Last week, within a 24-hour period, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Tina Fey, the star, producer, writer, and creator of NBC’s “30 Rock,” grandly left their respective stages and said goodbye to the nation and, yes, to women like me. For those of us who are of an age that is no longer young but not yet distinguished, the dual departures of Clinton and Fey came as something of a blow.
Both women were appealing because of their substantive talents, their unapologetic ambition, and their capacity to remain calm when everybody wanted something from them. Both shined not just under constant supervision and analysis, but also in the face of the expectation that their choices should somehow reflect on all of womanhood. Women often use terms — “tiger moms,” “stay at home moms,” “how-does-she-do-it? moms” — or fall into camps that tend to pit us against each other.