Monday, March 8, 2010

Media Moment: Tina Fey

I had a thought recently about how often we talk about the media and how it portrays women or how it tells us this or that about how or what we should be. It seems a little unfair to make such a huge generalization when there are people out there in the media that are showing us how to be strong, smart AND pretty and telling us that, not only is it okay, it's better.

So I thought and thought about how to approach this topic and, while trying to make a list of movies, TV shows, actresses, books, etc. that exemplify what I'm getting at, I found Tina Fey.

I kind of have a little crush on Tina Fey. I don't think I'm alone least I hope I'm not alone here. It's more like I have respect for her and what she does. She's successful and funny and a hard-working mother. She's pretty, but in a normal person kind of way.

Tina Fey recently did a cover and article for Vogue. She talks a lot about fashion (because it's Vogue), but it's refreshingly normal and down-to-earth. She's not one of those supermodels who talk about how awkward and ugly they were when they were young - you don't want to groan and roll your eyes and refuse sympathy. She is incredibly easy to relate to because she is a normal woman. They even talk about her normalcy throughout the article - growing up with hand-me-downs, being curvy, being a mother. Instead of rambling on more (and further embarrassing myself with my newly confessed girl crush), here are a few quotes from the article:

A friend of [the interviewer's] recently said this: "Her existence is such a relief." By which she meant that women of a certain age who are cool, funny, and smart but who are by no means fabulous—who are in fact befuddled by much of what passes for fabulous these days—are relieved to see Fey celebrated as such. When I share this with Fey, she says in the most sincere tone imaginable, "That is such a lovely thing to say." She thinks it over for only a second. "I feel like I represent normalcy in some way. What are your choices today in entertainment? People either represent youth, power, or sexuality. And then there's me, carrying normalcy." Pause. "Me and Rachael Ray."

Tom Broecker (costume designer for SNL and 30 Rock) says, "She has subtly changed what women look like on a weird level: the acceptance of the dark-haired girl, the acceptance of the sexy librarian, the girl with the glasses who's smart but can be pretty."

And, funny enough, she talks about fashion magazines and their skinny campaign:

"People will say, 'Oh, fashion magazines are so bad, they're giving girls a negative message'—but we're also the fattest country in the world, so it's not like we're all looking at fashion magazines and not eating. Maybe it just starts a shame cycle: I'm never going to look like that model, so…Chicken McNuggets it is! And conversely, I don't look at models who are crazy skinny and think I want to look like that, because a lot of them are gigantic, with giant hands and feet. Also, my dad is an artist—a painter by hobby—and I constantly would see realistic nudes. Because we were raised around art and went to museums and the women I grew up around were curvy…there wasn't this value on skinny, skinny, skinny. Curvy was clearly meant to be the winner. I go up and down a few pounds with a relative amount of kindness to myself. And I have a daughter, and I don't want her to waste her time on all of that."


Miri said...

Oh, how I love Tina Fey. I don't think I would say that it's unfair to make that generalization, because it is largely true; we love people like Tina Fey because they are the exceptions. But you are absolutely right that these wonderful examples are out there, and they are the ones we should be focusing our attention on. I like how she includes Rachael Ray, too, because Rachael's whole appeal is that she cooks things that normal people can cook in their normal kitchens on a busy weeknight. It's really nice to have people in the media who aren't totally unreachable, and the only sad thing is that there are so few of them.

Krilafis said...
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