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.
The biggest punchline comes immediately after a cut to a table of crying strippers, with Tracy Jordan handing one a tissue and saying “I know you’ve been molested. That’s how we all got here.” Is Fey trying to draw an analogy between the mainstream entertainment industry and the sex industry, perhaps implying that both actors and strippers have some type of emotional damage that motivated them to pursue their chosen profession? It’s doubtful. Remember, strip clubs are evil but the entertainment industry, with its rampant misogyny and discrimination, is a necessary evil in which Fey herself happens to charmingly participate. The main point is that strippers are abuse victims with daddy issues. Funny, original stuff.
So there’s that, and there’s also the quote that’s been circulating from Fey’s new memoir, Bossypants:
Politics and prostitution have to be the only jobs where inexperience is considered a virtue. In what other profession would you brag about not knowing stuff?
Maybe when Fey wrote this she was thinking of that chick who auctioned off her virginity at a Nevada brothel a while back for a sum that was never confirmed. I’m not really sure. But the virginal cache that she’s referring to is symptomatic of a larger sexism that likes women “pure,” and it’s not unique to nor oppressively pervasive in commercial sex. (Which of our two industries, Ms. Fey, is notorious for promoting “a fresh face?” And in which of our two industries is it considered a valuable selling point to have 20 “reviews” written by different men about what a great lay you are?) Of course there are clients who like new girls—usually because those guys are gross and manipulative, and if someone’s new she doesn’t know that he’s been blacklisted by everyone else, and she may not be great at maintaining her boundaries. But many, many clients don’t want or value cluelessness.
All of which leads me to wonder: Tina Fey is clearly so fascinated by the mere existence of sex workers, why doesn’t she actually educate herself about us? Tina, we here at T&S will personally tutor you! Our rates start at $500/hour. We promise not to cry about our fathers.