Here’s the first significant thing I’ve seen on Saturday Night Live in quite a while:

Tina Fey’s Bitch Manifesto – i.e. her commentary on Hillary Clinton during the Women’s News segment of Weekend Update, delivered while Tina hosted the show on February 23, 2008.

Here’s the heart of it:

Tina: Maybe what bothers me the most is that people say that Hillary is a bitch. Let me say something about that: Yeah! She is! And so am I! And so is this one! (indicating Amy Poehler)
Amy: Yeah, deal with it!
Tina: You know what? Bitches get stuff done. That’s why Catholic schools use nuns as teachers and not priests. Those nuns are mean old clans, and they sleep on cots, and they’re allowed to hit you. And at the end of the school year you hated those bitches. But you knew the capitol of Vermont. Well I’m saying: It’s not too late, Texas and Ohio, get on board! Bitch is the new Black!

You can see this shining moment again this Saturday, June 21, when the show is rebroadcast, or no doubt on YouTube. It was good to see Tina Fey on SNL again – the show’s writing has really deteriorated again since she departed for 30 Rock, leaving her Head Writer duties in less capable hands.

In case you’re not familiar with the original BITCH Manifesto, it’s a brilliant piece of feminist scholarship written by Joreen (aka Jo Freeman) in 1968.

Its central theme is that women are labelled negatively, and called names like Bitch when we are assertive, ambitious, strong, outspoken, persistent, and other qualities and actions which, when men exhibit them, are called assertive, strong, honest, brave etc. In the decades since The BITCH Manifesto was first published, this analysis has become widespread and commonly understood, but at the time it was revolutionary – and just the validation I needed to understand and feel better about myself as a generally strong, assertive, outspoken woman. I first read The BITCH Manifesto in the early 1970’s, and it had a HUGE impact on me. I have explained its thesis to others, and utilized its insight and analysis myself countless times since then.

So it was great to see Tina Fey applying this foundational feminist wisdom to the sexism we saw still alive (if not well) during Hillary Clinton’s very bitchy – I mean incredibly strong – presidential run.

And although Hillary was not my first choice among the Democratic candidates (and neither was Barack), since she left the race, I have really missed hearing a strong woman’s voice in the Presidential election campaign….

I find it comforting to remember that Hillary was by far not the first, and will surely not be the last woman to run for President. If you want to feel more encouraged that a woman WILL be President someday, here’s another great article by Jo Freeman: The Women Who Ran For President

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