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!
Tonight, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner will celebrate his 75th birthday. At Hefner’s side will be his seven girlfriends – Stephanie, Tiffany, Regina, Cathy, Kimberly, Buffy and, of course, Tina. Because wherever two or more whores are gathered, there’s always a Tina. […] At 28, Tina is the oldest and has a two-year-old son. That must be a wonderful way to grow up, playing Fetch the Ashtray with James Caan in the Grotto, while your mom’s upstairs praying for the Viagra to wear off so she can get you to the orthodontist on time. Fantastic. […] And this [other girlfriend,] clearly, this one is willing to do something the others will not do. Whatever the filthiest thing you can think of — it’s a little worse than that, and she’ll let you photograph her doing it. Gotta be the reason she’s there.
But you know what? You can’t condemn these woman, because at least they work together, they support each other, and how many woman can say that, right? And these women aren’t doing it for the money. They’re doing it because they were molested by a family friend.
I’ve got to bullet point this sucker because I’m about to go on overload.
- Let’s get this straight. Fey, who thinks “we all need to be better than” strip club-goers, doesn’t think we all need to be better than the type of misogynist who calls women “whores” simply because—s/he assume—those women are valued by men only because of their sex appeal.
- Only whores have to deal with men who use Viagra? Ha. Non-whoring wives wish.
- It’s funny when women are molested. Extra funny if they were molested by someone close to their family. This is the closest thing I’ve found to a Tina Fey formula—bonus points if you try to disguise this maliciousness as stemming from endearing prudishness.
Joan Kelly recently pointed out on this site that being amused by the possibility of a woman having suffered serious physical violations has little to do with feminism and seems far more tied to sociopathic criminality. (Well, she didn’t quite put it that way…) Honestly, Tina Fey, what in the sweet Saint Veronica Franco is going on? Why do you find it so hilarious to crow that a certain group of women consists entirely of incest survivors or products of a broken home? I completely disagree with your behavior. And were I to mimic your M.O., in which every woman I regard as irritating or strange is automatically labeled an emotionally damaged prostitute, I’d insert a completely tasteless and predictable comment about your childhood rapes here.
But I won’t. Because there’s nothing funny or even defensible about making those types of allegations—it’s just unbelievably cruel. And if those claims are true? That’s even more twisted. I’m not going to be a person who points at another human being and says, “you know what? Your history of sexual abuse is abundantly apparent even to the most casual observer. And you’re utterly ridiculous because of it.” In the hierarchy of disgusting human beings, that would put me about one rung above the actual abuser.
If a man thought it was knee-slappingly uproarious to speculate that any overtly sexual woman had been sexually abused, he would not have much of a chance at being hailed an inspiring “undercover feminist.” Tina Fey’s feminism is half-formed at best, and frankly, her compassion seems half-formed too. Tina, it’s time to get your head out of your provocatively-clad ass. You are a woman with much of our country’s attention. Why not refrain from directing even more negative energy at two of the most vulnerable populations in our society: abuse victims and sex workers?
Tina Fey spoke at my college four years ago. She basically said what she wrote in her recent New Yorker article. In her field, a woman is labeled “crazy” as in, “No, I’m not hiring her. She’s crazy.” if she continues talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore. She sees men who can barely feed and clothe themselves continue to work in the entertainment industry while women she thinks are incredibly talented are left behind because they’re not attractive anymore. I think your views on society’s absurd expectations of women actually dovetail quite a bit here.
I also think Tina’s perceptions of the sex industry obviously come from a very removed perch. She sees any woman who would employ herself as an “object” for men as contributing to a problem she fights every day, and that’s where she stops thinking about it. She doesn’t see sex work as actual work, doesn’t see that there are honest-to-god skills involved, doesn’t see the men who utilize sex workers as thinking, feeling human beings who are looking to interact with thinking, feeling human beings. She only sees an extension of society’s views that women should, above all else, be pretty for men. the end.
I recently entered the workforce in the same city Tina works in and I cannot tell you how many times a day I look at the men I work with, longingly thinking “I want to wear that.” What if I could go to work every day in loose clothes and flat shoes? What if I was just – comfortable – every day? I find myself so heinously jealous of people who are running late to work and not wondering about how their makeup has fared the mad dash. I am conscious of my looks all day, every day, and I honestly think it makes me a less effective worker, but I am equally convinced that I got my job in large part because of my looks. I don’t know what to do about it, but my righteous indignation at the vast chasm between expectations for men and women gets worse every week.
I think she is unforgivably uninformed on a topic she seems to spout off on all the time, but I think she spouts off (as thoughtless and wrong a she is) because she is nursing a massive well of resentment for the things she has to do to get along in a paternalistic society. And I understand that.
Oh – but I should add, I have no defense whatsoever for this:
“I’m not going to be a person who points at another human being and says, “you know what? Your history of sexual abuse is abundantly apparent even to the most casual observer. And you’re utterly ridiculous because of it.”
God, that really is what she did and it really is truly hateful, so I appreciate you drawing her statements in appropriately stark terms.
Thanks for linking me, Charlotte, and for this article.
I do think that Hugh Hefner only chooses girlfriends based on their sex appeal (I mean they all have to be blond, thin, big boobed, young, etc.) but for god’s sake that’s a thing to talk shit about HIM for, not them, in my book. I do find him a gross old man and have heard that he’s not the angel to all these girlfriends that he apparently wants everyone to think he is.
Sometimes I wonder…not saying it’s true with Fey or anyone in particular, but my twin is a stand up comic, and I’ve spent a lot of time around comics, and sometimes I just wonder if people “joke” (in parentheses because it’s not funny) about women who end up as “whores” being molested is a way for them to talk about something that they think is troublesome, instead of it never being talked about. I mean, sometimes my sense of humor is dark and I joke about horrible things, and sometimes it’s from a drive to say something in an in-your-face way versus talking about it intellectually or even emotionally. I mean, I’ve made jokes (not publicly but still) about how even though I’m a pervert, I’m not into play-rape, because once you’ve had the real thing, imitations will never do.
Obviously it’s different to joke that way about *myself* versus saying it at the expense of anyone else. I think that’s the only part of Fey’s stuff that bothers me. I don’t actually have a problem with women who have critical feelings about the sex industry, I don’t think they have to have ever been in it in order to have a right to voice their objections. But saying cruel things or mocking women who are in the sex industry is not, in fact, an actual critique of the industry.
Plus another thing I’ve noticed is that she seems to be only attacking women who are voluntarily in the industry (versus making jokes about women who are at street level prostitution). Or that’s all I’ve seen (on SNL or in Bossypants which I just finished), maybe I’m wrong. But like the commenter above, there seems like there’s this resentment towards women who she thinks could choose to not-cater to men (and overwhelmingly, that is what the industry is about – catering to men) but who do it anyway. And since she doesn’t want to, she wishes none of us would, she thinks it makes it harder for those of us who don’t want to.
And again, I can’t say that I think that’s an invalid argument. But – as you point out, she’s not consistent (hello, sexy pictures) in this condemnation of catering to males, and again, I personally am okay with people talking about the dynamics of that whole thing but not okay at all with laying the whole fucking thing at the feet of strippers or the women who have to suck that musty old fucker’s dick every night, or any other women, in or out of the sex industry.
So. I have unfortunately heard plenty of female comics make jokes at the expense of women in the sex industry (not my twin though!) and it seems like it’s a *thing*, though some of them do it from an obvious motive of wanting just a little bit of whore-i-ness to rub off on them, for dudes’ approval, while not actually having to descend into whore-dom themselves. (Sorry, I refer to myself as a whore and it’s, in general, how I think of “my people,” other whores, but I would not refer to anyone with that word who found it offensive, despite it not being derogatory in intent, from me personally.)
I just wish women would condemn the things they think are harmful, without taking passive aggressive swipes at the people they (mostly unjustly) blame for it. I don’t mind having discussions or even arguments about the sex industry and how it affects all female people, with any woman who may not see things how I do. There is room for that, for me personally. But talking hurtful shit about whores? No, not on my watch.
Thank you guys so much for FINALLY calling attention to this. Her obsession/hatred of sex workers has been something i have noticed for years now. So happy someone else noticed
[…] success) for many of my coworkers, so I see what she’s saying. But, it’s not the first time the bunnies have been the tail of her jokes. In fact, there’s a twin Playboy models incest jab later in the […]
[…] thrown around by women, particularly women with otherwise feminist chops (*coughcough* Tina Fey.) We all suffer from slut/whore/man-hater sexism—meaning we’re all vulnerable to the stigma […]
If it makes you feel any better, nobody really likes her comedy and nobody really watched it. She isn’t even popular enough to be scripted “filler” material on a network that can’t get any ratings except out of sports and reality shows.
That’s why she was cancelled. Whether she sucks or not is besides the point.
The point is her influence is minimal and she’s already peaked (if you can’t make a hit when you’re at your max popularity in the middle of your career, in the craptainment that is today’s tv comedy, things aren’t particularly going to improve for you).
The irony of it is that she’s only successful because she’s pretty. In a way, her point is correct, pretty women have the advantage, even when it’s undeserved. She’s proof of it.
[…] Paris Hilton about her looks and call her a “tranny,” or make no bones about her deep disdain for sex […]
[…] Fey had a similar issue on 30 Rock, when sex worker activist groups lashed out at her depiction of prostitutes and strippers, calling her “anti-feminist”. Just because Fey […]
[…] to point this out, either: In the past, Fey has been accused of whorephobia, due to her claims that sex workers were victims of childhood sexual abuse (which has been debunked by studies), 30 Rock jokes about under-the-bridge prostitutes, and an […]