What is the theme of the "Amazing, Gorgeous, Not Like That" chapter in Bossypants by Tina Fey?

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Tina Fey's book, Bossypants, is a series of reflective essays on work, life, and life as a woman, presented in her sarcastic, and often brutally authentic point of view. The chapter titled, "Amazing, Gorgeous, Not Like That" takes the reader on a tour of her reflections on beauty, media pressure, and the overall experience of these things for a modern woman.

The quote used for the title is an example she presents on how many photographers speak to women when they are having photos done for a "glamour shoot." Overall the theme seems to be a critique of beauty issues in media for women. However, it is not a repetition of what might be expected in such a critique in which women are victimized. Fey's examination of the issue is specifically infused with confessions about women's relationships to beauty and the myriad hypocrisies that surround beauty for everyone.

Her point about the running dialogue of a beauty photographer seems to be that, as she says, "if you are anything less than insane, you will realize this is not sincere." Fey seems to make the point that our preoccupation with beauty is not simply a matter of something men want that women are bound to portray, as might be expected of a more classic critique. Instead, she points out that most people, including women, are drawn to beauty and the way it is portrayed for our own reasons. It is, in her point of view, not sincere to claim that the relationship between women and the media hype around beauty is about being a victim. The photographer speaks like that as part of how they get their job done, and everyone in the room has every reason to know that's what it is, and not somebody trying to manipulate someone else.

Fey is mocking in her tone, and is clear that the pressures that women feel around beauty are still difficult and often unreasonable. She points out for example, that as some celebrities like J-Lo or Beyonce changed what was acceptable for women in terms of body size and shape, this was not a liberation for women, but instead was something being added "to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful."

However, she simultaneously makes it clear the fascination with beauty is something that, as a women, she participates in, and doesn't mind it. She openly confesses that "Photoshop," the program often used to alter photographs of women to make them appear perhaps more "perfect" (but less human at the same time) does not bother her. Again, her point is that as a collective, both men and women have every reason to know this is not real and not take it seriously but should still feel free to enjoy it for its own reasons. And, as she sees it, they do.

In total, her chapter seems to make the point that the manipulation of beauty in the media is perhaps shallow and insincere, but the fascination with it comes from everyone, at different times for different reasons. Overall, she may be pointing out that, for most of us, a little bit of hypocrisy is standard, usually based on questions of our own self-interest, and we are better off when we accept that. She says, "I feel about Photoshop the way some people feel about abortion. It is appalling and a tragic reflection of the moral decay of our society ... unless I need it, in which case, everyone be cool."

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