When I think about the fact that we live in a world where Tucker Max is not only famous but admired and praised, I begin to question American society more than Alec Baldwin or the French do.
On the other hand, when I think about the fact that we live in a world where Tina Fey is also famous, I smile to myself and press play on my audiobook version of her autobiography, “Bossypants” (which, for the record, has left me LOLing and spitting out my Diet Coke all week. Everyone, read it).
I guess to call Tucker Max “famous” might be an overstatement as he isn’t exactly a household name (unless you’re surveying the houses located on East Campus or in The Cottages, in which case, many brahs would beg to differ). For those left wondering who this person with two dog’s names is, let me save you the trip to Wikipedia: “He chronicles his drunken and sexual encounters in the form of short stories on his website TuckerMax.com, which has received millions of visitors since Max launched it in 2002, making him an Internet celebrity.” He also turned these stories into a book, titled “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell,” which, much to my dismay, made The New York Times Bestseller List three years in a row.
Now usually, Max is left in the portion of my brain where I store thoughts of people I dislike but just don’t feel the need to ever think about, like Glenn Beck or the kid who ate my snack while I gave show-and-tell in kindergarten. I’m not a hater and would rather spend my time enjoying people I actually like than loathing people I dislike.
However, I recently caught wind of one of Max’s tweets, which read: “To Women: We don’t give a f*** about your shoes. We care about your body. Go to the gym, not the mall. From: All straight men.” For the record, I only saw this tweet because a male friend retweeted it (This person later apologized and claimed he doesn’t even follow Tucker Max). I responded to this person by saying, “To Men; Never retweet Tucker Max. Especially if it involves him telling women to go to the gym. From: Every woman ever.”
I can only hope that every woman ever would back me up on this. I mean, I like going to the mall and the gym, and I can confidently tell you I don’t buy shoes for men (At 5’9”, I wouldn’t own one pair of heels if I were buying them for the male species.) or go to yoga class for men (Does anyone really care about my Savasana meditation? No.). The fact that Tucker Max and his band of idiotic followers would assume that everything a woman does is to impress a man makes me throw up in my mouth a little. And I know that my glasses-wearing, comedy-writing idol Ms. Tina Fey would have to agree.
In “Bossypants,” Fey touches on a lot of issues related to the female body. From Photoshop to skin care, she comes to a hilariously unfortunate conclusion for all women hoping to achieve perfection: “Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama and doll tits. The person closest to achieving this is Kim Kardashian, who was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes. Everyone else is struggling."
I’m quite certain Tucker Max would prefer this lab creation of a woman to anyone who simply goes to the gym instead of the mall, and this is why I just can’t stand the guy. My biggest problem with him, though, comes from the fact that he has FEMALE fans (or fans at all, really). That is correct, the man who gleefully calls himself an "asshole" is liked by 361,277 people on Facebook – and by the looks of it, nearly half of them are women. In the Facebook community, 454,135 members are also a fan of his book (most likely listed on their profiles along with, “I don’t read,” I mean come on, people).
I understand that college kids, myself included, like to hear funny stories that involve people getting drunk. However, if you take a trip to Max’s website, it is apparent that his sexual exploits take center stage and that he has absolutely no regard for anyone else on this planet but himself. He admits this.
I talked with my friend and fellow Vox editor Caitie Carter about why people, and more specifically, girls, like him. She has a theory that they might be trying to be “one of the guys” or “a guys’ girl”: something I’ve heard before, but about liking hockey or watching "Entourage." These excuses are marginally understandable at best, but quite honestly, they just scream, “I have no self esteem.”
Washington Post columnist Jaclyn Friedman, who is also the editor of “Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape,” tackled this very same issue in a 2009 column about Max. Although I give feminist props to the writer, I felt like we were on completely different pages when I finished reading. She summed up her opinions on why the women of my generation love him when she said, “Women who love Tucker Max feel rebellious because he shocks their parents and their preachers.”
My refutation to her is that this isn’t "Footloose."
I grew up in a Midwestern, somewhat-small-town suburb, and the “cool” thing to do wasn’t to refute and rebel against our parents and preachers. In fact, anyone I knew who actually “had” a preacher did so because they were religious and enjoyed it. I think to assume that our entire generation is sex-crazed because of a pro-abstinence upbringing of Sunday sermons and dance-free Saturdays is a major generalization that’s borderline ridiculous.
With that being said, I don’t have the answers. I just have a plea for all the gals, and my plea is this: Don’t let jerks be jerks. When talking about how men try to trick women into thinking they’re in competition with one another, Fey says, “Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.” I think all young women should take this to heart and realize that you’re never going to beat a man at a job or at anything if you let him think he can treat you terribly, as Max does to presumably every woman he meets.
Fey goes on to say, “My dream for the future is that sketch comedy shows become a gender-blind meritocracy of whoever is really the funniest.”
My dream for the future is that more young women take Fey’s advice in realizing that men aren’t better than them instead of reading chauvinistic and, frankly, quite disgusting crap written by Tucker Max.
We grew up on the Spice Girls, ladies, so remember that girl power and exercise it in your personal and professional lives. If you learn to love yourself, you’ll realize that you don’t want a guy like Tucker Max or a guy that likes Tucker Max to like you. And that fact will put you ahead in the competition with everyone.
Amanda Koellner is a graduate of the magazine sequence at the Missouri School of Journalism. She is a columnist for the Missourian and a music department editor for Vox.