Dear Tina Fey,
I just read your book, Bossypants, and wrote a review on it for my blog here, but I scrapped it to write you a letter because I had to get something off my chest (even though you'll never read it, I'm sure you get the point…damn why am I still talking to you like you will read it, okay, I'm moving on now…)
Firstly, I want to start by saying, your book is exceptional. I know I don't really need to say that because it has been on best seller lists since it was first published and you've had people with much more qualified opinions rave about it before I came along. All the same, I loved Bossypants and I am a big fan of you and your work, so I hope that counts for something, even if it took me so long to buy and read it!
I found Bossypants completely relatable. My mum always refers to, 'not peaking in high school', implying that – like her and I and perhaps you too, it would seem – there is so much more to achieve and learn and grow into after graduation. As though those who awkwardly struggled through adolescence would learn the lessons for later on, use their brain and wit for survival, realise that yellow hair isn't any more special than brown hair, discover that boys will come and go and, eventually, one worth hanging onto will stick, and if you can find misfits to make the journey with, it will all work out in the end.
I loved the witty, honest, and often hilarious anecdotes over so many facets and moments in your life. The gusto with which this book has been written demonstrates your work ethic as an improv comedian – give it everything you've got but pretend that you didn't really try that hard, never let the audience be disappointed, and 'who cares if it's not cute, it's funny'; Bossypants was everything I wanted it to be and more.
I imagine no one ever expects to be labelled a role model but, like it or not, that is what you are, butt jokes and all. Your achievements are impressive and something to be celebrated for women in comedy, in television, and, in fact, probably life in general. I imagine Donald Trump struggles with the pressure of being a role model about as often as he gets asked how he feels about being the boss, but I guess that's just another way that you two are different.
Working in the male-dominated TV industry in a world where women are still fighting to be acknowledged as 'funny', you are one of a handful of women working tirelessly – and successfully, I might add – on breaking down that myth, but it seems to come at a cost. Although I love the self-depricating sass consistently in the book and even in your interviews and awards speeches, I did get to a point where I wanted to say, hang on a second, Ms Fey, you seem to have forgotten to graciously accept that your hard work has paid off.
I work in TV too and although I am only in the very early stages of a career that is not destined for the heights of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, I have already had a taste of what it is like to work in a male-dominated industry (world). A woman in a pretty decent position of power once said to me, quite seriously, that if I could accept that women have to work twice as hard for half the recognition in this industry, that I would do well. What a punch in the guts.
And, yet, here you are doing it. Raising a family, living in the biggest city in the world, and, despite the opinions about women that you voice in the book, even you find it difficult to accept. Is this a product of the industry we work in or is that just life as we know it? I don't know, but in the speech I'm referring to above, you thank you parents for somehow "raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities."
But, for a woman who is (let's face it) hot, has a list of accolades longer than my arm, a successful show on a major network, some impressive writing credits, a best selling book, a happy marriage, two small children, and Alec Baldwin as you work husband, what do you need to do before you can acknowledge your incredible achievements?
Not unlike many, many women I know (including me), I kind of want to grab you by the shoulders and shake you until you realise you are beautiful and talented and your show is a success not just because of Alec Baldwin or the writers or NBC or the hotdog vendor downstairs. It is because of you.
I was just wondering, that for someone who has somehow managed to do it all, do you ever think you will be able to sit back and say, 'yeah, I did that'? Or is it not part of the female make-up? And I'd love to no longer hear you say that you got 'lucky' in any more interviews. We both know that's not entirely true.
P.S I really loved the book, I hope none of the other stuff I said took away from that…