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Tina Fey’s ‘The Hidden World Of Girls’ Highlights Girls You Would Never See

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Tina FeyI spend quite a bit of time monitoring how young girls and women are portrayed in the media, and the depiction is never good. It seems that while there are young women who vow to end female infanticide at 13 years old and nine-year-olds who give eloquent speeches, they often are not the ones that make the news. The mainstream press is far more concerned with trainwrecks like Courtney Stodden and the poor girls on Toddlers & Tiaras to take significant notice of a young girl who is doing well for herself in some capacity.

It’s disappointing that for every teenager who is chosen to participate in G(irls) 20, there are generally about 10 girls who are publicized for making sex tapes or for sending sexy pictures of themselves over the internet. But that’s why I really enjoyed listening to Tina Fey’s “The Hidden World of Girls” on NPR this week, because Tina chose to highlight girls who are noteworthy for more than their plunging necklines and sexual activity.

The 30 Rock Star and mother of two has put together a two-hour radio segment about the stories of women and girls, in which they narrate their own memories and experiences from all over the world. As the host, Tina offers up tidbits from her own childhood in Philadelphia with a father who taught her baseball and a mother who wanted her to go to Princeton. She shares with audiences a story her mother told her about how she was denied a college education as a 17 year old. The money that the family was considering for her college education would be sent back to their family in Greece. Yet, Tina’s mother was told that her brothers would definitely be going to college.

From there, Tina takes us to the stories of traveling women — Gypsies in Ireland who marry as young as 15 with lavish princess weddings that come to define their entire womanhood. Once the elaborate dresses have been packed away and the children are born, traveller women age into a powerful matriarch. In South Dakota, Sioux girls participate in a four-day rite of passage ceremony, as described by one young girl who has been adopted.

In Mississippi, we meet a little girl who likes to hunt animals. When not practicing for her cheer team, she gets up early to hunt animals in the woods. Tina tells us that there are nearly 300,00 female hunters under the age of 16 in the United States. But when was the last time you saw a little girl on TV who was good at more than smiling and wearing makeup, let alone hunting animals? The young huntress gets good grades, enjoys being on her cheerleading squad, and proudly tells boys that she has killed deer in her spare time.

The stories of these girls are fascinating because they veer far from the narrative we always expect now of oversexualized, sexting, backstabbing young girls who only want to be famous. These girls and women have experiences and memories that they themselves are recounting — not a sexist media that consistently diminishes the voices and accomplishments of girls.

(photo: WENN)

7 Comments

  1. Cee

    November 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Very powerful stuff, Koa, and all so true. I love Tina Fey for doing this and never falling into a Hollywood stereotype herself. She is an awesome role model who, like her show, is often overlooked because she is not famous for the reasons you stated.

  2. Heather

    November 12, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    This is a great story, but do you guys have a copy editor? There’s no apostrophe in the title of the show Toddlers and Tiaras. Also, the little girl hunts animals with an “s”.

  3. Emmy

    November 13, 2011 at 3:24 am

    Interesting stuff, but why should anyone be proud of hunting animals for sport? Is it because hunting is considered a “man’s game”, so you feel it makes her a stronger female? Hunting animals is wrong, unless you eat the meat, and use the rest.

    • LoveyDovey

      November 13, 2011 at 9:41 am

      Why are you assuming she does it just to impress men, or feel more like one of the guys? Some guys genuinely like to knit or bake, some gals like to hunt or shoot guns.

      I do hope that you’re just expressing your opinion, instead of saying that this girl should stop just because you and others like you think it’s wrong. As long as she follows rules and regulations, why should you care? Why deny her something she very well may love?

    • Scrawny Kayaker

      November 13, 2011 at 11:54 am

      All the hunters I know do eat the meat. I’m pretty sure caping the head for a trophy and leaving the carcass is a rare behavior mainly done by wealthier hunters, not the lower-middle and middle class who make up the majority of hunters. If you take a big-game animal in your home state (much cheaper license fees for in-state hunters) and amortize the cost of an inexpensive rifle over many years (it will last literally a life-time with proper care and the low amount of shooting needed for basic marksmanship practice and hunting), big-game meat can actually pencil out fairly cheaply.

      As a teen, I went pronghorn hunting in Wyoming a couple of times (or should say “shooting,” since there was no hunting involved: the sun came up and there they were, in the pasture we’d staked-out). On Sunday we drove back to Denver in cars covered in dead animals and set up an assembly-line of butchering in the back yard of the guy who organized the trip. Pronghorn tenderloin is possibly the most delicious meat I’ve ever eaten!

      If you’re a vegan, then you may have the high ground to criticize hunting. OTOH, there is an incredible hypocrisy in someone who eats meat and opposes hunting. Everyone who eats meat should kill and butcher their own animals at least a couple of times, so they know what they’re paying someone else to do every time they buy dead flesh. Meat does not come from a store or a factory, but from the body of an animal, and if you can’t handle being aware of that, you shouldn’t eat it!

      Let alone the nasty conditions under which most mass-produced meat animals are raised. At least the ducks, geese, doves and pronghorns I shot lived a natural free-range life in the most literal sense of the world until the instant I killed them.

  4. jessica

    November 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I find it ironic that the ad playing on the side of this article is an interview with the Kardashians.

  5. Pingback: Tina Fey To 6-Year-Old Daughter: ‘An Erection Is A Building’

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