Like millions of people last night, I turned on Saturday Night Live to watch the iconic Betty White host a show I haven’t seen on a regular basis in years. I laughed until I cried and then I laughed some more. From her opening monologue where she chided the social networkers with almost a grandmotherly love (How many of us have gotten on Facebook for 5 minutes to discover it is 2 hours later?) to mocking the census/immigration process at the end and the tragic renaming that did occur at Ellis Island (and I’ll pick Pacific Islander as well!), Betty White reminded us that age is a construct. Yes, the show was laced with hysterical double entendres, yes Betty White said lesbian and yes Betty White even dropped the f-bomb and there was so, so much more.
An 88 and a half year old woman hosted Saturday Night Live. The returning cast members, all women, stood in tribute almost to those who came before them, more cracks to the glass ceiling that Secretary of State Clinton declared at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. It was feminism at its very best. There wasn’t an overt declaration of a tribute to women: there was an outpouring of love that started because of a crazy Facebook movement out of a Super Bowl ad for Snickers (poor Abe Vigoda – I’ve lost count if he is actually alive or dead.). But at the end of the show, you saw it: surrounded by a mostly female cast, you saw the results of Title IX, the Pill being 50, the granddaughters of those who burned bras paying tribute to a ground breaking woman who at one point was one of the few women in television. And it was funny. It wasn’t “I am woman hear me roar”: It was I am a woman and your point is? I can host SNL at 88 (and a half), can you?
Ageism, sexism, xenophobia be dammed. Last night, we were treated to a rarity. A woman who could make fun of herself, make fun of us and we all seemed to enjoy it. But I know I’ll never eat a muffin the same way again. And once again, there are a few more cracks in the ceiling, this time, by a woman who put a few of the first ones there. And she reminded us, ever so gently, as a grandmother would, to keep pushing forward and keep putting those cracks in the ceiling.