When I bought Tina Fey’s book, the elderly parking attendant at Powell’s saw me carrying it and his face lit up. He gushed that he had heard so many great things and couldn’t wait to read it himself. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had only invested the $27 with the intention of being offended and that I don’t like her because she doesn’t like me. I took one for the team and read Bossypants. I laughed out loud, I got to know as much of Ms. Fey as she would allow, and I made this list. I present you with Bossypants sex workery references, in order of the benign to horribly offensive.
Guess who isn't a whore for posing in sexy photos and dating an older man? This gal!
I bet you thought that with the most recent season of 30 Rock all wrapped up, we wouldn’t have any more opportunities to obsess about Tina Fey’s mean-spirited sex worker obsession. But with our girl TF, the sex worker hate is a constantly bubbling stream. So let’s drink deep from her well with this old SNL Weekend Update monologue about how Hugh Hefner’s “whore” girlfriends were all sexually abused. Comedy is funny!
There she is, being Not Remotely Like A Sex Worker!
Oh Tina Fey, you sex worker-obsessed mess. I love 30 Rock with all the passion of a fake orgasm, but sometimes it’s more in spite of you than because of you. Let’s start with last week’s episode, shall we?
Once again, Tracy Jordan (played by comedian Tracy Morgan) finds himself in a strip club with Liz Lemon (Tina Fey.) But for once, their visit was Liz’s idea. She’s become desperate to restore her unpredictable, outrageous TV star to his former self after a bout of serious-actor-itis, and she figures watching “someone’s daughter shake her crack”—yes Tina, every woman is someone’s daughter, what a relevant point—will snap him out of his funk. Sadly, the dancers in the club all flock around Jordan and begin congratulating him on how his film “Hard To Watch” changed their lives, and their confessions about estrangement from their biological fathers (ha! never saw that one coming) is the last thing he wants to hear.
Location on Long Island where the bodies of four women who worked as prostitutes were found
Y’all catch that joke on 30 Rock a couple of weeks (S05E13) ago? Jack Donaghy is in his office, mourning the change in GE ownership. “This is where we used to hold retirement parties. The balcony below is probably still littered with stripper bones.” HAR.
One of the reasons sex workers become politicized is to make ourselves visible as real people to decrease our chances of being easy victims of violent crimes in a society where we are considered lesser members. Jokes like this (and Tina Fey looooves to write stripper jokes*) are one of the constant small ways sex workers are dehumanized to the public. Cracks about dead ones are less funny in light of the women’s remains that were found on Long Island.
Fey is beloved by a lot of women for modeling success in a male-dominated field, which makes her rage towards other women come off as bitter and unreasonable. You know what’s harder than being a rich white woman in Hollywood who gets called crazy because men don’t want to fuck you (hey, you still get to complain about it in The New Yorker)? Having your humanity denied because you are the woman they do want to fuck.
* “I love to play strippers and to imitate them,” says Fey. “I love using that idea for comedy, but the idea of actually going there? I feel like we all need to be better than that. That industry needs to die, by all of us being a little bit better than that.” Vanity Fair, January 2009