If you subscribe to The New Yorker, make sure you don’t miss the column by Tina Fey in the February 14th issue. If you don’t subscribe, this excerpt of “How To Ask Your Mother Rude Questions” might convince you to make a one-off trip to your newsstand:
What is the rudest question you can ask a woman? “How old are you?’ “What do you weigh?” No, the worst question is: “How do you juggle it all?” The second-worst question is: “Are you going to have more kids?” Science show that fertility and movie offers drop off steeply for women after forty. The baby-versus-work life questions keep the writer up at night. She has observed that women, at least in comedy, are labeled “crazy” after a certain age. The writer has the suspicion that the definition of “crazy” in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore. The fastest remedy for this “women are crazy” situation is for more women to become producers and hire diverse women of various ages. That is why the writer feels obligated to stay in the business, and that is why she can’t possibly take time off for a second baby, unless she does, in which case that is nobody’s business. Does the writer want to have another baby? Or does she just want to turn back time and have her daughter be a baby again?
The New Yorker has come under fire of late for the dearth of female bylines. Personally, I think some of the best humor writing in the magazine in the last year has been by women – most notably, this hilarious Millennium Trilogy parody by Nora Ephron. But given that women are hard to find in the magazine, and given that Women Aren’t Funny, it’s especially nice to see Fey, a woman whose funny is universally acknowledged, in this space. And, it’s especially gratifying to see her writing about gender and sexism in a space that could use a little more gender equity itself.