Taylor Swift, Amy Poehler, & Tina Fey Prompt Dumb Conversation About Feminism
Once upon a time at the Golden Globes, hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey made a little joke at Taylor Swift’s expense. It wasn’t even an especially mean joke, really, but it still poked fun at Swift’s reputation for getting around. “You know what, Taylor Swift? You stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son,” they said, as the camera panned to Swift’s that’s-not-funny face. Fox himself even weighed in on it. (He later apologized.) There were rumors that Taylor Swift was upset about all the negative attention — who wouldn’t be? — and it turns out she took comfort in an unlikely place: the wisdom of Katie Couric.
In her new Vanity Fair profile, Swift was asked about how she deals with “mean girls,” which everyone is assuming is a reference to Fey and Poehler (but not Katy Perry, who has behaved like a snot towards Swift as well, if blind item gossip is to be believed). “Katie Couric is one of my favorite people,” Swift told the magazine. “Because she said to me she a heard a quote that she loved that said ‘There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’ (Which is actually a quote from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.)
Cue 6,000 headlines screaming that Taylor Swift has told Tina Fey and Amy Poehler that they’re going to hell.
The Hollywood Reporter put Poehler on the spot about it yesterday and she basically apologized:
“Aw, I feel bad if she was upset. I am a feminist and she is a young and talented girl. That being said, I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff.”
Tina Fey weighed in herself last night at the “Admission” premiere, too:
“It was just a joke and I think it was actually a very benign joke.”
This whole incident and the followup has prompted an interesting, yet at the same time stupid, conversation between me and my girl friends about what women owe to other women. Do women have the expectation to be more “nice” to each other than to men? Is that really fair? The thing is, both sides are right in this whole triad and it illustrates how complicated the issue can be for us non-celeb folks. The Golden Globes joke was a little humiliating and as much as I think Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are brilliant, I don’t think it was necessary for them to poke fun at some young girl’s romantic life when nutjobbers like Mel Gibson and Sarah Palin walk the Earth. They’re smarter than that.
But Swift is, honestly, being overly butthurt about it. It was just a little joke. Leaping to the suggestion that Fey and Poehler don’t actually stand up for other women isn’t doing her any favors. They do, all the time. In fact, Swift has publicly said she’s not a feminist, so it’s shitty of her to all of a sudden start talking like one when it’s convenient to her. My friends and I have noticed that happening more and more often. It’s bullshit that when women criticize other women — without personal attacks and without obfuscating the issue — they get told they’re not supposed to do that. We know we’re not supposed to be catty and gossipy, but we’re not allowed to criticize women to their faces either? When did that become a rule? That’s just dumb!
I’m sorry Taylor Swift’s feelings are hurt, but criticizing actual, out-and-proud feminists for not doing enough for women isn’t the right way to cope. Still, I kinda look forward to the song she’s going to write.