Ode to Leslie KnopePosted: August 31, 2011
This summer, though ending waaaaay to quickly, has been awesome. I started Grrrl Beat, wrote songs, frolicked in fields, and ate ice cream. Oh yeah, and I watched every episode of Parks and Recreation.
Parks and Recreation is HILARIOUS. But what really makes the show special for me (and what allowed me to watch it all in such an embarrassingly short amount of time without feeling too guilty) is Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope. Leslie is not only a truly funny and endearing character, she is also the most honest and overt feminist on television today, if not in the history of television. From the shrine of female politicians in her office to my personal favorite Leslie moment when she threatens a sexist man saying, “Clarence, if you mention anything about women or menstruation, I’m going to take your face and shove it in those brambles,” she is one of the coolest, most bad-ass feminists around.
And so is Leslie’s real-life counterpart Amy Poehler. In my obsessive YouTube stalking, I happened across a video that is just as awesome as it is annoying and angering. The part that I’m talking about ends at 4:30-ish. And then it happens again a little before 9:00.
If you’re anything like me, you probably had a pretty hard time getting through that without throwing your computer against a wall or something. When I saw this, all I wanted to do was have a good old-fashioned rant against this guy and his gross, sexist comments. And if I were in Amy’s place, I may have done just that. But what makes Amy the awesome feminist that she is, is that she didn’t do that. She didn’t get mad, or yell, or say anything offensive back. All she did was inform him that his comments were sexist, urge him to stop, and try her best to move on (though he made it really difficult for her to do that). What I especially like about the way she handled this situation is that she made it his problem, not her problem, not Tina’s problem. She not only called him out on his behavior, but put him in his place by calling him out on the motive behind his comments: getting a good story. And rather than give him the story, she used the opportunity to talk about her friendship with Tina Fey and their mutual support of each other’s success.
Moral of the story: Amy Poehler is awesome. That guy is an idiot.
Finding this video brought to mind the first time I saw Amy Poehler not just as a talented actress, but also as a feminist. This was also, coincidentally, the first time I ever saw Amy Poehler at all. When I was 12 (turning 13 the next day) my band had the incredible opportunity of being on Amy Poehler’s online series called Smart Girls at the Party. This was such a cool show that empowered girls to be themselves and do what they love and, though I didn’t appreciate it as much at the time, I was really lucky to be a part of it! What I did appreciate at the time were the cupcakes that Amy Poehler bought me for my birthday…
And for your viewing pleasure, a hilarious clip from Parks and Recreation in which Leslie uses sexism to her advantage here.