This Week In Girl Geek: Tina Fey Makes Me Feel Sad

Posted at 5:00 AM Mar 19, 2010

By Kiala Kazebee

Tina Fey posed for Esquire and I can't stop looking at the pictures because A. I love them and 2. They make me feel a wee bit conflicted.

I recognize the importance of publicity, and I fucking celebrate the glory of a sexy, smart woman or vice versa or one or the other or whatever but Esquire is such a terrible entity, I hate the idea of Tina Fey being a part of that soul crushing machine. And even though she sort of addresses this issue, she also backs out of it with the slippery logic of a politician.

"The idea of the photo shoot is something like my wild night out. The irony being that I don't do that. I got an e-mail [from Esquire] with a list of the potential setups, and my e-mail back was like, Well, I need to decline being handcuffed to a bed. I won't straddle anyone. I won't make out with a cop. There are certain things, I totally get them as a premise. And they're all good fun, and if I were a young single model, they would be appropriate, but, you know, I'm a mom. And my kid's going to find this someday. I don't want to be handcuffed to a bed in Esquire. What are you nuts? I'm not going to make out with a cop that I'm handcuffed to. I got to get my kid into kindergarten. I guess that's more of a Montessori way of learning, when they handcuff you to things."
Funny and pithy and correct, right? But also, she "totally gets them as a premise" is a statement I don't believe and makes me sad in my sad heart place. There is nothing to "get" about objectifying and sexualizing another successful woman as a "premise" other than "degrading to everyone." And we all know Tina Fey is smart enough to know better. In fact, she goes on to say:

"What I've come to realize is that when people say, 'The thinking man's whatever' -- there's no such thing. The thinking man also wants to fuck Megan Fox."
I really don't want to get all up in arms about a silly photo shoot for a stupid magazine, but when someone I admire and look to for inspiration compromises on something I have a real problem with, it upsets me. Am I alone in this?



Ally said:

Yes, you are alone on this. If you go through life nitpicking and looking for every instance of backwards thought, you'll be stay that way.

RachelB said:

No, I have to agree with Kiala Doll on this one. There is something disappointing about Tina Fey basically apologizing for Esquire's sexism. "I totally get them as a premise," and then going on to explain why she couldn't be handcuffed to anything because she's a mom--it's like she's apologizing for being a poor sport for nothing allowing herself to be degraded in a national magazine.

Maybe it is nitpicky, but to say, "This is Esquire, what can you expect?" is another tired repeat of "boys will be boys" and someone of Tina Fey's stature and celebrity shouldn't have to play the apologist for mainstream sexism.

comicshopgrl said:

I think you might be overthinking this. How much did she really compromise? There's nothing suggestive about her picture. I think she was very sensible.

pmsrhino said:

I totally get you. I felt the same way when I found out that Carrie (sp?) Byron from Mythbusters posed for sexy pictures (no really, I was bummed for pretty much the entire day... I'm still not quite over it...). I was just like "WHY?! Does EVERY smart and awesome woman in this world have to be objectified for men?!" Even if the pictures aren't of her tied to a bed or making out with a cop she's in freakin' Esquire and is in a way endorsing the objectification of women even if she got to keep her clothes on. It may not be the worst thing in the world, but it does hurt to see someone you love and admire and look up to do something like that.

Andrea said:

I don't have much of a problem with the photos. Esquire generally is one of the higher brow men's rags, and having subscribed to it throughout my early 20's, I always felt it treated women with just a modicum more respect than others, not to mention featuring some of my favorite writers.

Tina's photos are funny and ridiculous, and I don't see much objectification in them. In fact, I think she's demonstrating that women can take photos that are funny and good and sexy without writhing on the floor in oil or stripping down to their panties. I actually wish the spread had appeared in Maxim or something, because then the cretins that read that business might actually have a chance to see photos of a women being herself rather than a sex object.

BorgQueen said:

Esquire has always been "ok we are a men's magazine so we have boobs in here but ladies can read it too because we celebrate beauty in all forms and also have good articles." I like their articles and I respect that they treat women with more respect than 99.99999% of men's magazine's out there *coughMaximcouch* So Tina Fey's choice of men's magazine to pose in, I have to respect that as well.

That being said, should I ever find myself hammered and puking in a bar/club/restaurant bathroom, I could only hope to be so lucky as to have Ms. Fey holding my hair back.

Merritt said:

I'm with Andrea on this one. I don't equate Esquire with rubbish like Maxim.

And, I could be wrong here, but I'm not sure she's glossing over any potential objectification with the "There are certain things, I totally get them as a premise" comment. I tend to think she was saying that as a comment specific to her Wild Night shoot. As if to say, "I get that there are things one could do on a wild night, but the irony is me having one at all, so I don't need to get handcuffed to show it."

As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. She may not have explained herself perfectly, but the important thing is she refused to take the questionable photos and she was forthcoming about it.

I'm trying to think of a smart and sexy guy that if put into the same shoot, we'd wonder if he was selling out. Jon Stewart? Michael Sheen (who's been popping up on 30 Rock of late)? Adam Savage from Mythbusters (sorry pmsrhino, you just made me think of him!)? Eddie Izzard?

Thing is, as smart and sexy women ourselves -- both of which, for me, are subjective terms depending on the day -- I think we'd totally geek out over similar photos of them. And if they had the same reaction as Fey, we'd applaud them for objecting to objectification and thus we'd find the images even more of a mental turn-on in addition to the usual kind.

Also, I just can't pin "sell-out" on a woman whose self-written character wears Dansko clogs. I've got some on right now and they're so nice and supportive. Not real sexy, mind you, but nice and supportive.

The Admiral said:

I hate to bring down the intellectual curve but that picture Kiala posted is hilarious.

Kiala said:

I think I should reiterate here my LOVE FOR THE PICTURES.

As I stated, I am conflicted about loving them and loving smart, sexy women and hating Esquire.

I'm working through my FEELING with you guys. In real time.

Because I am all new media and shit.

Merritt said:

In good time, sweet Kiala.

Oh, I thought you made it clear you loved on the photos. From what I understood, you have an issue with the sentiment that while Fey rejected some of the shoot ideas, she understands and accepts what Esquire was proposing, and feels that it's OK for younger, single-er women.

I love the photos, too, I just took her comment to mean something different. And in my comment above, I just wanted to point out that we might also love the photos of our favorite guy geeks, but rather than questioning their sentiments, we might simply be more turned on if they gave the same quotes.

Merritt said:

Just realized that should've said "In real good time..."

Rory said:

You don't really come across you're true new media, Kiala, other than being active on twitter. Could you explain to the true new media, how you justify yourself yourself as such? Or you know, whatever?

Sorry...but new media may have passed you by already, with your issues with conflicts and such.

Kiala said:

God. you really are the worst troll ever.


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