuine) photos of the most hoydenish behaviour. In the first photo a tiger is seen mid-leap apparently about to take down Stark and in the second the two are on the ground and Stark is looking over her shoulder at the camera, her eyes lit with unmistakable mirth. The ‘attack’ was part of her circus routine. I wish I could find the photos on the net, they are delightful!

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