Saturday, December 07, 2013

Reflections: Bossypants

American Television's widely adored funny woman, Tina Fey, writes about her professional ascent in a male-dominated world while maintaining a fulfilling and meaningful personal life.

I began reading this book on a whim. After my steep descent into depression upon reading this book, I needed something light and witty to lift my spirits. This book caught my eye in the library and I picked it up.
Many people call this book hilarious and ROTFL-funny. It was not. But it was witty, sarcastic, and yes, funny. You will chuckle now and then, too.

What I liked about this collection of essays is Tina Fey's prudence to not share everything, especially details of her personal life. Whatever she does share, she is honest and open. I really liked this approach to writing a memoir. When authors share a lot of intimate details about their private life, I think it mainly serves as fodder for the readers' general (and sometimes perverse) curiosity and nothing else. I commend them for their open-mindedness to share, but I am not sure what I, the reader, a stranger, gets out of reading all that. In that sense, Tina Fey's memoir has my respect and appreciation. She shares what needs to be, in the right doses, so that women (in specific) can get something out of it.

The book mostly encourages women (of all professions) to doggedly pursue and shape their career, no matter how impossible the prospects seem. Fey pushes women to not give up, and she does so by giving instances of her own escapades - ups and downs. She is self-effacing and self-deprecating in her stories, and through this approach, she conveys the message that she is not a super-woman and anyone can break through in a male dominated world if they worked hard, grabbed every opportunity, and made the best of everything that came their way.

While her self-deprecating humor is witty and even endearing, it becomes too much after a while. For if Tina Fey repeatedly alludes to herself as a wide-hipped, ugly troll with "shark" eyes and bad skin, I run out of adjectives for myself... not a "feel good" path you want to go down. She tries hard to set a realistic balance between the media's portrayal and expectation of beauty and real beauty, and I appreciate it, but when she tries hard to not be vain, she begins sounding all the more vain and insecure. Yet, women can relate to this contradiction and insecurity.

Along those lines, she also shares her vulnerabilities as a woman, her anxiety regarding her biological clock, her fumbles and challenges with motherhood, and the ultimate challenge of juggling her professional and personal life without letting either of them suffer. Most women can relate to her, empathize with her, and find comfort in the knowledge that they are not alone.. they also learn interesting strategies to manage family and work. Tina Fey's stress levels seem really really high, though. So, one can also find comfort in the knowledge that one rarely gets to do the things she has to do, and that our lives are in many ways manageable.
This is a feminist's perspective of having it all, and Tina Fey delivers with wit and intelligence. This is a light and easy read for some quick inspiration.

1 comment:

Meens said...

Seems like I will read this one soon.