Tina Fey’s Bossypants: Feminism, Only Funnier

May 17, 2011 5:34 PM

Tina Fey's Bossypants, Vanity Fair shoot and 30 Rock

I kinda thought Bossypants would change my life.

I’m not sure why. I guess it’s because Tina Fey wrote it, and she’s kind of a genius –successful on her own terms, freakishly talented, and yet comfortingly human and flawed. Also, the book arrived with personal recommendations from people I trust and a wave of positive reviews from pretty much all corners.

A Good Night’s Read
So, does it live up to my insanely high expectations? Inasmuch as it is a very entertaining, engaging piece of writing with flashes of powerful insight, yes. But I don’t think it’s meant to change lives.

Instead, it’s a great book to read for a night or two, curled up on a couch laughing to yourself, pleased that the world has people like Tina Fey in it. It’s kind of short, and not perfectly structured, but you’ll be entertained the entire time you’re reading it.

Questioning Bad Rules, Offering Good Ones
But it’s not just entertaining. Bossypants is filled with insights about the life of a professional woman. For instance: institutional sexism. Throughout the book, Fey breaks down – in humorous language and without a hint of self-pity – the reality of being a woman in showbiz. The story of her rise to comedy fame includes many, many examples of the ways women are treated differently from men in comedy specifically, and entertainment more generally.

She also shares the Rules of Improvisation, which changed her life and helped her achieve success. This short section serves as a pretty great blueprint for anyone looking for guidance as a professional and a person. The rules are designed to help you improvise a scene with a partner, but they can easily be applied to any interaction with another person: agree with their worldview, add your own concrete ideas to theirs, and see every part of the process as an opportunity, not a mistake.

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Hilarious
Speaking of opportunities, Fey takes this one to verbally dropkick some deserving morons. For instance, there’s the “Dear Internet” chapter, in which she responds to cruel and idiotic online comments: for instance, “Tina Fey is an ugly, pear-shaped, bitchy, overrated troll.” Her response letter finishes, “go to bed, you crazy night-owl! You have to be at NASA early in the morning. So they can look for your penis with the Hubble telescope.”

As evidenced on pretty much every page of the book, Tina Fey is incredibly funny. It may not change your life, but I’d strongly recommend picking up Bossypants if you have a chance. It’s fun, thought provoking, and quick. If you’re looking for insights into being a highly successful professional and a woman, this is a great place to look. And if you just want to laugh your ass off, you could do worse.

Note: The image of Tina Fey above right is from her 2009 interview with Vanity Fair.


2 Responses to Tina Fey’s Bossypants: Feminism, Only Funnier

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