One of the most striking parts of this year's TIME 100 Most Influential People list is the feminist ode that Tina Fey penned about Ronda Rousey, subtitled "The Undaunted." Fey writes movingly about Rousey's powerful approach to her body, and the female body in general, concluding, "Imagine if we could teach our daughters to value their bodies for what they can do, not for how others think they look. Could Ronda be the one to finally help us understand that as females, we define the word feminine and that it doesn’t define us?"
She adds, "If we don’t listen, can she dislocate our arms at the elbow?" (Yes. Yes, she can.)
Fey has always positioned herself as a feminist champion. With her TIME tribute to Rousey, she introduces Rousey into her circle of influential feminists, expressing her hope that the next generation of women can have the strength, the fire, and the will to persist in the face of failure that Rousey exemplifies. "I fell in love with Ronda Rousey when she announced to the world that she was not a 'Do-Nothing Bitch,'" Fey explains. "Always a sucker for an elegant turn of phrase, I quickly jumped down an Internet rabbit hole to hear more from this oracle."
I watched her tell the hosts of The View, “Pain is just information.” I learned her mother’s mantra, “You’re not training to be the best in the world. You’re training to be the best in the world on your worst day.” I delighted in her response to those who couldn’t accept a female athlete talking smack: “Some people like to call me cocky … but I just think, How dare you assume I should think less of myself?” And I recommend you immediately get a tattoo of Ronda’s full “DNB” quote in which she explains that every muscle in her body serves a purpose and the way she looks is just a by-product.
Rousey, of course, famously lost to Holly Holm late last year in her first big defeat, well, ever. "But Ronda will be back," Fey says, quoting Rousey, who noted, "Everybody has losses in their life, but I choose to always be undefeated."
Prior to that defeat, back in early 2015, Rousey came under fire for her comments about fighting transgender athletes, suggesting that they should only be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. "From what I’ve read, it seems like if you’ve already gone through puberty as a man, even if you really want to rid yourself of those physical advantages, I just don’t think science is there yet," she said, adding to The Huffington Post, "If they said that, ‘We really want you to fight this chick,’ I will. I wouldn’t, like, refuse and protest."
Regardless of the controversy, Fey regards Rousey as a role model for women and girls, at least in terms of the way Rousey views the capabilities of the female body. The two are set to star in an upcoming film based on Rousey's use of the phrase "Do-Nothing Bitches."
Rousey famously said in July 2015 in a UFC video blog:
I have this one term for the kind of woman that my mother raised me to not be. And I call it a do-nothing bitch. A kind of chick that just tries to be pretty and be taken care of by somebody else. That's why I think it's hilarious when people say my body looks masculine or something like that. Listen, just because my body was developed for a purpose other than fucking millionaires, doesn't mean it's masculine. I think it's femininely badass as fuck because there's not a single muscle in my body that isn't for a purpose. Because I'm not a do-nothing bitch.
Having been inspired by the phrase, Fey teamed up with Rousey to bring the UFC champion's understanding of the sheer opportunities of the female body to the masses. Deadline describes their upcoming collaboration, Do Nothing Bitches, as being "a female-empowerment tale dealing with wealthy pampered wives who get a rude awakening at a camp where Rousey plays the no-nonsense instructor."