I finished Bossypants during Hurricane Irene a few weeks back, but because of the power outages and a bunch of da-ra-ma with URI, I wasn’t able to get around to reviewing it til now. Plus, it’s non-fiction, and we all know how much trouble I had with the Princess Diana review. Zoinks.

It’s a quick read, and subtly hilarious – there were a few LOL moments, but for the most part I just read it with a smile. It’s pretty much everything I would want in a book written by a comedian, plus a lot of what I would want from a female-camaraderie book. Basically, it’s Tina Fey’s account of her surprisingly normal childhood, awkward adolescence, and relatively seamless transition into the life of a highly successful New York comedienne and nationally beloved celebrity. From what I’ve seen, most people who make a living by telling jokes tend to come from pretty awful situations, and it usually starts out as a coping method. Somehow, Tina Fey manages to be just as funny as the funniest, and way funnier than most, while also highly functional, well-adjusted, and happy. Neurotic? Maybe, yeah. But happy.

I found myself connecting with her much more than I had anticipated (the whole late bloomer thing, her penchant for GBF’s…), and I was really pleased to discover how closely aligned our thoughts are regarding the social pressures which women face in the pursuit of beauty. The following is Tina Fey’s list of what a woman is, by the media’s standards, supposed to possess:

1. Caucasian blue eyes
2. Full Spanish lips
3. A classic button nose
4. A Jamaican dance hall ass
5. Hairless Asian skin with a California tan
6. Long Swedish legs
7. Small Japanese feet
8. The abs of a lesbian gym owner
9. The hips of a nine-year-old boy
10. The arms of Michelle Obama
11. Doll tits

And this is an excerpt from an entry I wrote (but never posted) about feminism* ages ago, saying basically the same thing:

What am I supposed to look like? I’m supposed to be tall and willowy as a supermodel but with tiny feet and I have to be simultaneously short enough to not detract attention away from men, double D breasts and an ass like the one Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez’s biologically impossible love-child would have, but I’m supposed to fit into size 00 jeans. I’m supposed to have lots of blond hair that lays flat even the highest humidity but holds a curl like there’s no tomorrow but all on my head ONLY, big blue eyes, fully and pouty lips, perfect teeth, a button nose from the front but “elegant” looking from the side, invisible ears, and a strong yet feminine jawline.

*Prepare yourselves for a fuller and stormier piece on sexism, feminism, and more – it’s on the horizon (and by that, I mean saved as a draft).


2 thoughts on “Bossypants

  1. Excellent book.

    Another detail I found interesting – at the time she had written it, she did not have her driver’s license, which, in all likelihood, probably means she STILL doesn’t have her driver’s license. The fact that one wins an Emmy, publishes a book, and writes one of the most beloved comedy movies of the past decade, and yet still doesn’t know if the brake pedal is on the left or right side, is pretty fucking fantastic to me.

    I also liked when she briefly acknowledges Christopher Hitchens’ ridiculous theory about women in comedy. The book is unapologetic about being written primarily for a female audience, and its humor still carries over to a wider readership (I thought it was hilarious).

    • I totally agree – though reluctantly, because your comments are better than mine! 🙂

      Also, I’m glad you brought up the Hitchens argument, cause I’ve been meaning to ask if it was you (or Ryan…?) who brought it to my attention a few years ago? I remember reading the article, and I vaguely placed it happening in the Julie suite.

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