Newsweek discusses the feminist lessons in Parks and Recreation
April 14th, 2010
Leslie [Knope]’s a staunch advocate for the advancement of all women through mentorship programs, positive role models, or grating, often unsolicited pep talks. She believes in equal opportunity for, and the untapped potential of, women. She cultivates and values female friendships: witness Galentine’s Day, the amazing ritual she puts on for her female friends every February 13, complete with gift bags and affirmations for the important women in her life. She interacts with her female coworkers, talking to them about more than boys and babies.
After some early jokes about how bad she was with guys, we’ve seen Knope date (for the most part) handsome, intelligent, noncrazy men; her two sustained relationships have been mature and realistic. They ended not because of her horrible man-keeping skills, or because she’s such a workaholic, but because for various believable reasons, they weren’t working out. She’s a career-minded gal who balances work and personal life. She’s in her mid-30s, but doesn’t spend her downtime fantasizing about children or weddings.
Leslie is competent. She’s good at lots of things—hunting, golf, her job—and isn’t afraid to admit it (due, in part, to her social tone-deafness. “Guys love it when you can show them you’re better than they are at something they love,” she says in one episode.) Her work is valued, her eagerness tolerated, her role respected by those who know and love her—and her friends and coworkers do love her, rather than pity her, patronize to her, or put up with her.