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Is Amy Poehler Right that 'Bitchiness' Is the Secret to Success?

November 3, 2014 in Blogs

By Jessica Valenti, The Guardian

Of course, bitchiness just means not being a doormat.

In Amy Poehler’s new book, Yes, Please, she gives it to us straight: “I am not as nice as you think I am.” She’s not lying.

In her memoir released last week, the Parks and Recreation actor recounts chasing down a bullyish man on an airplane to scream: “Fuck you and your fucking opinions, you piece of shit!” She doesn’t mince words on her sex tips for men: “If you don’t eat pussy, keep walking.” And Poehler doesn’t hide her disdain for strangers who drop scripts in her lap, expecting success the easy way: “I am not impressed when you assure me the story has ‘lots of twists and turns’. I doubt it does and how dare you.”

I’m not a fan of the various iterations of “bitch” – Basic Bitch, Boss Bitch, Betches– that popular culture has adopted lately. But Amy Poehler’s “bitchiness” is the kind to which we can all aspire.

Instead of telling us that her success is thanks to good luck and other people’s good will, Poehler makes clear in the book that her path to fame was paved with hard work and a refusal to take any shit. It’s an all-too-obvious but still much-needed call to women who’ve been told for far too long – at the office, at school, all over the internet – to be too nice if we want to get ahead (or just get along).

I’m sick of powerful women who rely on self-deprecation and likeability to make people feel comfortable with their success. Modesty and niceness are overrated – and I don’t believe for a second that they are the traits of wildly successful women. Tell us how you really got there. I know it wasn’t just “taking a seat at the table” or because you stopped saying sorry.

Poehler’s brand of not-nice has been the <a target=_blank href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/t/0/0/alternet/~www.newrepublic.com/article/118735/problem-esquires-praise-42-year-old-women-amy-poehler" name="in body link" id="in …read more


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