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Fall Friday Reads: Bossypants
“I’m a star! I’m on top. Will somebody bring me some ham?”
Liz Lemon, the Head Writer, for a fictional show called “TGS” manages to prove that women can be the boss, can pen a best-seller, and be unapologetic for her success (while eating a ton). Liz Lemon is just a part or maybe almost half of who Tina Fey is.
Tina Fey’s sitcom “30 Rock” explores Liz Lemon’s life as she tries to maintain being a female boss in a predominately-male environment, write funny sketches for her show, manage to find a boyfriend, and eat as many sandwiches with extra bread as possible. Fey plays Liz Lemon, and she writes and produces for the show.
Life imitated art when Fey wrote a collection of essays about her life, Bossypants. Fey provides information about her struggles and rise to the career she has today as an actress, a writer, and a producer. She starts the book by discussing why she called it Bossypants. Over the course of her career, others have asked her if, “It is hard for [her] to be the person in charge?”
Fey knows that the people who have asked are really wondering if it’s hard being the boss as a woman. Fey uses the book to prove to readers that it is not hard for her to be in charge or to take charge. She is unapologetic about the fact that she is a woman who is just as capable of being the boss as men have been throughout the decades. Fey sets the record straight by alerting young women professionals who are applying for jobs that “Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.” This message is already present in Fey’s “30 Rock;” a boss should not be judged on his or her sex but on capabilities and abilities.
Fey uses humor to express her rise to fame, including stories about times working at a local YMCA and working for The Second City (a improvisation and sketch comedy theater) in Chicago. It was at Second City that Fey was told that people would not find a mainly female troupe funny. However, eventually, The Second City accepted a mainly female troupe and Fey was in it.
Unlike her counterpart, Liz Lemon, Fey has been able to find a spouse who understands her and now they have two daughters. She truly is the example of someone who can have family, career, and success. She is hopeful that the entertainment business (and other businesses) will continue to have women in charge who in turn “hire diverse women of various ages.”
For anyone who has been told that women are meant to stay beneath men and never break through a glass ceiling, Fey is a role model. She proves that respect—and ham—can be found on top.