January Jones is a stone cold bitch. You know it, I know it and a whole slew of other people who've never actually met her know it, too. There is a slim chance that we might be conflating Jones with Mad Men's Betty Francis, but — hell — who has time to differentiate between actor and character when there's a pretty starlet to hate?
Even the New York Times can't be bothered to do that — just check out Ruth La Ferla's profile of the actress that they ran this weekend.
Titled "January Jones, Her Own Feminine Mystique," the article's headline is a tad misleading. They should have gone with something more fun and straightforward like "We Set Out to Make January Jones Look Like an Ice Monster and — Whuddya Know — We Did Just That." True enough, the piece seemed designed to reinforce the negative public opinion of Jones by driving home, time and time again, how frosty she seems. (Way to stay on top of it, NYT — Brooklyn is the new Manhattan, carrots are the hot new vegetable and January Jones is unlikable. Always on the forefront of breaking news.)
Here's La Ferla's opening sentence:
It isn’t easy to coax a smile out of January Jones.
Ooh, straight out of the gate, Jones — that asshole —isn't even smiling. Heaven forbid that a woman, especially one who exists in the public eye, doesn't have a huge fucking clown grin glued to her face at all times and isn't easily charmed by the cajoling of a journalist.
Naturally, with the lack of smiles comes the Betty comparisons:
What she offered instead was a credible impersonation of Betty Draper Francis, the sweet and sullen character she plays in “Mad Men,” the role that has turned her into an emblem of glamour as wintry as her name.
Indeed, viewers tend to ascribe to Ms. Jones the chilly detachment, questionable judgment and unsteady nerves that haunt and define Betty Francis. And Ms. Jones seems in no hurry to set them straight.
In person Ms. Jones did little to counter these impressions. She shook a reporter’s hand wanly. In conversation, she studiously averted her eyes.
We get it. She's cold. Now the real question: Who the fuck cares?
Imagine the massive boner a Times writer would have if they sat down with Jon Hamm only to find out that he was exactly like Don Draper. Instead of cold, he'd be called inscrutable and, while Jones was criticized for keeping certain elements of her personal life (like the father of her son) private, he'd be touted as enigmatic. After the first few interviews, it's doubtful that he'd ever have to be compared to his most famous character ever again — the similar traits would easily become a part of his brand and appeal.
Of course, that's just speculation. So far, Jon Hamm has demonstrated himself to be the exact opposite of Don Draper, but what about Vincent Kartheiser? The actor has behaved like a jerk in interviews time and time again (he spent a recent sit-down with Vulture literally flinging pieces of paper at his interviewer), but how often do you read articles that can be summed up as "Vincent Kartheiser is Pete Campbell"? How often does the New York Times write a profile of him that begins with "It isn't easy to wipe the smug grin off Vincent Kartheiser's face"?
To be fair, a huge part of being a celebrity is about playing a part, both onscreen and off. Jones should be able to have a charming sit down with a journalist and Kartheiser should be expected to act appropriately during a junket for his own show. Doing press is a huge part of why these actors are paid such massive salaries and they ought to do it well. Still, the expectation to be constantly likable and open is ridiculous and more ridiculous still is that it's an expectation that's mainly placed on women.
The fact is that Jones couldn't win in the New York Times interview. She's at once criticized for being too private and too open:
At 35, she is not much inclined to draw back curtains on a private life that seems by turns hermetic and crazily exposed.
Deliberately provocative, she has confided in interviews that after giving birth to her son, she ate his placenta.
La Ferla even goes as far as to criticize her for not liking her food ("Ms. Jones is inclined to question most everything, from the chicken fingers she is served at lunch ('not what I expected,' she remarked with a faint curl of her lip) to conventional child-rearing practices.") Again, can you imagine the excitement that would occur if Jon Hamm sent back a Manhattan for being too heavy on the vermouth?
It's more than possible that January Jones is a total bitch, but, you know what? That's fine. Being a bit of a dick isn't ideal, but there are way more offensive things that she could do so until it comes out that she punches her housekeeper or didn't tip the server who brought her those chicken fingers or that the real reason no Bobby Draper has lasted more than a season is because Jones actually eats them alive, then let the lady be.
Image via Getty.