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An Ode to Knope

Anyone who watches Parks and Rec knows that Leslie Knope is one of the hardest working, the most compassionate, and the most caring woman for others and the citizens of her hometown, Pawnee, IN.  In honor of Parks and Recreation’s final episode, which aired last Tuesday, February 24, 2015, I am thanking Amy Poehler and Greg Daniels for portraying and creating, respectively, such a wonderful character. 

Here’s why: Look at any romantic comedy– especially those with Sandra Bullock and Katherine Heigl come to mind (not that these aren’t fantastic actresses– I am just looking at the characters that they portray and how they reflect women). 

 

 

Such movies feature a common stock character: the female workaholic.  These women often wear dark colors and blazers, and have their hair tied back so tight that you’re wondering how they don’t have a migraine.   Then who comes along to save the day and knock some feelings into these cold-hearted women?  Men.

 

And why do they save the day?  Because they see how lonely this woman is and how she is really beautiful “on the inside.”   Sometimes this “inner beauty” is externalized through a physical transformation, but doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose?

 

I’m not burning any bras here, but seriously, look at these movies.  Some of the ones that come to mind are The Proposal and The Ugly Truth.  I’m not saying that such women do not exist in real life- I’m sure that they do.  The truth is that this archetype is overplayed, and it is important to tell women that they can have powerful positions in the professional world without being emotionally broken.  It is possible for a woman to be powerful, independent, and happy, without a man helping her to achieve that happiness.

Leslie Knope illustrates this very well.  She is focused on her work and a workaholic in all senses of the word — but she makes this a good thing!  Furthermore, she does not let her work get in the way of her interpersonal relationships. 

She still has time to enjoy waffles with Ann.

She still has time for her husband, Ben.

Even though she is a hard worker, she still loves to goof off sometimes.

Finally, she is never someone who anyone would describe as frigid or unfeeling; she is literally – LITERALLY the most caring person in Pawnee.

If this is not a step forward for the portrayal of women in television and movies, then I don’t know what is.  It’s a shame that this TV show had to come to an end.  We will all miss Leslie Knope and the Pawnee Parks Department!

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Alex is a sophomore in the Honors College at the College of Charleston.  She majors in English with a concentration in creative writing.  In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry, fiction, and songs, reading, drinking her own body weight in coffee and tea, playing guitar, singing, and enjoying the great outdoors!
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