Tina Fey: Esquire Fantasy Edition

So, Tina Fey is on the cover of the April 2010 Esquire:

While I love me some Tina Fey, I have to admit that the whole she’s-a-dowdy-nerd-who-cleans-up-nice bit is getting a little old. (I do not blame Fey for this, as I’m sure she isn’t art directing her own photo shoots. It’s just getting old.) Hey Esquire, and Vogue, and Vanity Fair, and Oscar red carpet people, and everyone else! We get it! She’s hot! It doesn’t have to read like a shocking exposé every time she shows some leg!

This particular photo shoot (more can viewed here) is billed as, “Our fantasy of the world’s funniest woman gone wild comes to life in photographs.” The fantasy includes the cover shot, along with images like this one:

So your fantasy is that Tina Fey turns into a champagne-toting Real Doll?

Help me out here, folks. What do we make of the celebrity Tina Fey? She’s hilarious and smart as a whip, but she’s also been in a slew of sexy photo shoots lately that reinforce the notion that a funny woman can only be famous if she is also hot (a recurring theme in 30 Rock, but does making fun of something make it any less problematic?).

It also irks me, as I said earlier, that the hook here is always NERD GIRL GONE WILD! Fey is constantly quoted as saying things like, “The idea of the photo shoot is something like my wild night out. The irony being that I don’t do that.” (That quote being from this particular photo shoot.) Sure, this isn’t her personality, but that only makes this all the more irritating. I get it that she can’t be on the cover of Esquire in sweats and spectacles with a pencil in her hair, but isn’t there a happy medium between that and SECRET SEX BOMB!?

Also in the Esquire interview, Fey says, “What I’ve come to realize is that when people say, ‘The thinking man’s whatever’ — there’s no such thing. The thinking man also wants to fuck Megan Fox.” I don’t know that I agree, but Fey clearly has more experience in this arena. Is that why she’s always so sexed up in her photos? Because she can’t be the thinking man’s sex symbol unless her epidermis is showing?

Discuss, please.

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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8 Comments Have Been Posted

Every time I see Fey do

Every time I see Fey do photo shoots like this (and it's becoming more and more frequent), I die a little inside.

Not really, but I feel bummed and annoyed that she's become the very thing she mocks on the show (remember when Jenna does the photo shoot for Maxim?). I almost feel like she shouldn't be allowed to make those jokes anymore—not because she is, in fact good looking (good for her!), but because she allows herself to be a tool for the Hollywood market just as badly as Jenna when she does these sexed up photos. And when there's an episode of her doing a photo shoot of her own and mucking it up completely because she's just so NOT glamorous, again, I say—bunk! She's playing the game to a T in real life!

I guess I just don't get it. The appeal of this woman is her writing and comic acting talent — her looks are a nice bonus. But a big part of her sense of humor is the fact that she's not glamorous — her fans actually LIKE her with her glasses and 'work sneakers' and 'left-handedness' (as Donaghy points out in an early ep).

So who are these glam shots for? The people who aren't her fans yet? Or do the press and her agents really think we secretly want to see Tina in heels and a mini dress?

As for this statement in the post: "I do not blame Fey for this, as I'm sure she isn't art directing her own photo shoots."
I disagree. Tina is not a child actor with no control. Even if it's just her giving in and taking the path of least resistance in order to keep the 'bosses' happy, it makes me sad to think she would give up so easily.

Side note: Contemporaries of Fey's like Colbert and Stewart are ALSO sex symbols—something, these two might not have expected in their lives, just like Fey found herself in a position she probably wasn't prepared for. But as far as I can tell, Colbert and Stewart do photo shoots that mostly reinforce their humor (http://tiny.cc/F9dNc, http://tiny.cc/xBkDY, and http://tiny.cc/rCfqA ).

Great points!

You're right, Suka, Fey is no child actress and she has control over how she's portrayed. Though she says in the interview about this Esquire shoot that the theme was their idea and not hers, she most certainly could have said "no dice on the bathtub shots" or something. I for one would love it if she did photo shoots that reinforced her humor and not her hot bod!

Good comparison with the Maxim shoot on 30 Rock – if they keep those "parodies" (oh, you mean exactly like how you behave in real life? hilarious!) up for much longer we'll have to call shenanigans.


if you look at the rest of the photos, they are pretty funny, like stewart's and colbert's. just thought i'd point that out.

to me, this goes beyond the

to me, this goes beyond the "she's a nerdy girl who cleans up nice" problem. i feel like i've been having that problem, despite how much i love and respect her, for a long time. however, i have to say, that most other times i really HAVE believed it hasn't been her fault, for example in the maureen dowd article for vanity fair. but to me, this particular article brings her into the realm of all the other silly movie and television stars i love to hate (to clarify: i used to love to LOVE tina...) Am i supposed to respect her for saying she just went along with most things ESQUIRE MAGAZINE proposed to her, barring anything where she would physically be handcuffed to something or someone?? am i supposed to be glad about the photo where her lipstick is smeared, as if to say "look at me! i'm so silly and funny! and yet, i'm still in a tiny black dress!!" or, for that matter, the entire premise of this article?? that she's a smart girl gone wild! YUCK! i just wish that i hadn't read tina's account of their email exchange because, despite the fact that i truly AM glad she refused to do SOME of the things they proposed, it makes me believe that she had agency in this decision. And this brings me another point: i have to disagree that she couldn't have done anything to prevent herself from being portrayed in this way. if her own account of what transpired between her and esquire magazine is accurate, then she really could have made smarter, more informed, more feminist decisions. unless, of course, she honestly expected to look truly, honestly silly and comedic. but my guess is that when she put on that mini skirt and was asked to SQUAT DOWN ON TOP OF A TABLE, she knew that this was about something different. and that's what is ultimately disappointing to me, a TRUE TRUE tina fey fan. i swear, i am, deep down inside.

"........(I do not blame Fey

"........(I do not blame Fey for this, as I'm sure she isn't art directing her own photo shoots. It's just getting old.)....."

Why on earth wouldn't we believe that Fey has a mind of her own and can make artistic decisions about how she is being portrayed? Sorry, I'm not letting her off the hook if we are truly then going to give her credit for being smart, informed and a hip female comedian.

She is selling out, just like the rest of 'em. Sadly, she understands that even "thinking men" are phony little bastards only interested in ultimately getting laid. She's spot on about that but she shouldn't acquiesce to it or it will never change.

Yes, but...

Wincoder, I definitely should have said that I don't ONLY blame Fey for this, because what I meant was that I don't get the impression that the photo shoot themes are her idea alone (especially after reading the Esquire interview), but you are absolutely right that she is capable of making her own artistic decisions.

However, I have to disagree with you (and Fey) that all thinking men are phony little bastards. I know a lot of men who don't fit that description. I do agree with you that if Fey feels this way, though, she should work to change it instead of dressing that much sexier in order to please these "thinking men."

She has a movie to promote...

Date Night is coming out soon and she has to promote it. This photo shoot fits well with the premise of the movie, and also will appeal to non-fans of 30 Rock. So, savvy, I'd say. Tina is a smart cookie.

Can't a feminist icon show skin?

Let me be up front here. I liked the Esquire photos of Miz Fey, even if she was all dolled up or sexed up. I agree that her ubiquitous presence in these godforsaken magazines has to do with promoting her upcoming movie. But I am also wondering if the critiques against Fey's photos have to do with showing "her epidermis." What's the big deal if she does? Can't a feminist icon show some skin? Are we feminists so prudish and anti-body? She's the mother of a four year old, a wife of a musician (I think the husband writes the music for Saturday Night Live) and she's a smart, talented comedy writer. Why can't she display herself in a sexy and campy way? The photos were clearly campy. However, I just wished she didn't have to be a sell-out and model all the fancy fashion crap that helps peddle more fashion crap.

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