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“How do you juggle it all?”
February 14, 2011 10:31 PM   Subscribe

"I have a suspicion - and hear me out, because this is a rough one - that the definition of “crazy” in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore." Writer/producer/actor Tina Fey on working motherhood, the show business industry, and the worst question you can ask a woman.
posted by availablelight (122 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
The original source is New Yorker. Is the re-posting legal?
posted by vidur at 10:38 PM on February 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ack. Good question.
posted by availablelight at 10:39 PM on February 14, 2011


Great article though.
posted by Artw at 10:44 PM on February 14, 2011


I love Tina Fey, but that was kind of wearying.
posted by EmGeeJay at 10:44 PM on February 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


The original is mostly subscriber-only content. I'm pretty sure this is something that shouldn't be posted here.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:45 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh well, I'm glad I read it while it was up. She's definitely a laugh-not-cry sort, huh?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:46 PM on February 14, 2011


Tina Fey is great! Fanks for posting this!
posted by clavdivs at 10:49 PM on February 14, 2011


Hey, wonderful article! Ball of fingers, ha.
posted by painquale at 10:53 PM on February 14, 2011


"Little kids’ birthdays in my neighborhood were simple affairs. Hot dogs, Hawaiian Punch, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, followed by cake and light vomiting. (Wieners, punch, and spinning into barfing would later be referred to as “the Paris Hilton.”)"
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:54 PM on February 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are you a woman, with children? Then you are Doing It All Wrong, as everyone is eager to tell you - men, women, old people, young people, parents, childless, childfree, dead - everyone has strongly-held beliefs about how you should raise your children, and be in no doubt that you will be Wrong Wrong Wrong.

Honestly, I'm not even a mother or father, and I can't imagine how you parents, women especially, put up with all that preaching and finger-wagging. Oh, and this:

My parents raised me never to ask people about their reproductive plans. “You don’t know their situation,” my mom would say.
posted by alasdair at 11:24 PM on February 14, 2011 [19 favorites]


Another rich Manhattan socialite complains that she can't have it all. Boo fucking hoo.

I like Tina Fey, so I'll disregard this tired mommy wars crap and keep on enjoying 30 Rock.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:32 PM on February 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I can't be certain, but I get the impression that there are a lot of people who might still wanna.....
posted by nightchrome at 11:43 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was just about to ask exactly what kind of bait one uses to lure Tina Fey to write a guest post on one's Tumblr.
posted by bicyclefish at 11:48 PM on February 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Another rich Manhattan socialite complains that she can't have it all. Boo fucking hoo.

Ah, apparently being rich means you don't deserve common courtesy.

I can't be certain, but I get the impression that there are a lot of people who might still wanna.....

Not exactly her point.
posted by kmz at 11:48 PM on February 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Another rich Manhattan socialite complains that she can't have it all. Boo fucking hoo.

I think you missed the main thrust of what she was saying . . .
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:57 PM on February 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Proving that neurotic, self-absorbed women can still have it all...
posted by londonmark at 12:14 AM on February 15, 2011


I think you missed the main thrust of what she was saying

No, not really. The part about how it's hard for a woman over 40 to make it in Hollywood? Okay, I get that. Nothing new really (people like to see attractive people in movies) but yeah, it sucks.

The part about how she wants to have a second kid, but is afraid that she only wants it because it would be a status symbol? TINA FEY, STOP MAKING ME HATE YOU.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:17 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


The part about how she wants to have a second kid, but is afraid that she only wants it because it would be a status symbol? TINA FEY, STOP MAKING ME HATE YOU.

When I was little, my mom was constantly asked why she'd only had me or when she was going to have another, and she used to admit she felt guilty about it but then realized the guilt was only because she'd been brought up to believe that success in life for a woman included multiple kids. Not because she really wanted them or was afraid she was depriving me of a sibling. This was in rural Oklahoma. She was a secretary then, and my dad was a machinist. We ate beans and cornbread pretty much every day. So, just because Tina Fey's a famous actor in Manhattan doesn't make her concerns about parenthood any more shallow than anyone else's.
posted by katillathehun at 12:33 AM on February 15, 2011 [35 favorites]


To hell with everybody! Maybe I’ll just wait until I’m fifty and give birth to a ball of fingers! “Merry Christmas from Tina, Jeff, Alice, and Ball of Fingers,” the card will say. (“Happy Holidays” on the ones I send to my agents.)

I love this woman.
posted by heathkit at 12:33 AM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Am I right in inferring that she only gets work because she believes people "want to fuck her?" I know it is dangerous to point this out around here, but I kind of thought it was because she was fucking hilarious and I really thought she believed that too.
posted by hellslinger at 12:48 AM on February 15, 2011


Am I right in inferring that she only gets work because she believes people "want to fuck her?"

I think she thinks it's necessary, but not sufficient.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:53 AM on February 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think a lot of you are trying to read what is essentially a humor piece as if it were a philosophical treatise or a sociological study.

When she writes something outrageous, it's because she's making joke.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:56 AM on February 15, 2011 [20 favorites]


A good and rather funny article, though it could have done without the Greek digression near the end. Easy to relate to some of the issues she raises, even though I'm not female, rich or famous—or a parent. Scratching my head at some of the angry-negative responses here, really can't see where they spring from, if not from utterly twisted wiring of the brain. Haters gonna hate.
posted by lifeless at 1:16 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I think a lot of you are trying to read what is essentially a humor piece as if it were a philosophical treatise or a sociological study.

When she writes something outrageous, it's because she's making joke.


Fair enough. But she could have been more concise. Seems like a first draft to me.
posted by sharpener at 1:38 AM on February 15, 2011


Another rich Manhattan socialite complains that she can't have it all. Boo fucking hoo.

Tina Fey is by no means a socialite.
posted by atrazine at 1:51 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


but is afraid that she only wants it because it would be a status symbol

It seemed to me like that's got nothing to do with her point. She seemed to be saying that her last remaining viable/safe years of childbearing happen to be coinciding with her last few years of commercial viability in her chosen craft. As she says, after 40, childbearing can be more difficult, more dangerous, and yet, after 40, as a woman in showbiz, her career prospects will likely take a nosedive.

She also mentions that, were she to decide to have another child, it would mean that she would likely need to step away from 30 Rock, which could then negatively affect the livelihood of many of the cast and crew (nearly 200, as she says) on the show. Having a baby as a status symbol seems to be the last thing on her mind.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:31 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


oh great another groundbreaking genius run down by the misogynistic system she has artfully mastered realizes the fundamental incompatibility of world-straddling creativity and common happiness? Boo fucking hoo. Boo. Fucking. Hoo.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:47 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Another rich Manhattan socialite complains that she can't have it all. Boo fucking hoo.

I'm not sure that's her point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:06 AM on February 15, 2011


PeterMcDermott : I think she thinks it's necessary, but not sufficient.

That seems like a no-brainer... Too many people in the world; Given a choice between two equally-funny and smart comediennes, one hot and one with a face for radio, which one do you think gets the jobs? (and spare me the cries of misogyny - That applies just as much to guys, we exist as a painfully superficial species.)

However, having established herself as clever and witty while still attractive, she can probably maintain her career by shifting into new roles once her looks fade.
posted by pla at 3:25 AM on February 15, 2011


I enojoyed reading it. And her realization at the end is something I need to remind myself of sometimes.

"Everything will be fine” was a possibility that had not occurred to me.
posted by sambosambo at 3:30 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great article (even if it was stolen from the New Yorker); too bad about a few of the comments here but it just goes to prove her point, really.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 3:31 AM on February 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


Rich Manhattan socialite? Tina Fey? What?

Loved her point about women being characterised as crazy after a certain age. I remember a friend of mine saying 'all mums are mad aren't they?'. Um....
posted by Summer at 3:40 AM on February 15, 2011


Scratching my head at some of the angry-negative responses here, really can't see where they spring from.

Pretty much inevitable - Mefites at excell at finding smart ways to be uterly dense.

I'm suprised nobody has accused her of being white yet.
posted by Artw at 3:44 AM on February 15, 2011 [23 favorites]


Scratching my head at some of the angry-negative responses here, really can't see where they spring from.

There doesn't seem to be a subject that Mefites can't be shitty about.
posted by octothorpe at 3:58 AM on February 15, 2011 [18 favorites]


That applies just as much to guys, we exist as a painfully superficial species.

That almost explains where Dane Cook came from, but how does that explain Carlos Mencia or Jay Leno?

TV is painfully unfair to women. "Ugly" is still defined as stunningly gorgeous America Ferrera in glasses, braces, and weird clothes*. The female equivalent of Scott Adsit or Ray Romano would never, ever make it in television.

*Funny enough, Judah Friedlander's just like this on 30Rock, but that's an exception that proves the rule.
posted by explosion at 4:07 AM on February 15, 2011 [18 favorites]


I never liked Tina Fey before. Now I do. What a well-done piece. She doesn't answer any questions. But she lays out the problems in a clear and thoughtful way. She's not asking for our pity, and may simply be asking us to admire her becuase she does have it all: talent, looks, career, family and a rich inner life. But -- as in most other of her endeavors -- she succeeds here. Dang it.
posted by Faze at 4:09 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are you a woman, with children? Then you are Doing It All Wrong, as everyone is eager to tell you - men, women, old people, young people, parents, childless, childfree, dead - everyone has strongly-held beliefs about how you should raise your children, and be in no doubt that you will be Wrong Wrong Wrong.

Ironically, you just told fathers to butt out of raising their kids.
posted by DU at 4:27 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It seems one of the main questions being posed here can apply to almost anyone--as you hit middle age, do you dig into your career and try to leave your field better for those who will follow you? Or do you cash in your chips and settle into family life? And is it possible to balance those things? Doesn't seem like such a "rich socialite" problem to me.

The particulars of her situation may be unique to her because, yeah, she's on TV and she's famous, but her situation isn't all that particular. BUT that doesn't mean it doesn't need to be addressed. Misogyny in the workplace--any workplace--needs to be talked about. Anachronistic attitudes toward women and their "reproductive plan" need to be talked about. If you're willing to discount the person doing the talking just because you've seen them in prime time, I'm afraid you may be part of the problem.
posted by Maaik at 4:28 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ironically, you just told fathers to butt out of raising their kids.

She really didn't.
posted by Maaik at 4:29 AM on February 15, 2011 [22 favorites]


It seems one of the main questions being posed here can apply to almost anyone--as you hit middle age, do you dig into your career and try to leave your field better for those who will follow you? Or do you cash in your chips and settle into family life? And is it possible to balance those things? Doesn't seem like such a "rich socialite" problem to me.

That's definitely what I took away from it. I really like Tina Fey and I found this quite a sad and sobering piece, in a "if even she can't work it out, what hope is there for the rest of us"? way.

I'm 32, and starting to think about maybe starting a family, but it couldn't be Q2 next year, or Q3 the year after because there's tons of important work to do, and on it goes until you don't get to make the decision any more.
posted by wingless_angel at 4:37 AM on February 15, 2011


What is a socialite, anyway? Is that someone who believes the government should enforce high taxation rates in order to pool resources for the mutual benefit of all citizens and take an active role in infrastructure development and maintenance?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:02 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


When people ask why did we only have one child I say, "So if my daughter dies I can kill myself" It's more fun than "none of your fucking business" although less lucrative than writing articles for the New Yorker.

I like Tina Fey and agree that Hollywood is horribly misogynistic and there are not enough roles for "older" women, but the thing about being a rich and powerful woman, is that you are a rich and powerful woman.
posted by fullerine at 5:06 AM on February 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


That used to be one of the good things about telly in the UK - we had some right ugly buggers (only by ridiculous celeb standards I mean, otherwise perfectly fine-looking folk) who could get screentime as they had the talent, though the tendency to prefer the stereotypically easy-on-the-eye was doubtless always there and seems to be dominating even more than I recall. So that's my chances of a soap acting career up the spout.
posted by Abiezer at 5:09 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of you are trying to read what is essentially a humor piece as if it were a philosophical treatise or a sociological study.

That is classic MetaFilter. People try hard to be more obtuse than the person before them.
posted by chunking express at 5:20 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Abiezer - I think that's certainly true when it comes to female presenters/news readers. You still get a lot of weird looking women in comedy, but they're tolerated as long as the jokes are based around their fatness/ungainliness/age.
posted by Summer at 5:31 AM on February 15, 2011


I'd like to remind Tina that no matter what happens in the next few years, my desire to have sex with her will not recede. I should make sure to tell her that. Perhaps if I showed up at her door at 4am, she would have less trouble sleeping. I'll need to make sure to get that "I Love You Tina" phrase tattooed onto my face, first.
posted by thanotopsis at 5:35 AM on February 15, 2011


The part about how she wants to have a second kid, but is afraid that she only wants it because it would be a status symbol? TINA FEY, STOP MAKING ME HATE YOU.

Wow. Satire, meet Afroblanco. Afroblanco, meet Satire.
posted by aught at 5:36 AM on February 15, 2011


Wow, so many you people are just complete assholes.
posted by oddman at 5:45 AM on February 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


So are there a lot of fields where your prospects don't wane as you get older, and fields where you don't have to balance out work and life?

Tina Fey is awesome (and, yes, pretty), but this seems like an ordinary concern -- very much not a B.F.H. thing.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:46 AM on February 15, 2011


but the thing about being a rich and powerful woman, is that you are a rich and powerful woman.

But you must remember that such things are relative. In the realm of Hollywood power brokers, how many women are near the top? And of those who are, how many got there by specifically NOT bucking the system that seems designed to keep them from being there in the first place? If someday Lorne Michaels retires, and Tina Fey takes his place, then we can talk about her power in Hollywood.
posted by billyfleetwood at 5:51 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know, say what you will, but Victoria Jackson is crazy.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:52 AM on February 15, 2011 [20 favorites]


I'd like to remind Tina that no matter what happens in the next few years, my desire to have sex with her will not recede.

Ew.
posted by anniecat at 5:56 AM on February 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


and spare me the cries of misogyny - That applies just as much to guys, we exist as a painfully superficial species

Not based on the male comedians I've seen. There's a big-time double standard going on there.


Ironically, you just told fathers to butt out of raising their kids.


Reading comprehension fail.
posted by Forktine at 6:08 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


soooooo how many people who made comments didn't RTFA?
Because it's really fucking good. I am ever-ready to hate, but read this on the train over the weekend and was cackling loudly and wildly
posted by angrycat at 6:20 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


thanotopsis: I assume you were aiming for funny but instead it hits really fucking creepy.
posted by kmz at 6:21 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


What I dont understand is this woman pretends to be expert on balancing career and family but then her advice is all bad and confusing plus also I think there are some contradictions, she is not even a real juggler Family Counseling FAIL.
posted by gompa at 6:25 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I always thought the rudest thing you could ask a woman was, "don't you think you're overreacting?"
posted by kimota at 6:35 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


thanotopsis: I assume you were aiming for funny but instead it hits really fucking creepy.

It's also clueless.
posted by anniecat at 6:43 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ironically, you just told fathers to butt out of raising their kids.

Rather than point out the "comprehension fail" I'll explain it -- no, she was pointing out that men DON'T get subjected to this crap.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:44 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


She's right about Betty White, though.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:51 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Holy shit this thread.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:53 AM on February 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


Gosh Tina Fey, you're rich and successful and you have the honor of having the opportunity to have sex with me and/or a number of internet strangers! Stop complaining and start appreciating all the things men have let you have!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:12 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


no, she was pointing out that men DON'T get subjected to this crap.

As a man who more or less single handedly raised his son, I think you don't know what you're talking about.

The worst were the women who were pissed off that I was robbing some other woman of her chance to be a mommie by suing for custody. It's the "oh, where's mom?" question when you take the kid to the doctor.

Hell, a manager at my job used to leave on my desk photocopied articles about how children should be with their mothers, and how men who have an interest in small children are pedophiles.

I've had managers say - when I needed to take off from work to get my sick son from daycare "why can't his mom do that?". Which yeah, is a problem for women - but how is dad supposed to take that ?

Here's the thing I think most people would do well to remember - Lots of people are shitty humans at one point or another. This isn't tied to a particular gender.

So, no. Unless you've been a man who has raised a child, you don't get to talk about what men as parents do or do not experience. and don't get me started on "family" court .
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:18 AM on February 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


I feel blessed that my circle of friends allow me to answer "Oh hell no!" when asked if I'm going to have another child (I have 2). The fact that I've said this while holding one of their babies makes me appreciate them more.

I know that women are constantly pressured about their decisions to have or not have children, and if the former, how many is enough. But again, I am thankful that the people around me - friends, co-workers, acquaintances - would never dream of making such comments, lest we respond with a resounding "Mind your own fucking business."

I'm not saying the pressure Fey talks about doesn't exist (and my comment could go a completely different direction if I focused on the attitude I get at work from the pressures of my family, mostly from older women whose children have already grown up, strangely enough). I've heard enough stories and seen overwhelming evidence in the media to confirm this attitude is still omnipresent and powerful. I also have friends who, faced with criticism from their tone-deaf families, are constantly having to defend their decision not to have children. But reading articles like this one make me happy that I've been able to find a personal community that would never dream of acting like such assholes.
posted by bibliowench at 7:33 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Along similar lines, 50 is not the new 30 for women in Hollywood, even for behind the scenes talent.
posted by availablelight at 7:34 AM on February 15, 2011


Oh, WAY TO GO... with all the bouncing between stupid comments and insightful corrections, this thread has now broken the needle on my 'Love/Hate Metafilter' Meter. Thing costs, like, fifty bucks you know..
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:34 AM on February 15, 2011


What Abiezer was saying about British television is true -- while still on average more attractive than average, there is much more variety in attractiveness. I remember seeing Billie Piper for the first time in Doctor Who and she's a beautiful woman, but too heavy for American television. Dawn French is a star with her own show - not for being funny-looking, but for being funny. And Catherine Tate is completely average looking, but massively talented and she gets work in comedy and drama.
posted by jb at 7:36 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I remember seeing Billie Piper for the first time in Doctor Who and she's a beautiful woman

I'm tried of hearing this lie. SHE HAS MONKEYFACE.
posted by grubi at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


grubi -- exactly. She's not conventionally attractive. Just as Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith are far from being matinee hero-types, though all massively talented and with their own fan-groups who think they are very beautiful (Tennant has a big female following).
posted by jb at 7:54 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tina Fey is rich right now, but she's smart enough to know that given her and her husband's chosen professions, that their peak moneymaking years are most likely right now and she needs to cash it out, while the fame is hot. It won't be a steady upwards trajectory after a certain point. If she had one too many flops, then she couldn't just keep making money the way Jennifer Aniston does (despite all of Aniston's bad movies (though I really liked some of the ones that are considered flops). Of course, if her star totally dimmed at some point (and she ended up in a Will Ferrell-esque situation where younger actors like Seth Rogen are not only as funny but more lovable), then at least she owns real estate in Manhattan.

She'll never be at risk for being on welfare, but I find it very admirable to hear a woman talk about making money as a goal. I was educated in an academic culture that made everyone think that working for a nonprofit was the only reputable thing to do and that money/stable income seekers were pitiful, because the real goal was to save the world and anyone who was seeking money was being materialistic, regardless of how poor they grew up. And I always wanted to be thought of as a "good person" especially since I suspected that I was selfish and desirous of certain things (travel, pretty clothes, etc).

It's nice to know that she's aware that her lifestyle may go up or down, and most likely will end up going down somewhat because of what show business is like. That is, unless she branches out into opening a "Tina Fey School of Comedic Arts" or endorses a line of spanx or gag products.
posted by anniecat at 8:04 AM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


I feel bad that she thinks "how do you juggle it all?" is something accusatory, and automatically insulting; I mean, people say it to me, and sometimes there's this "you must be crazy for having so many kids" tinge to it, for sure, but often it's just people who can't imagine being in your shoes because everyone is juggling something different. I don't have twins; how do YOU do that? I don't work outside the home; how do YOU do that and have kids? I don't take care of an elderly relative and work full-time; how do YOU do that? We all have something going on, we all have a struggle of some kind; "how do you do it" can be a sign of support, a way to recognize the hard work you're doing.

When I've said it to others, it's in awe. Tina Fey has a popular show (that I love) and a kid and is a 40 year old successful woman comedian in an industry notorious for not letting women have enough opportunities for their talents - yeah, how DO you juggle it all? That's pretty awesome! I am in awe of your abilities to make that all happen!
posted by flex at 8:04 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


The thing which resonates with me here is the incessant "Oh, are you having more?" question. We have one child and people tell us all the god damn time that we should have more as if it's anyone else's decision besides ours (and by that I mean, my wife's).

The thing is, our kid is happy and healthy and past the age at which he needs to wake up every 5 minutes and is starting to be self-sufficient and I can't bring myself to look at him and say "You aren't enough for me." My wife likes her job and wants to continue working, because it is meaningful and rewarding to her. I had to sacrifice some for our baby, but she had to give up a LOT more than I did. Some of it she is getting back now. Not everything, but enough that she feels normal and not like a freakshow science project as she did for the entire pregnancy and the year or so afterwards when she had to focus really hard on getting herself back into feeling like a normal person again.

People tell us all the time that we are "depriving" our son by not having more kids. Right. He gets all of our love and attention and splitting that between him and another kid is deprivation? Yes yes love is boundless and endless and if we did have another we would love the new kid just as much as the old one but we're closer to 40 than we used to be and the odds of an unhealthy pregnancy go up every year. People need to butt the hell out. I had two brothers and a sister and we had a happy childhood but there is no reason on earth why my son won't be just as happy as a single child.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:16 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember seeing Billie Piper for the first time in Doctor Who and she's a beautiful woman.

Who apparently looks like Shergar after she's had half an ounce of coke.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:18 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish I could say this article resonates with me, being as I am almost identically situated (save the wealthy and famous part). Luckily for me, and I don't know why this is the case, I have never been even slightly bothered by any inquiry as to whether I intend to have anything beyond my one child. Perhaps because I am an only child and know it's not the end of the world to not have a sibling?

Everyone has struggles and the whole "work-life" balance juggle/struggle is just one minor aspect. I appreciate that Tina Fey's career situation is probably more difficult than mine given that I can continue to succeed even as I age (although older women can get marginizalied in my business as well). But I would think that a comedian would have a bit thicker skin.
posted by hockeyfan at 8:25 AM on February 15, 2011


caution live frogs, my husband and I are only children, and we wouldn't have had it any other way. I can't remember a time in my childhood when I wanted a sibling. I was with other people enough during the day, and I valued my alone-time and my own space too much to want to share it with anyone else. The only repercussion I see is that we decided to have two children, in part, because they would not have any extended family once we were gone.

I'm sure if I'd had siblings, I'd feel differently, but I always want to speak up when I hear people disparage the choice to just have one child (not you, but the people who criticize you).
posted by bibliowench at 8:25 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Tina's point isn't to give advice, but to talk about how working women can't win, especially in a male-dominated industry with a limited window for opportunity, one that appears unfairly narrow for women in general, mothers or not.

I work in a male-dominated industry (software engineering) and there is a good chance that I will go into labor at my desk, either today or sometime this week. First, I'm really lucky. I have a job with flexible hours, nice people, and that pays well. But it's still really hard, especially because most of my coworkers have no idea what I'm going through right now and I feel a lot of pressure to make deadlines and work as hard as I can up until the end. I come in early most days so I can sneak away during the afternoon and just have some "Ow! Why?!" time on my own without cutting into my working hours.

When I have an actual, external baby to care for I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Probably, I'll continue to work (and take my bad mom lumps) because Software skills go stale almost immediately. How do people do it?

So, I'm not sure I'm going to do this again. It's hard enough even without the actual baby.
posted by Alison at 8:28 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Are you a woman, with children? Then you are Doing It All Wrong

If you are a woman without children, then you are Most Definitely Doing It Wrong, as well.
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:29 AM on February 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


: So are there a lot of fields where your prospects don't wane as you get older, and fields where you don't have to balance out work and life?

Tina Fey is awesome (and, yes, pretty), but this seems like an ordinary concern -- very much not a B.F.H. thing.


The issue is, when you're a woman it so happens that the time to really succeed in your career is also the time to have children, and women are under constant pressure from all sides to have kids. No matter how much your career means to you, how much you "wasted" on that Ph.D, M.D., J.D., etc, the general notion is, "you can focus on your career later." There is definitely an ageism problem for both sexes, but as Fey points out, it's not exactly an even field for older women, especially those whose careers involve being around cameras.

So, aging is an ordinary concern, yes. But women tend to face that concern about 30 years sooner than men, and, physiological inevitability or not, it would be nice for that difference to be acknowledged. And for people to back off with the well-meaning, intrusive, condescending advice to parents.
posted by zennie at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm 32, and starting to think about maybe starting a family, but it couldn't be Q2 next year, or Q3 the year after because there's tons of important work to do, and on it goes until you don't get to make the decision any more.

I think, really, you've probably already decided just by letting the time slip by. I'm firmly on the side of people who really want kids should have them, and people who don't, or aren't really sure, should probably hold off. And I feel that way about any 24/7 commitment.
posted by misha at 8:45 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


“How do you juggle it all?” people constantly ask me, with an accusatory look in their eyes. “You’re screwing it all up, aren’t you?” their eyes say.

No, Mrs. Fey, that's something that you are saying. In your head. It's called inferring.
posted by tehloki at 8:49 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Finally, for money, I play the villain in the live-action “Moxie Girlz” movie, opposite a future child star who at this moment is still a tickly feeling in Billy Ray Cyrus’s testicles.

I honestly do not know whether to gag or laugh at those last seven words.

I enjoyed this article and it'll be interesting to see what she decides (I'm betting that she won't have another child, my feeling being that she would have gone for it already if she really felt that much of an urge). It sometimes hurts me though to hear people debating whether they want to have a child or another child though. I wish I had the luxury of being able to decide to have one, but as I'm single my options for having a baby myself suck.
posted by orange swan at 8:50 AM on February 15, 2011


that was great. Thanks for posting.
posted by caddis at 8:59 AM on February 15, 2011



If you are a woman without children, then you are Most Definitely Doing It Wrong, as well.

If you ride a fixie, you're doing it wrong.
If you ride a 10 speed, you're doing it wrong.
If you eat steak, you're doing it wrong.
If you eat salad, you're doing it wrong.
If you like that beer, you're doing it wrong.
If you like Scotch on the rocks, you're doing it wrong.
If like that band, you're doing it wrong.
If you have your kids declawed, you're doing it wrong.
If you feed your kids yogurt, you're doing it wrong.
If you spell it colour, you're doing it wrong.
If you have no kids, you're doing it wrong.
If you have one kid, you're doing it wrong.
If you have many kids, you're doing it wrong.
If you like women, you're doing it wrong.
If you like men, you're doing it wrong.
If you like sex, you're doing it wrong.
If you don't like sex, you're doing it wrong.
If you like to dance, you're doing it wrong.
If you don't like to dance, you're doing it wrong.
If you dance like that, you're doing it wrong.
...

People are assholes.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:18 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


People are assholes.

Um... it's actually, "People are assholes!"
posted by En0rm0 at 9:24 AM on February 15, 2011


women are under constant pressure from all sides to have kids. No matter how much your career means to you, how much you "wasted" on that Ph.D, M.D., J.D., etc, the general notion is, "you can focus on your career later."

The message I got was that I should go to school, get my career started and stable, find the love of my life, get settled, have fun being married, and then I would have loads of time to have kids later, presumably in my mid-to late thirties or early forties. I was told sternly that getting married young was a mistake and everyone who did regretted it (also, marriage was a Bad Thing that trapped men and women and would Inevitably Fall Apart and End in Disaster and Regret, so I had guilty feelings when I realized how much I wanted to), having children young was ridiculous because there were loads of time to have children and all these new procedures were making it possible to have healthy genius babies at later and later ages.

My husband was under the notion that there wasn't really an end date because of the existence of IVF and other procedures. What he wasn't aware of was the enormous cost of IVF, etc. (and yes, there's financing available but it's still expensive) and the failure rate, and neither was I until I looked it up. And we're both well-educated people, just not about this kind of stuff. And it's our faults for not doing the research to see if it was true or what the costs we would incur. It seemed true, but maybe that was just convenient for us because we were getting used to being out of school and paying loans and managing a budget.
posted by anniecat at 9:34 AM on February 15, 2011


[comment removed - would be great if this thread didn't turn into a "who wants to fuck Tina" thread - not psyched about the way the thread was phrased but that doesn't give carte blanche for comments that are normally not okay here, thanks. ]
posted by jessamyn at 9:54 AM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'd like to hear Das Racist perform this.
posted by Maaik at 10:10 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"oh great another groundbreaking genius run down by the misogynistic system she has artfully mastered realizes the fundamental incompatibility of world-straddling creativity and common happiness? Boo fucking hoo. Boo. Fucking. Hoo."

groundbreaking genius?? really??? She is funny, and talented, but she is not even the funniest woman in her age group on that block of shows (Oh hey there Amy Poehler, Parks & Rec 4 life). As for groundbreaking, she is not he first comedienne to headline a great show on American television,and she wont be the last.

As for larger question, life has trade offs, if there was more of a demand out there for older female leads then there would be more programming featuring them. Thats my opinion at least.
posted by BobbyDigital at 10:24 AM on February 15, 2011


All over Manhattan, large families have become a status symbol.
Because, you know, there aren't enough people yet.

Are you gonna have another one?
Wait'll I finish this plate of sauerkraut and beans and we'll see.

women are under constant pressure from all sides to have kids
Really? I thought that only worked from the front.
posted by Twang at 10:28 AM on February 15, 2011


Metafilter: we exist as a painfully superficial species.
posted by Gelatin at 10:36 AM on February 15, 2011


Thanks for finding that - I don't subscribe to the New Yorker, so I hadn't seen it. I'm a real admirer of Tina Fey's work, especially her writing. I'm not going to bother with defending or defaming her; you all seem to have nothing better to do all day long, so I'll leave it to you guys...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 10:50 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The female equivalent of Scott Adsit or Ray Romano would never, ever make it in television.

I grew up when Roseanne and Grace Under Fire and the Golden Girls and Cheers with Rhea Perlman as a main character were popular shows on TV, so I must respectfully disagree. TV generally goes for the most attractive people possible, but funny people are often the exception.
posted by Hoopo at 11:03 AM on February 15, 2011


As for larger question, life has trade offs, if there was more of a demand out there for older female leads then there would be more programming featuring them. Thats my opinion at least.

I don't buy that. It's like saying 'if there was a demand for female characters in film there would be more of them'. The fact that a medium panders to what it thinks its audience wants, doesn't mean that's actually what the audience wants. And the refusal to try anything different from fear of commercial failure makes us all a little poorer and only entrenches this kind of thinking.
posted by Summer at 11:22 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have never understood why people ask "are you going to have more kids?" I've had four and yet I still hear disappointed remarks when I say that from now on my legs are closed and I'm focusing on my career. For sure in my case, having children detrailed my career by a decade while the fathers hired after me are surpassing me (at least they have the grace to be embarrassed about it). And I work in a female-dominated, mostly-feminist industry!
posted by saucysault at 11:26 AM on February 15, 2011


Left to my own devices, I dress like I’m hear to service your aquarium.

Gee, I hope that is a transcription error because I'd like to think that New Yorker magazine pays good money for editors.
posted by spock at 11:31 AM on February 15, 2011


Finally, for money, I play the villain in the live-action “Moxie Girlz” movie, opposite a future child star who at this moment is still a tickly feeling in Billy Ray Cyrus’s testicles.

I don't know how anyone can read this line and still have no love in their heart for the glorious Tina Fey.

Also, what the hell, was this like catnip to the secret misogynist jealousy society or something? Are you guys cats? You can admit it, it's cool, this is only the internet.
posted by Errant at 11:32 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't abide people who think Amy Poehler is funnier than Tina Fey. YOU HEAR ME BOBBYDIGITAL? I'LL NOT ABIDE THIS!
posted by Mister_A at 11:36 AM on February 15, 2011


I can't abide people who think Amy Poehler is funnier than Tina Fey.

HEAR HEAR
posted by grubi at 12:11 PM on February 15, 2011


I'm doing it wrong.

So deliciously wrong
posted by everichon at 12:25 PM on February 15, 2011


If you ride a fixie, you're doing it wrong.

Yes. Yes, you are.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:31 PM on February 15, 2011


Always deride mate, never abide.
posted by Kabanos at 12:32 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I can't abide people who think Amy Poehler is funnier than Tina Fey. YOU HEAR ME BOBBYDIGITAL? I'LL NOT ABIDE THIS!"

My current opinion might be biased because all I really see of either these days is via their respective television shows (I feel that Parks and Rec is vastly superior to 30 Rock), but at the very least I would say that Poehler is a better actress if not funnier comedienne which I am not going to concede.
posted by BobbyDigital at 12:57 PM on February 15, 2011


but at the very least I would say that Poehler is a better actress if not funnier comedienne which I am not going to concede.

Baby Mama. Poehler's ham vs Fey's steak.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 1:38 PM on February 15, 2011


Poehler vs. Fey is a bad comparison with the data we have. On Parks and Rec, Poehler is actually playing a character. Fey is playing a caricature of herself. In fact, in every piece we've seen from her (30 Rock, Baby Mama, Mean Girls, Date Night), Fey plays a caricature of herself. It's not bad -- it's hysterically funny, actually -- but we haven't seen any range from her yet.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:58 PM on February 15, 2011


we haven't seen any range from her yet.

She's a writer.
posted by grubi at 2:27 PM on February 15, 2011


> She's a writer.

She was a player in The Second City. But yeah, it seems her acting is pretty much variations on her own native inflections rather than really inhabiting other spaces.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:29 PM on February 15, 2011


we haven't seen any range from her yet

Uh, I think she played this Alaskan woman once...
posted by Asparagirl at 2:42 PM on February 15, 2011


That is, unless she branches out into opening a "Tina Fey School of Comedic Arts" or endorses a line of spanx or gag products.

I would absolutely go to that school. And probably buy those spanx.
posted by Go Banana at 2:58 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dear Tina Fey, You are pretty great. Keep on keepin' on. Signed, LobsterMitten
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:23 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I loved this article. I found it both hilarious and poignant. This is a woman who is a well-known, proven commodity in her industry. She has a great track record, and yet she knows that one short step off the treadmill might derail her forever. What a fucking loss, that we are willing to throw away talent like that, thanks to ageism, sexism, whatever.
posted by ch1x0r at 4:23 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I listen to a lot of those LA comedy podcasts that are ubiquitous these days, and every time the subject of Amy Poehler comes up, men women and children fall all over themselves to praise how funny Poehler is. So I tend to take the fact that I find her stunningly unfunny as a personal failing of mine.
posted by Kwine at 6:22 PM on February 15, 2011


I listen to a lot of those LA comedy podcasts that are ubiquitous these days, and every time the subject of Amy Poehler comes up, men women and children fall all over themselves to praise how funny Poehler is.

Her UCB track record is pretty outstanding, in my opinion. I tend to like her less in more structured stuff (i.e. SNL), although I haven't seen Parks and Rec yet, and more in improv and such. I think she really shines in a format that is either completely open or only loosely bound, and I'm not completely sold on her ability to keep a single character fresh for extended periods of time.
posted by Errant at 6:43 PM on February 15, 2011


"I'm not completely sold on her ability to keep a single character fresh for extended periods of time."

Well, Parks and Rec is on its third season now. I think if you took a look at it, you'd find that she's done exactly that.
posted by Maaik at 8:01 PM on February 15, 2011


Am I the only one a tiny bit tired of the Tina Fey worship? That said, I love 30 Rock.
posted by tarvuz at 8:18 PM on February 15, 2011


I certainly plan to. Having been an Amy Poehler fan for many years, I'm predisposed to it, I'm just bad at keeping up with tv these days.
posted by Errant at 12:57 AM on February 16, 2011


Uh, I think she played this Alaskan woman once...

I see what you did there.
posted by Wild_Eep at 6:05 AM on February 16, 2011


Amy P is more funny through sheer force but Fey was the head writer of snl during some of its funniest years, and created one of the most lovable and hilarious shows of all time. She may not officially write 30 rock, but she is clearly the boss of it, from the beginning. It is her show. She is obviously one of the great comic geniuses of our time, don't make me lazercat you.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:16 AM on February 16, 2011


She may not officially write 30 rock

From IMDB:

Series Writing credits
Tina Fey (95 episodes, 2006-2011)

So, yeah, she writes for the show. She's the head writer.
posted by grubi at 6:42 AM on February 16, 2011


Christ, what assholes.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:49 AM on February 16, 2011


Left to my own devices, I dress like I’m hear to service your aquarium.

I find this inexplicably hilarious, though if I ever find myself in the exceptionally unlikely event of being somewhere and having Tina Fey show up, I hope I have the presence of mind to gesture vaguely at the aquarium and say "It's over there. The buckets are in the closet."

Uh, I think she played this Alaskan woman once...

At this point, I've retconned the whole thing enough to be convinced that the Alaskan woman was actually trying to play a stylized Fey, and did it really poorly.

posted by quin at 8:28 AM on February 16, 2011


I'm troubled by the last episode of 30 rock. The supposedly Dutch-French writer says something that sounds like "Come sit on my strijkervaas". Which makes no sense!
And surely the supposed Dutch in a US tv show must make sense.

The time she gasped at the name of Jack Doneghys new microwave called the "bite nuker" was pretty obvious on the other hand.
If you speak French and Dutch it's easy to see she hears "sheep fucker".

Btw which site is meant to be JoanOfSnark? Is that jezebel?
posted by joost de vries at 1:42 PM on February 25, 2011


Slate explains.
posted by joost de vries at 1:59 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


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