Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Taylor Swift - Last Year’s Golden Globes Award
Last year after Tina Fey and Amy Poehler made some jokes at Taylor Swift’s expense, Swift fired back by quoting former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: ““There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
Writing about the exchange, Sarah Ditum wrote the following for The Guardian:
“When you watch the section in question, it’s hard to take it as anything other than a bit of sweet-natured teasing. Fey made a crack about Lena Dunham, she made a crack about Glenn Close being sauced (Close played along admirably), and then she made a crack about Swift’s rep for serial romance. "You know what Taylor Swift? You stay away from Michael J Fox’s son!” said Fey. “Or go for it,” added Poehler, reasonably. “No!” rejoined Fey, “She needs some ‘me’ time to learn about herself!”
“Aw, I feel bad if she was upset," Poehler told The Hollywood Reporter. "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." Fey’s reaction was to point out the obvious: "It was a joke and it was a lighthearted joke. And it’s a shame that she didn’t take it in the crazy-aunt spirit in which it was intended.”
These comebacks are restrained because Swift is partly right. Sure, you could point out at length that Swift is being a bit of a sour-faced priss here, but there’s no win for women in ripping chunks out of other women. Individually, it might win you a pass into lad culture (prove to the mean boys you despise your own kind as much as they do, and they’ll tolerate you being the only pair of tits in their playground) but the invitation expires the minute you speak up for your sex.
That kind of nightmarish patriarchy-pleasing, though, is a whole world away from Fey and Poehler’s Globes performance. In the act of being two kick-ass professionals with infectious warmth and friendship between them, there’s a tacit feminist statement: hey, look, funny women don’t need to sell each other out to kick ass. Meanwhile, Swift – in her delightfully serious Swiftian way – makes an outright appeal to feminism that summons the sisterhood to the noble cause of never ridiculing country-pop poppets.
Let’s be honest: team Never Ever Being Self-Deprecating Ever does not seem like the cool, fun team to be on. It makes feminism seem ever so slightly intolerably boring. It also holds women hostage to one of the most ridiculous anti-feminist gotchas around – the one that goes, “Aha! You mildly criticised a woman! So how can you be a feminist?” The answer is that if you think women are interesting enough as people to disagree with, talk about, and sometimes take the piss out of, then you’re probably doing feminism well enough to avoid the smell of sulphur.“