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gender studies

Tina Fey Explains What ‘Crazy Lady’ Really Means in Hollywood

Tina Fey has an essay in this week's issue of The New Yorker called "Confessions of a Juggler," sadly not about her secret career as a circus performer, but about her daily life juggling her job and motherhood. More specifically, it is an essay about her anxiety over whether she should have a second child, because she is a woman "who is in her 'last five minutes.' By that I mean my last five minutes of being famous is timing out to be simultaneous with my last five minutes of being able to have a baby." The piece hits most of the familiar beats on this pretty well-covered subject, but with the humor and bite you would expect from Fey (there's an amusing list of ridiculous movies Fey could be making instead of having another baby, with compelling titles like Magazine Lady, The Wedding Creeper, and Disregarding Joy). The sharpest section of the piece is Fey's observation that women of a certain age in comedy are always labeled "crazy." Fey writes:


I know older men in comedy who can barely feed and clean themselves, and they still work. The women, though, they’re all 'crazy.' I have a suspicion — and hear me out, because this is a rough one — that the definition of “crazy” in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore.

Damn. That, y'all, is how you write an epigram. Who has two thumbs and is going to be quoted forever?

Confessions of a Juggler [NYer]