I love Tina Fey for so many reasons. She’s wicked smart. She’s crazy funny. She’s hard-working, talented, and real. There is a lot to admire about her as a comedian, writer, and actress. She encourages women to own who they are, to let their authenticity propel their success.
She’s right about so many things: how mean girls can be to each other, how sexist the entertainment industry (and lots of other industry) is, and how difficult it is to be a woman in a society that uses Victoria’s Secret models to sell Pennzoil, just to name a few.
That’s why it’s terribly disappointing that she is a stark-raving fauxminist.
In fact, when I think of fauxminism, one of the first people who leaps to mind is Liz Lemon, the character played by Tina Fey on NBC’s “30 Rock.”
The so-called feminism Tina espouses in real life profoundly failed to provide fulfillment to her on-screen alter-ego. During the run of the “30 Rock” series, which lasted seven seasons, Liz went from late-30s and starting to worry about her chances of finding love, getting married, and being a mom to being in her 40s and truly desperate for those things.
Fictional Liz is relatable because there are a lot of actual women who have spent their whole adult lives focused on their careers to the exclusion of all else. Meaningless sex, serial monogamy, contraception, struggling to adopt a baby as a single woman, seeking comfort in food in your lonely apartment: hilarious when they happen to Lemon, not so much in real life.
Is this the promise of fauxminism? Phenomenal success in the workplace, crippling failure and loneliness at home?
Tina Fey is an outspoken self-described feminist. She even famously said all women should vote for Hillary Clinton because Hillary is a woman. (Ahem.) Then again, she didn’t have a problem mercilessly lampooning Sarah Palin. Not the right kind of woman, I guess?
(Fun Fact: Tina did such a good job skewering Sarah a lot of people still actually think Palin said, “I can see Russia from my house.” She didn’t. That was Tina. Hurray for the sisterhood!)
Tina is also totally cool with abortion. What is it with really smart women somehow managing to rationalize murdering fetuses? The same woman who wrote the beautiful “A Mother’s Prayer for Her Daughter” also said this when she headlined the Center for Reproductive Rights Gala last year:
What is really at stake here is the right to life: a woman’s right to life, and all the other human rights to which every woman is entitled.
She was talking about women dying from unsafe abortions, and I don’t know if she intended to make my head explode from the combustive combination of irony and hypocrisy, but it did. It exploded.
Fauxminists have a really hard time explaining, if you ask, when those “women’s rights” start. First they want to say birth, but many of the saner ones think about it and realize that’s pretty arbitrary. Because what’s the difference between a newborn and the same infant five minutes before birth, besides location?
That gets them thinking: when does the disposable female fetus become a human female worthy of rights? If birth is an arbitrary designation – and it is – then what isn’t? The development of a heartbeat? But that’s so early. If human rights started with a heartbeat, virtually no abortions would happen. And, by God, we can’t have that!
So viability, maybe? But abortion is available after “viability” in some states, so that must not be it. Plus, medical science keeps pushing viability back, much to the annoyance of fauxminists.
(Hey, Medical Science, would you please stop saving 21-week-old fetuses so they grow up and prove they were human all along? You’re really complicating things for the fauxminists.)
My prayer is that one day incredible women like Tina Fey will understand that the human rights which women – and men – are worthy of, we are worthy of from the moment we became living human beings: which is to say, from the moment of conception.