Who is Miranda July? A better question would be: Who isn’t Miranda July? July is a filmmaker who wrote and directed the quirky 2005 romcom Me and You and Everyone We Know and the 2011 film The Future. She’s an actress who stars in her own movies. She’s recorded two experimental spoken word albums. She’s a performance artist who once created an interactive sculpture garden, which you really have to see to understand. And now she’s written “the first great novel of 2015,” according to the AV Club.
July’s debut novel The First Bad Man is just as beautifully weird as she is. Like July herself, it’s impossible to summarize the book in a sentence, but here’s an attempt: The First Bad Man is about what happens to a woman named Cheryl (who’s a bit neurotic) when she suddenly becomes roommates with her bosses’ 21-year-old daughter. It’s hard to say any more than that. So far, the book is getting rave reviews, and to celebrate the release of July’s novel, here are just three reasons why she inspires us.
1. She aced the “Are you a feminist?” question.
We’re used to being disappointed when celebrities respond to questions about the F-word, especially when they actually are feminists, but they just don’t like the word. When Bust asked July if she was a feminist, she put all of the confusion surrounding the term to rest:
“Whenever I see people have a long answer to that question, I’m just like, ‘What’s confusing about that?’ It’s just being pro- your ability to do what you need to do. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your boyfriend or whatever. . . When I say ‘feminist,’ I mean that in the most complex, interesting, exciting way!”
Thanks, Miranda July, for this amazing definition of feminism: it’s about women getting stuff done.
2. She gets creative with technology.
It’s hard to be social in public when we’re all still busy climbing to the top of the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood social ladder (No? Just me?). But last year, July made an app that turned our phones into opportunities to share heartfelt moments in public. Her 2014 iPhone project, Somebody, lets you send a message to any friend with the Somebody app through any stranger near your friend who also has the Somebody app. In other words, if you want to tell your friend that you miss her, you can find a reliable stranger near her on a map, send your message to that stranger, and then that stranger will deliver your message on your behalf in person. You can also take your own turn at being the messenger. It’s just like texting except you basically get to turn strangers into carrier pigeons and be one yourself.
3. She made the most amazing purse of all time.
Last year, Miranda July collaborated with the Welcome Companions design project to make a purse so fantastic it almost feels worth the intimidating $1,500 price tag. The limited edition of her rectangular pink-and-red bag comes full of items inspired by those found in July’s own purse. There’s a miniature nightie for sexy emergencies, spare bobby pins, some almonds, a picture of someone else’s baby (to protect her own baby’s privacy) and—the real gem—a set of Miranda July’s Multi-Purpose cards to hand out to people in public. These cards say things like: “Let’s be honest, the conversation we are having right now is not that interesting for either of us. I suggest we shake hands and go find other people to talk to” and “I just handed you this card. Now you are reading it. Also, I love you. If you love me too, rip this up, throw the pieces on the floor, spit on them, stomp on them and then walk out of the room like you’re furious. I’ll come running after you and we can kiss.”
Miranda July, we love you. Stay weird.